“Where should we invest our money?” is an often-asked question by our clients. Budgets are always limited (that’s why they’re called budgets), and we have to create the best possible digital advertising mix to get the maximum results for our clients.
When the campaign (or a month) is over, our clients want to see which channels brought results. And we often end up explaining ad attribution and how all channels work together. Yes, there are tools in Google Analytics which you can use to see attribution of different channels, but those tools are still quite difficult to understand. By default, in Google Analytics, Last Interaction is selected, which means it looks at the channel that was the last in the customer journey. For some clients, Google Ads brings the most conversions. For some, it is Facebook. But things are not always black and white.
Imagine this situation: you are subscribed to our newsletter and often read our blogs. But at the moment, you don’t need our services. Then you see our Facebook or Instagram ads. Still nothing. But then you get a budget for a new website and decide you want us to create it (because you know who we are, you saw our work, and you believe us). You visit Google, type “kontra”, click on our ad (yes, we bid for our keyword), go directly to our contact page and contact us. If we open Google Analytics to see which channel brought this lead, we would, by default, see Google Search and will be keen to invest even more in it.
Now, tell me, is Google Search the best channel in this case? It is the last, but you can see there are other channels which also played their role in your journey.
I always struggled to explain model attribution to our clients. But then I listened to Robert, Google Analytics guru, and a great storyteller, who gave the best explanation of ad attribution in digital advertising.
Luka Modric vs. Cristiano Ronaldo
Let’s start with football (soccer as you call it in the USA). Every year there are multiple “Player of the year awards”. In most cases, the person who gets that award is a striker, like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. They score the most goals, and they are the most famous players in the world. That, in digital advertising, would most likely be Google Search. But last year, this award went to Luka Modric, a midfielder, a player who rarely scores.
Luka won three Champions Leagues in a row with Real Madrid, played in a World Cup final and was selected as the Player of the tournament. He scored fewer goals that Ronaldo, Messi or Mo Salah, but was selected the best.
When you look at how Real Madrid and Croatia play under Modric, he is always the person with the ball, dictating the game and creating opportunities for others. It is not his job to score; his job is to take a ball from a defensive line and distribute it forward to Cristiano Ronaldo (now Karim Benzema) or Mario Mandzukic. Without him, strikers would get fewer balls and score a little bit less, which means he is a crucial player to the team. Sometimes he scores too, but that’s not his primary job. If we can compare his position to an American football, he would be a quarterback – a person in control of the game.
Modern football and modern digital advertising
Modern football is a game that starts with a goalkeeper, passing the ball to a defensive line which brings the ball to the midfield. You can have the best possible strikers at the end, but if your goalkeeper is not great – you are going to lose (as all Liverpool fans know from the 2017/2018 season of the Champions League). You can compare this to your digital channels – you can have the best Google Search campaign, but if everything else is not working towards the same goal – you won’t score or your opponent will score more.
Luka Modric is like Facebook or Google Display – a player creating the interest and making a balance in a team.
Cristiano Ronaldo is like a Google Search – a player scoring after Luka Modric did everything first. He is the star of the team. But without his teammates, he would lose.
And that, my dear readers, is the story of Luka Modric and digital advertising. Hala Madrid! Naprijed Vatreni!