Facebook Ads Undervalued In Attribution Models

Many marketers already know that flaws exist in ad measurement attribution models, but a recent study from Kenshoo identifies up to 30% more value in Facebook campaigns than what is typically reported.

The Kenshoo study details several attribution models and clearly encourages marketers to move past the last-click model. The data was measured via Last Ad measurement and then run through several standard multi-touch attribution (MTA) models. Each model studied found that the last ad technique undervalued Facebook ads to different degrees using the last attribution model as a base.

To understand how individual channel performance would be valued via Last Ad versus other standard attribution models, the CPA was first run through a Last Ad model and then those same customer paths were analyzed under various multi-touch attribution models, according to the study. When using the Last Ad model as a base each attribution model failed to produce, undervaluing Facebook in each of the comparisons.



The Last Ad model undervalued Facebook ads by 30% when looked at through the First Only model, compared with the Prefer First model by 20%, the Divide Equally model by 16%, Prefer Last model by 12%, and U-Shape by 15%.

The study asserts that Facebook advertising reaches consumers throughout the buying cycle: awareness, consideration, intent, and purchase. Giving credit to Facebook or any other channel solely when it is the last ad clicked does not properly reflect its value, nor does it highlight the path to purchase, which can give brands insight into their customers' preferences.

Blake Chandlee, vice president of partnerships at Facebook, believes the data reflects market conditions. Kenshoo's data tells us "Facebook is between 12% and 30% more efficient on CPAs when measured using multi-touch attribution, as opposed to last-touch," he said.

The research analyzes live campaign performance data for Kenshoo clients from March through May 2013. The large brands look at retail home improvement to financial services. The data covers hundreds of millions of clicks and millions of direct online sales conversions. Determining the value of each advertising channel meant looking at the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) metric across all advertisers in the sample.

While each path to conversion remains unique, built from touchpoints throughout the funnel, the report reminds marketers to account for all activities to assign proper values.

3 comments about "Facebook Ads Undervalued In Attribution Models".
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  1. Alex Irvin from 1-800-Petmeds, August 1, 2013 at 4:08 p.m.

    Was there any model that DIDN'T undervalue the impressions?

  2. Laurie Sullivan from lauriesullivan, August 1, 2013 at 6:52 p.m.

    Thanks, Alex, for the comment. I want to make it clear that it's the Last Click model undervaluing Facebook in each of the comparisons. The study used the results from the Last Click model as a base for the other models.

  3. Bryan Buskas from AdColony, August 2, 2013 at 11:05 a.m.

    On the other end of the spectrum, it seems that a 28 day look back window for attribution of app install ads seems a bit excessive considering the rest of the industry only uses a 7 day lookback window.

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