Want to Drive Advanced Marketing Attribution? Tune up Your Marketing Channel Management

by JB Creusat

posted on 02-18-2019

Adobe recently launched Attribution IQ, a feature within Adobe Analytics to help marketers understand the customer journey in a nonlinear world. Attribution IQ offers 10 models that you can use with any dimension, metric, or event (including Props and eVars), in real time or retroactively, to measure the impact of your organization’s marketing at every touchpoint.

But to take advantage of advanced marketing attribution features like Attribution IQ, it’s important to proactively monitor and manage your marketing channels setup. The “set it and forget it” approach does not work — considering we rely on tracking codes and query string parameters — and because of the impacts of ongoing changes made to our site and applications. This gap makes monitoring your marketing channel setup a high-priority task.

Marketing channel management 101

Let’s start with some of the basics: you will observe that taking care of these aspects may have other ramifications on your Adobe Analytics implementation. We will also dig into the process of detailed monitoring and systematically validating your marketing channel setup.

To do this effectively, there are three basic dimensions that you need to focus on: Page, Referring Domain, and Page Domain.

[Note: I mentioned Page Domain in my previous post. You can get this through a simple processing rule, without any code implementation on your page.]

Set up a Workspace and filter your page reports for “Other” and “http.” The page dimension is used as a detail value and needs to be as clean as possible, whereas getting “other” in your report is a flag indicating you may have some domains not included in your URL internal filters. Using the Row count function and the Summary option, you can obtain something as clean as the following:

Now, get your list of internal URL filters to create a segment to exclude them from your Page Domain. Apply that to your Page Domain so you can see which domains remain that are collecting data. If your filters are correct, you should only have miscellaneous values such as translate.googleusercontent.com or webcache.googleusercontent.com.

Finally, get your Referring Domain dimension and sort by “order” or any metric against which you want to optimize your marketing channels. One pitfall of doing this is having payment systems URLs showing up or any third system assisting in the conversion process.

Next steps: Ensure all your URLs get a page name and that all your domains are included in your internal URL filters. Doing this is critical since several rules use internal URLs while some channels use the page as channel details.

An additional clean up can also be added to your Tracking Code dimension. If you are using DTM (dynamic tag management) or Adobe Launch, you have this great opportunity to clean and standardize your data.

Let’s now address the case of tracking URLs using multiple query string parameters. You may have several parameters in place, sometimes different for each channel. You may also get some formatting issues. Using Adobe Launch, you can set up a custom Data Element for each of your query string parameters and check “Allow capitalization differences (case-insensitive)” as well as “Clean Text.” From there, you can regroup them into a single string using the separator of your choice.

Consider you have an email system provider using both a recipient ID and a campaign ID. You can use them as a flag to identify the campaign as part of your email channel and create a tracking code like “em:[email provider name]:[campaign id]”. Standardizing your Tracking Code values will be a great asset for your marketing channel details and validation.

If you have a clean setup, now is the time to break down all your marketing channels by Marketing Channel Details. This can be done easily in Workspace. It is a matter of ensuring all detail values belong to their respective channel. Once again, cleaning up your tracking codes will make that task easier and remove the noise created by some erroneous values.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Analytics

Products: Analytics