Attribution Reporting – Beyond last touch point

Accurate attribution has become increasingly important aspect in digital advertising due to the fact that users are being reached through multiple channels and touchpoints. And to determine the ROI from a particular channel or touch point, it is extremely important that returns are rightly attributed. This not only helps in better understanding of the results of the campaign already executed but it will also provide a great insight and direction on what should be the media planning for future campaigns.

The concept of purchase funnel which starts with creating awareness then generating interest and later invoking desire which finally results in an action, has not been built into digital advertising systems (which mostly depend on last click model). As these systems are maturing, attribution reporting and modeling is being added which will help in accurate ROI calculation.

Attribution reporting is basically retroactive reporting which helps to compare contribution of each type of touch point and ad events while attribution modeling is more like a proactive “what if” analysis which helps in optimizing the ways ad events occur based on attribution model. For example, a campaign which is creating awareness for a newly launched product will give most importance to last impression and reducing it with further with old impressions (decay). When a conversion happens, the attribution will be given to all the touch points which happened to be in the path to conversion based on the attribution model designed.

Attribution modeling can also help in better bidding with RTB systems as the bid will be determined using attribution model. It can also provide optimization opportunities based on consumer responses. But due to the impact it has, the modeling has to be done with caution. With Adatrix, we are building attribution reporting and providing ability to specify simple attribution models. In future, we will bring attribution modeling in bidding process and trend based optimization.

Brand Protection in Online Advertising


This presentation is part of research on several topics which was done to improve and enhance the features of our ad platform Adatrix™

This article discusses the topic of Brand Protection in Online Advertising. Companies invest a significant amount of time and money in creating brand awareness and establishing their brand. So when it comes to online advertising then want to make sure their brand is presented in the best light possible.

The guidelines of Brand Protection vary for Advertiser and Publisher. While the advertiser wants his ads to be kept away from inappropriate content, Publisher seeks malware protection and is concerned about the quality of ads being served to them.

Brand Protection for Advertisers

From the advertiser perspective, the most common requirements are listed as follows:

  • Avoid showing ads on offensive and illegal sites.
  • Avoid showing ads on bad-fit contents (e.g. showing ad of a travel site on article about accident).
  • Identify if ads are being displayed in desired locations (Geographic targeting)
  • Custom setting of tolerance levels (e.g. showing my ad on page containing alcohol/tobacco related content is OK but on page containing illegal content is NOT OK).

In order to meet those requirements, we should be able to show page-level content ratings of pages in our inventory. Also there should be a provision to maintain advertiser-specific blacklists and whitelists. At present, the feature of targeting/filtering based on geography,demography,category etc. is already provided.

Brand Protection for Publishers

From the publisher perspective, the most common requirements are listed as follows:

  • Ensure unwanted ads (e.g. poor quality ads) are not served which may effect user experience.
  • Protection from Malware

In order to meet those requirements, we are currently integrating a malware scanner which checks the media files before they are uploaded into our system (Adatrix). Also, publishers will be provided with dashboards where they can inspect the media/ad code being shown on their page at any particular time. Publishers should also be given an option to block unwanted ads through dashboard.


How DSPs, Exchanges and SSPs have evolved?

Last week during discussions on integrations with exchanges, DSPs etc. we were curious to know about how these have evolved and what is their uniqueness in digital advertising landscape. Briefly putting below my understanding on various jargons which are being used in online advertising today.

Considering the general workflow, advertisers hire agencies (for expertise) to spend their money, these agencies have buying desks which has relationships/partnerships with different entities on the supply side. Now two things have evolved during last 3 years mostly surrounding real time bidding.

Buying Desks along with the traditional buying relationships and partnerships now have something called Automated Trading Desks which are similar to DSP but are fully owned by agencies. Most of automated trading desks are running on technology either licensed from another company or acquisition ( The video highlights the point of conflict when any technology company works as an agency or vice versa. But this conflict is not occurring till now with Google’s display network which is pretty strange.

