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How Should Online Attribution Impact Your Media Mix?

The pandemic brought with it a number of new ways to do almost everything. I don’t know the last time I actually shopped at a grocery store. If I’m being honest, as time passes, it is less and less about safety and more about convenience. My local grocery is on the way home from where our children go to school. The ease of ordering my groceries online and swinging through a parking lot to have them brought to my car is an experience I will never give up—even after the pandemic is over. I’m saving time, and I’m saving the headache that often accompanies bringing toddlers along with you to do almost anything.

While I have my own opinions about what brands might execute their services the best, there is no denying that COVID has put the majority in a position to purchase more and more goods online. Both new and existing brands are uncovering ways to convert the online consumer, whether that be a delivery, store pick-up, appointment or a snagging reservation at a restaurant operating at reduced capacity.

This influx of e-commerce, which inherently brings a desire to understand how your media is working to drive sales, has peculiar timing. E-commerce is booming at the same time that ad tech is actively making data privacy changes, which means the fate of channel-specific attribution is unclear. 

What does this mean for you? 

Facebook is nearly always a top performer when it comes to attributable sales. But Facebook has just made changes to accommodate the Apple iOS updates. Now, Apple device users will have the option to opt out of any kind of tracking, which means that online activity and sales for those users will no longer have 1:1 measurement in the reporting you’ll see in Facebook Business Manager. (Of course, Facebook has introduced modeling to their attribution reporting in their platforms. Their algorithms are robust, but there is still modeling involved which means there are always caveats to their accuracy.)

It’s likely that attribution capabilities for your campaigns will continue to change. That doesn’t mean those sales are going away, but it does mean you’ll have to use different strategies to understand how your sales are being generated.

It’s time to better understand your media mix

With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to be approaching your marketing strategies holistically, to get an understanding of the collective performance of your media mix. At Arm Candy, we have the skills to do just that. Even if you’re not seeing direct attribution to a specific channel, we can look at correlations between your mix and online activity to show you what is working, and how we can use that to further drive ROI. Oftentimes the channels or creative that are making the biggest impact might not be obvious from in-platform reporting.

As an example, think about TV. Television is technically an awareness play. Some brands might be skeptical of CTV, feeling unsure that awareness is going to be a big enough driver for their business. CTV comes at a higher CPM, and translating those dollars to lower funnel tactics could seem like the smarter approach. 

This is when it’s important to evaluate the media mix, and properly pair your lower funnel tactics with the right awareness tactics. For example, if you were to pair a search campaign with high-impact video ads, you might begin to see positive results from branded search terms. That isn’t because people happened to stumble upon your brand. It is because of the quality awareness placements in market. Consumers are seeing your brand, liking what they see, and seeking you out directly at a later time. 

Having a team that uses this holistic approach to evaluate performance is critical to your business. We can analyze site activity before, during, and after you have non-attributable channels in market to truly understand the impact it has in your media mix, and determine whether it belongs there, and how much budget you should put against it. 

If you’re gearing up to launch your next e-commerce campaign, I encourage you to learn more about how Arm Candy could be a good solution for you!

Written by Alysia Ehle

Alysia is all about the data. She uses it for all things, primarily to help craft the media plans and strategies that are intended to drive our desired outcome. And when she’s not developing strategies, she’s either writing, parenting or on the Peloton.

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