White Papers

  • Why Being Customer-Centric Means Being Data-Driven

    Brands have traditionally used legacy attribution models, such as last-click or first-touch, to measure and optimize their advertising strategies. While these methodologies may have been standard practice in the past, today’s landscape requires a far more sophisticated approach that takes every marketing touchpoint into account.

    Based on Convertro campaign data across eight different industries and marketing channels collected over the course of two years, AOL Platforms’ new study reveals how multi-touch attribution is critical to understanding actual return on investment (ROI). The research brings to light the major inefficiencies that exist within advertising measurement and analytics and the steps marketers can take to bolster their strategies.

    Additional key insights found in this report include:

    While digital marketing generates positive and healthy ROIs for all industries, the reported numbers vary by product category, advertising channel and brand.
    Media buyers can no longer solely rely on industry-wide ROI averages or paid media channel rankings to guide spending decisions.
    Industry and category results are helpful in providing brands with competitive context, direction and opportunity sizing, but only when broken down into ROI by publisher, placement, creative and keyword.

    A best practice for improving ROI should include multiple buying tools, an advanced MTA methodology and an advertiser’s first-party data.

    See more here.

  • Myth-Busting Social Media Advertising

    Do ads on social Web sites work? With social advertising set to hit revenues of $6.6 billion in the US this year according to eMarketer, marketers are betting on it. But, they also want metrics that go beyond tracking clicks, likes and retweets, including more qualitative measurement to better explain the return on investment (ROI), such as how a specific social channel influenced a purchase online or in-store.

    To understand how social media channels contribute to an advertiser’s efforts in influencing their audience’s buying decisions, we leveraged our algorithmic multi-touch attribution technology to analyze social media exposures and uncover valuable insights such as:

    • Social media compared to other marketing channels, including email, search, display and affiliate
    • How paid social advertising performance varies by social network
    • Balancing organic and paid social efforts for specific product categories


  • Affiliate Cookie Stuffing 2.0

    Throughout this report, we refer to cookie stuffing 2.0 as an action by an affiliate whereby the affiliate inserts their tracking code into a link in an attempt to get affiliate sale credit although the user would likely have converted anyway (without any payment to an affiliate).  We typically consider a cookie to have been “stuffed” when the end user “appears” to have visited the client site from the cookie stuffer and another marketing channel in a window of five seconds or less (having studied over 50 different cookie stuffers, we see that 98.7% of cookie stuffing happens in five seconds or less); however, in the interest of added conservatism for this analysis, we used a maximum window of two seconds (it is virtually impossible to visit a site from two different sources in two seconds or less).

    Where does the “2.0” come in?  A new breed of affiliates is sharing affiliate commissions with end users via rebates, social gaming credits or donations to causes.  Cookie Stuffing 1.0 relied on ignorance of users to get the cookie stuffed.  In Cookie Stuffing 2.0, end users are given an incentive to download browser toolbars and plugins, which allow the affiliate to stuff a cookie when the user visits sites that participate in affiliate programs.  Based on our analysis, we present below what we have found to be the Top Ten Cookie Stuffers.  At least eight of the ten of the Cookie stuffers incentivize the end user to install plugins/toolbars.  To our knowledge, Cltrda.com is the only top Top Ten Cookie Stuffer that provides no apparent benefit to the end user and may be relying on lack of user knowledge.

  • How to Optimize Display Ads

    This white paper will show you how companies can measure, attribute and optimize their display advertising across channels to gain more accurate information and make better budget allocation decisions at the most granular level. In particular, you’ll find four actionable suggestions about how to optimize your display strategy:

    • Run a 30-day performance test between display networks
    • Spot and eliminate display fraud
    • Identify impact of retargeting on conversion rates
    • Calculate network frequency capping


  • The Definitive Guide to Marketing Attribution

    There has been a great deal of talk about marketing attribution and how it can improve your results. Walk the floor of any marketing conference, and nearly every vendor now claims to do attribution. This has created a lot of noise and confusion in the marketplace. This paper explains what marketing attribution is and dispels many common misconceptions. It compares attribution to other analytics, and establishes where attribution fits in. It also contrasts media mix modeling and attribution and clarifies the differences. The paper, first published in May 2013, also provides guidance on the 5 key criteria to look for in an attribution vendor, to know if they will really improve your results. This guidance includes information on how to rank attribution systems against one another to assess their relative performance in the areas of compliance, completeness of the system, accuracy, potential impact on your results, and risk.

  • Study: Top 10 Accretive Affiliates

    For this study, first published in May 2012, Convertro has again leveraged its enormous and detailed dataset to put together a study of the most accretive affiliate publishers amongst all of its clients.

    While many businesses with an online presence use affiliates as a source of traffic, many online marketers do not trust them. In the past, affiliate marketers were thought of as commissioned salespeople shrouded by online tricks, willing to do anything to make a buck. Their tactics were known to range from blatant fraud to suspicious traffic to traffic with an extremely low lifetime value. Today, the world of affiliate marketing is quite different, with many legitimate websites set up on a model that generates money solely from affiliate deals.

    However, even after detecting and removing all of the cookie stuffers and affiliates who are sending bad traffic, it is sometimes hard to determine whether an affiliate is providing any value to a business. For example, some coupon sites do not bring any new traffic in, but could be simply giving customers (who are about to check out anyway) a last minute deal. This study’s goal is to help put together a list of credible, accretive affiliates – those who are more likely to bring in new traffic, and traffic that will convert on a legitimate basis, both of which add long-term value to the business.

  • Choosing an Attribution Solution

    Multi-channel attribution and cross-channel attribution, initially explored by only a few innovative companies, has now gained traction among seasoned analytics providers. There are now several new solutions competing with one another and with the existing multi-attribution solutions in offering their own “flavor” of multi-attribution. With so many options in the market, it is important for firms to understand the key differences between offerings and evaluate them in the context of their own requirements. This report, first published in December 2012, gives you a concise yet comprehensive set of criteria with which you can assess multi- attribution solutions in order to help you determine which solution best meets your needs.

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