Ad networks or publisher networks started out with simple model of combining publisher sites into verticals, but due to abundance of networks and lack of differentiation, these networks have re-branded themselves as DSP and SSP. Even now many of them don’t have technology platform but provide a combination of licensed technology with inventory they had earlier. Many of these will now evolve to private exchange (providing the benefits of real time bidding along with the inventory they bring) which seems to be the next logical step. Private exchange concept is picking up to increase the spending of direct buy through real time bidding model. Exchange was mostly used for remnant stuff not just in terms of inventory that is left out but also in terms of money that is left out after premium buy.

Some links which will bring clarity on these are provided. Most of the links are interesting to read giving slightly different perspective and argument.

DSP – Demand side platform – providing integrations with exchanges and ad networks to buy with RTB Ex: AdChemy, X+1, Media Math, DataXu
Exchange – RTB – Real Time Bidding – providing auction capability across different kinds of systems (DSP, SSP, Networks) Ex: DoubleClick, Right Media
SSP – Supply side platform – providing integrations with exchanges and ad networks to sell with RTB Ex: Rubicon, AdMeld, Pubmatic
Networks – Used to refer to ad networks which are basically publisher networks – Thousands of networks are there

Landing page optimization

­­­­­Landing page optimization (LPO) is a part of conversion rate optimization (CRO).  CRO aims at improving the percentage of visitors, from landing page (lead-form or a website) to become sales leads and customers. This is attained by making the landing page more appealing, relevant and helpful for the visitor.

Landing page is the webpage displayed to the visitor when then click on an advertisement or search engine result link. Landing page follows up on the advertisement by provides relevant content.

LPO aims to make landing page more apt in content and appearance that would make it more appealing to target audience.

Landing Page Optimization types can be classified based on targeting or experimentation.

LPO based on Targeting:

  1. Associative content targeting: Also knows as rule-base optimization and passive targeting, as in this case the page content is modified based on general information available about the user like visitor’s search criteria, geographic information, etc. This method can be used for generic parameters, for non-research-based consumer segmentation.
  2. Predictive content targeting: Also known as active targeting. In this case the page is modified using the information already available about the visitor, like prior purchasing behavior, demographic information, etc. Unlike in the passive targeting (associative content targeting), the page can be modified to anticipate (desired) future actions based on predictive analytics.
  3. Consumer directed targeting: Also known as social targeting. Here the page is modified based on the publicly available information, like reviews, rating, tagging, etc.
  4. Closed-ended experimentation: As the name suggests in this consumers are exposed to different variations of landing pages. Trend and user interaction with different pages is observed and at the conclusion of the experiment the final landing page is decided on the outcome.
  5. Open-ended experimentation: Unlike in the previous case, where we have a final landing page at the end of the experiment, this is an ongoing process and the page is continuously modified based on the available results. Hence the landing page generated is dynamic in nature.

LPO based on experimentation:

  1. Closed-ended experimentation: As the name suggests in this consumers are exposed to different variations of landing pages. Trend and user interaction with different pages is observed and at the conclusion of the experiment the final landing page is decided on the outcome.
  2. Open-ended experimentation: Unlike in the previous case, where we have a final landing page at the end of the experiment, this is an ongoing process and the page is continuously modified based on the available results. Hence the landing page generated is dynamic in nature.


Indian digital users : Facebook or Twitter

Some interesting facts of digital users in India (data from vizisense)

# Percentage of page views on Facebook have increased from 23% in Aug 2010 to 30% in Dec 2010
# Google search page views (as a percent) did not change between Aug 2010 and Dec 2010
# Twitter page views have decreased by half from Aug 2010 to Dec 2010
# Blogspot page views have decreased by 12% from Aug 2010 to Dec 2010
# Total page views (search and non search) has increased by 3% from Aug 2010 to Dec 2010

It is clear that increased activity on facebook is directly correlated to decreased activity on blogging, tweeting, searching etc.

Coming to the main point, twitter activity has delinced quite drastically in India. Although during the same period activity across yahoo, news sites, portals seems to be stable. It becomes imperative to compare twitter and facebook in order to draw a conclusion. Twitter is platform that generates a interest if there are regular interesting updates, in normally circumstances it is possible for celebrities, companies or product tweets. Whereas, on facebook there are host of other activities including games, top news, ability
to share thoughts without restrictions, pics, videos and many other activities. In affect unless there is a strong reason for a person to go to twitter (like following a celebrity or product), he is likely to be at facebook as it provides him with many options. I guess Google has been trying to follow the same.

