With 4-out-of-5 consumers relying on their mobile phone to shop for products, mobile devices remain a critical research tool. Mobile-optimized sites have increased the ease of mobile shopping, leading to higher percentages of eCommerce revenue coming from mobile each year. But while mobile has certainly enabled shopping to occur anywhere at any time, the consumer path-to-purchase remains non-linear and comprised of multiple touchpoints.
Consumers live in an omnichannel world that may expose them to a brand via a desktop display ad, allow them to explore that brand’s products on their mobile phone as they commute to work, and then complete the checkout process on their tablet two weeks later. But with so many touchpoints, how do marketers track ROI on advertising spend?
A process known as attribution identifies which touchpoints contributed to a sale and then assigns a value to each of these actions. There is a lot to explain about attribution, as it has become a sophisticated science, but for simplicity sake we’ll focus on the two high-level categories of attribution models: click-based and view-through.
Click-based attribution assigns credit to the ad that was clicked by the user, and that ad only. In contrast, view-through attribution is a measurement system that, in addition to crediting the ad that was clicked, also proportionality provides credit to ads that were viewed.
So, which attribution model is better?
To answer that question, consider this chart:
While some consumers purchase items they researched on their mobile devices within 24 hours, many of them take up to seven days to make the purchase. In those seven days, it is likely they have done more research and seen more ads for the same product — all of which will have inched them along on their path-to-purchase.
So, while click-based attribution is the simplest form, it is considered by most to represent an incomplete picture of the path to purchase and thus not distribute credit proportionally across touchpoints. View-through attribution provides a much better assessment of how each touchpoint impacted the consumer’s purchase decision.