On Wasting $520 000 on Advertising and the Importance of Attribution Modelling


This true story is all too common:

A medium sized e-commerce company was looking to increase their sales. They were already spending six figure amounts on Google AdWords, display and search campaigns. These Google Adwords campaigns were generating almost all of their sales.

They wanted to grow. So they hired social media marketing manager to launch advertising on Facebook.



How did the marketing manager evaluate the performance of his marketing campaign?

He relied on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from Facebook regarding clicks, conversions and transactions. So far, so good. As the company had lots of money left to spend on advertising, he quickly increased the spend as the KPIs looked good.


His superiors and whole team were impressed with the KPI’s and promptly gave him more budget.


Meanwhile, the Google AdWords campaigns continued as before.


The KPIs from Google Adwords looked good. So did the KPI’s from Facebook. Everyone was happy and felt  like they were doing a good job since the KPIs looked so good.


However, total sales did not increase.


So what was happening?

Something that is all too common with online advertising.


Due to the different attribution settings and rules the AdWords and Facebook campaigns used, both platforms took credit for the same transactions. So Google AdWords continued to drive the conversions and Facebook’s tracking took credit as well for some of these sales.


One of the reasons for this this double counting was because many of the people that were active online saw an ad on Facebook and Facebook’s default attribution includes a 24 hours view through. So most people that saw an Adwords ad and also used Facebook got counted in both platforms.


Both Google Adwords and Facebook of course wanted to show KPI’s that showed them in a favourable light.


Over a few weeks the Facebook marketing spend started to pile up. Quite quickly it was already up to half a million that went down the drain, because the KPI’s and attribution modelling of the different platforms were not understood.


Avoid spending money on unprofitable campaigns and see the full picture

To avoid these kind of pitfalls, you need to to look holistically and without bias at your advertising campaigns. Otherwise, you will be throwing money away without having real insight into the value your channels and campaigns are providing.


Windsor.ai helps companies to get an independent and unbiased view of their advertising performance.



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