Going forward twitter will be like news websites/channel where celebrity/companies/products can update/interact with users. The decreased activity in terms of page views is just an affect of initial interest created by twitter which is in the process of stabilization. Moreover, twitter needs to provide more tools for companies that can be used for better interaction with followers.

Search vs. Display Advertisement

Recently Facebook raised $ 1 Bn (received $ 1 Bn) based on a valuation of $ 50 Bn. The question that often arises is how are the companies valued. There are many aspects that go on while making forecasts about growth/valuation of a company. Investment bankers/consultants/Analysts takes into account numerous factors by looking into history, company management, industry growth, economic factors and many other variables in order to arrive at a number that depicts the value of the company based on how good is its future.

On the other hand Google is valued (enterprise value) at $ 164 Bn. Facebook and Google are two well known companies and often comparison is made between them. In order to compare these two companies we need to take another financial number and compare the ratio. Now there are various ways of doing it. Rather than making it an Investment banking exercise let’s keep it simple and compare valuation per unit of revenue ie divide valuation by revenue. It will indicate to what level a company is valued for every dollar it earns.

Facebook Valuation: $ 50 Bn
Facebook Revenues: $ 1.6 Bn
Facebook Valuation to Revenue Ratio: 31
Facebook primary source of revenues: Display Advertisement

Google Valuation: $ 164 Bn
Google Revenues: $ 29.32 Bn
Google Valuation to Revenue Ratio: 5.6
Google primary source of revenues: Search Advertisement

Facebook valuation to revenue ratio is almost 5.5 times that of Google. Since we know that valuation is primarily based on estimation of how much a company will earn in future and it happens that in this case primary source of revenues are advertisement on its platform. Does that mean that display advertisement will be the future?

Well it is difficult to say what will be the future, however Social networking sites provide rich data source for relevant targeting. Search and non social display advertisement would need to emphasis on getting rich user information for relevant targeting in order to provide a better ROI to the advertisers. The future would be guided by the companies that are able to gather relevant user information and use them in a way that enables efficient advertisement.

P.S.: I am referring to search advertisement as all the ads shown on Google/Bing/Yahoo search page and anything else is referred to display advertisement for the purpose of this blog. Also please note that these are indicative figures and not exact.

Mobile or Online

Mobile or Online aka portability vs usability……..Well both are important and both mobile and online have its own benefits and shortcomings. With the advancement in technology, the line between mobile and online is becoming lesser day by day.

However, it poses a problem for advertisers.  How to manage the budget across online and mobile channel. Earlier, most of the digital advertisement was online however with the phenomenal rise of mobile media, advertisers and agencies are finding it difficult to manage their budget, team, resources across both the platforms. More importantly, once the campaign is started, it is often difficult to monitor and optimize the campaign across two different channel s? I believe it would be important for advertisers/agencies to identify a tool that can provide a comprehensive picture of the campaigns. It is important to keep optimizing campaigns by continuous insight from analytics. If there is no single tool that helps to consolidate data, it is better to run campaigns in a set of media from where it is possible to gain insights or from where it is easy to compile data in a format that would provide insights. However, if there is a tool that enables to run and manage campaign from single platform across various channels, then experiment with the new channels to generate higher ROI. Since many studies claim that mobile channel provides a better ROI, it would be great to test it. Moreover, with the lines between mobile and online blurring and with the pace at which mobile is gaining grounds, it would be extremely important to start gaining insights about mobile, so that one keeps ahead of the knowledge curve. Most importantly, it would be very important to find or develop a tool that would enable to optimize the budget not using excel but with sophisticated techniques.

The bottom-line is that it is important to utilize data in way that leads to insights, insights leads to actionable strategy and a strategy well executed generates a better ROI.


Digital ad serving industry has been going through tremendous change and still in its evolution phase. BIZense with its product Adatrix is taking part in shaping the evolution of digital ad serving industry. We have innovation and technology at the core as we believe innovative technology is going to play a very important role in shaping this industry.

With the launch of our product we bring this platform to you so that we can share our thoughts and hear your views.

We will be regularly coming up with lot of insights, opinions and updates of new product features. So keep watching this space.