Who should be compensated for the conversion? This is the question that deduplication strives to answer. This is clearly a vitally important question, because it prevents a brand from paying several partners for the same conversion. Therefore, deduplication is a must-have for all those who use an affiliation strategy to credit the right partner. But affiliation is not the only playground for deduplication, far from it…
And rightly so, because the famous customer journey in today’s world is highly composite. A mix of premium channels (affiliation, sponsored links, SEA, social media ads, etc.) and free channels (newsletters, SEO, etc.) is used until the moment of final conversion. Not surprisingly, the journey is invariably a long and winding road, depending on the type of product. How can deduplication work in such cases? In other words, how can you decide who gets credit for the conversion? Before you get stuck into deduplicating your conversions, you need to be capable of attributing them…
For the time being, the market has decided in favour of the simplest approach rather than the fairest approach. The bottom line is that the last click rule overwhelmingly applies. Therefore, credit is given to the channel that recorded the last-click before the conversion. This simple method may cut out any ambiguity, but it also turns a blind eye to the real picture when it comes to the customer journey.
Using a last-click rationale is a bit like giving credit to the person who painted the external walls and ignoring the person who actually built the entire structure. Yet there are other attribution models to choose from:
Many other strategies, including multi-touch models, exist alongside last-click attribution. So why has this model gained so much traction despite being so (highly) approximate? Partly because the tools also tend to inspire the method, and those are sometimes confined to “post-click metrics”.
The positive news is that the situation is changing for the good. Although deduplication continues to be a major and critical topic, especially for all those involved in performance marketing, measuring the contribution of all the touchpoints is gaining in maturity. These two subjects are not contradictory. With the first method, the focus lies on contractual monitoring, while the second aims to improve how activations are managed in relation to objectives.
Several factors are helping turn contribution measurements into a method in its own right.
In response to these new concerns, solutions are also evolving and are now able to mark out the customer journey. A TMS (Tag Management System) such as TagCommander, which has already forged a reputation for its ability to deduplicate in real time and save man-days, can be used to track a wide range of touchpoints. Whether brands are operating in tag or server-side mode (also known as tagless or server-to-server), TagCommander tracks customer interactions from several touchpoints, including apps, websites, RFID and counters.
With 360-degree tracking, these interactions populate the MixCommander platform, which uses models to generate multi-touch attribution analyses. In other words, there are plenty of combinations that can be explored to identify which ones generate value.
That is precisely the idea in this case, namely overcome the strict advertising indicators that are often dependent on a given advertising server and which bring the same approach to everything, and instead embrace the most overarching view possible. With this approach, brands can identify the attribution model that best fits their needs and manage their deduplication process to match their objectives.