As digital media continues to dominate the advertising world, digital-savvy clients are questioning which channels work best, and which technology partners they should continue investing with. However, there remains an industry-wide problem of conversion attribution.
According to eMarketer, the digital buyer today is expected to use 4 different DSPs, down significantly from 2016’s estimate of 7, and yet despite the drop of almost half the tech, it is still hard to measure cross-channel conversions.
It’s not that there is a lack of tools – the primary problem is the industry itself; the rise of wall-gardened inventory sources such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook have made it increasingly difficult to help gather results and understand where and which platform drove which conversions, let alone cross-device conversions.
This makes it extremely difficult to point out if, and when users will be able to have a holistic view of their digital buys. But as a savvy digital media buyer, there are a few strategies that may help you to further refine your data and to have a strong understanding of where your conversions are coming from.
1. Leverage an ad-server
By using an ad-server, you can generate both ad tags and 1×1 impression/click trackers and use their pixel as your conversion point’s source of truth. It is strongly recommended that you piggyback your DSP’s pixels into the ad-server’s, as it will enable your DSP(s) to collect the necessary data to feed its algorithm and enable you to optimize towards your CPA goals within the platform.
Most ad-servers do have a reporting tool that will distinguish which conversion belongs to which tag, and, depending on the tool’s level of reporting, can further dissect this information across devices as well.
Keep in mind that some DSPs only support impression trackers (this is common amongst social media partners).
2. Make sure your lookback windows are aligned
Digital media buyers also need to consider how their pixel is set up. Believe it or not, most DSP pixels have set lookback windows when it comes to both post-view and post-click conversions. This can result in a DSP taking credit for another DSP’s conversion, or worse, duplicate the numbers. This is an important consideration when comparing your results and determining the effectiveness of your digital strategy.
Whatever your lookback window may be, be sure that all pixels are set up to the exact same timeframe prior to launch so that you are comparing apples to apples.
3. Use Google Analytics
If you’re not ready to commit to an ad-server, consider using Google Analytics and building UTMs. Once done, set your goals in GA and begin tracking your campaign.
Remember, in addition to creating a UTM parameter for the campaign source, make sure to incorporate parameters for both campaign medium and campaign name to distinguish what strategy drove what result.
Use this great resource tool for building UTMs. Note that Google Analytics will only count post-click conversions if you are running media outside of GDN.
4. Consider a multi-channel DSP
StackAdapt may have started as a native-first DSP, but we incorporated video and display a few years ago. After being ranked the #1 native advertising and the #1 video platform, it makes sense to leverage our omnichannel offering.
And with our Conversion Journey tool, you can understand the touchpoints of your results. The StackAdapt Conversion Journey tool gives you visibility on information such as click to conversion and domain to conversion. Additionally, you are able to pass back other data points, such as order ID and product SKUs.
Contact your StackAdapt representative to learn more or request a demo to see our Conversion Journey tool and much more in action.