Attribution is amazing and powerful and awesome but we’re still trying to figure it out, right? Like the cookie jar just out of reach of the grasping toddler hands, attribution is something I often can’t get my mind around when it comes to making actionable account decisions.
I get it, attribution is essential for business survival. Last-click needs to rightfully die. A holistic marketing approach needs to rightfully arrive as the savior of PPC efforts.
What I mean is that I can’t always grasp what to actually do in my account with the attribution information I receive. OK, so X campaign had a touch on 30 other conversions last week. Report to client, check. Uhhhhhh…. now what?
The goal of this post is to make an effort at beginning to address the question when it comes to attribution data in your ecommerce account: “Now what?”
Attribution + Custom Columns = Holistic Bidding Decisions
When it comes to making decisions in my accounts, the AdWords UI still reigns supreme. Thankfully, they have been stepping up their game in terms of the data we can utilize in our columns. The reason why columns are so important for me, is because I use them as my primary way of rapidly observing, analyzing, and acting upon data.
In the recent past, Google added attribution into its columns as another signal we could use to make better decisions. Utilizing custom columns and attribution columns to broaden my understanding of conversion impact in AdWords is one example of a way I use attribution to take a tangible, specific, action in my accounts.
Go into AdWords and select the attribution columns for click assisted conversions and impression assisted conversions. It may be helpful for you to include the click assisted conversion value (revenue) as well.
Create a custom column for “All Conversion Touches” and add Last Click Conversions, Click Assisted Conversions, and Impression Assisted Conversions to it. This will help you see at a glance, how much of any sort of conversion impact an AdWords element has.
Make sure to add in the Custom Column to your Dashboard.
Pull some data, and analyze it. As an example, take these Shopping campaigns.
This should give you an idea of what the data actually looks like right in the UI where you can see it. See how the attribution columns broaden our understanding of the impact on our campaigns? Cool, huh?
But how will this actually help you make a decision to bid, set a negative keyword, pause an ad group, or a myriad of other optimization actions at your fingertips?
Taking ACTION on Attribution
Here is where the rubber meets the road. How are you actually going to make a bidding decision in which attribution was taking into account?
You have sorted your top spend ad groups in AdWords, and are trying to figure out where to prioritize your time. Maybe you even use a filter to highlight the ad groups that have brought in $0 total conversion value and +$300 spend. When you apply that, you see 5 ad groups in your view.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Because you are a holistic marketer, you are keeping one eye on your attribution and custom columns and you see something fascinating.
Of those evil 5, 2 of those ad groups are showing strong click & impression assisted conversions. While the last click conversions are at 0, the click and impression assisted conversions are through the roof on these 2 ad groups. It’s interesting (you surmise to yourself), because those ad groups are of keywords that are probably more top of funnel in the sales process anyway, so perhaps it makes sense that they are assisting without directly converting.
Armed with this new knowledge, you decide you are NOT going to pause these 2 ad groups. Instead, you start digging around a little more, try a new ad test, perhaps raise the bid 5% (just to see what happens).
You just took action in your account based on attribution data. Without this attribution information, you would have most likely reduced bids, or even paused those keywords/ad groups that are providing a significant source of top-of-funnel, brand-introduction traffic.
You have all this data, but what should you do about it? A smart PPCer who really knows his/her account, will be able to make a great decision based upon that data and intuitively know whether to try to limp that keyword along a little more, kill it off, bid it lower, or even expand its presence. This means you can breathe a sigh of relief, the robots haven’t won quite yet.
So, while I don’t have a formula for what to do here, hopefully I’ve armed you with a little more knowledge moving forward to make better, smarter bidding decisions in which you are beginning to think beyond the last click conversion for the good of your account.