Resolution Digital The future of attribution modelling – attribution without cookies

The future of attribution modelling – attribution without cookies.

14 February 2023 min Analytics & Data

Learn about cookie deprecation’s impact on attribution modelling and the platforms and tools that are the future of attribution.

As digital marketers, we’re constantly bombarded with new platforms, channels, and features promising to drive more value from every dollar invested. 

For sophisticated marketers, digital attribution was a way to clearly understand the user journey, the data from which was used to assign value to specific channels, campaigns and creatives along that journey.

Resolution Digital Attribution Modelling reveals the true impact of each touchpoint

A simple guide to Digital Attribution

Monitoring your digital touchpoints is essential for measuring marketing success. Attribution reveals the true impact of each touchpoint, allowing you to allocate the budget across channels with the highest return on investment.

With the deprecation of third-party cookies and changes to browsers across devices (such as ITP and iOS changes), marketers are often unclear on how to implement a digital attribution model, or fully appreciate its limitations. 

In this article, we explore cookie deprecation’s impact on multi-touch digital attribution and the emerging platforms and strategies that serve to evaluate channel contribution to sales in this complex ecosystem. 

For marketers, what are the challenges and opportunities of attribution?  

With the onset of tracking limitations and user privacy regulations, multi-touch attribution is becoming less accurate. While cookie-based digital attribution remains an important part of attribution measurement, it is recommended to use it in conjunction with alternative cookieless solutions. 

Additionally, there are several ongoing challenges with digital measurement, including: 

  • Walled gardens 
  • Attention tracking
  • Accurate fraud detection 
<h2><strong><span style="color: rgb(254, 82, 11); font-size: 18px;">For marketers, what are the challenges and opportunities of attribution? &nbsp;</span></strong></h2><h2 id="isPasted">With the onset of tracking limitations and user privacy regulations, multi-touch attribution is becoming less accurate. While cookie-based digital attribution remains an important part of attribution measurement, it is recommended to use it in conjunction with alternative cookieless solutions. </h2><p><span class="TextRun SCXW113441914 BCX0" data-contrast="auto" id="isPasted" lang="EN-AU"><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW113441914 BCX0">Additionally, there are several ongoing challenges with digital measurement, including: </span></span></p><ul class="BulletListStyle1 SCXW97568852 BCX0"><li class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW97568852 BCX0" data-aria-level="1" data-aria-posinset="1" data-font="Calibri" data-leveltext="-" data-list-defn-props='{"335552541":1,"335559684":-2,"335559685":720,"335559991":360,"469769226":"Calibri","469769242":[8226],"469777803":"left","469777804":"-","469777815":"hybridMultilevel"}' data-listid="1">Walled gardens<span class="EOP SCXW252437809 BCX0" data-ccp-props='{"201341983":0,"335551550":6,"335551620":6,"335559740":360}'>&nbsp;</span></li><li class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW97568852 BCX0" data-aria-level="1" data-aria-posinset="2" data-font="Calibri" data-leveltext="-" data-list-defn-props='{"335552541":1,"335559684":-2,"335559685":720,"335559991":360,"469769226":"Calibri","469769242":[8226],"469777803":"left","469777804":"-","469777815":"hybridMultilevel"}' data-listid="1">Attention tracking</li><li class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW97568852 BCX0" data-aria-level="1" data-aria-posinset="2" data-font="Calibri" data-leveltext="-" data-list-defn-props='{"335552541":1,"335559684":-2,"335559685":720,"335559991":360,"469769226":"Calibri","469769242":[8226],"469777803":"left","469777804":"-","469777815":"hybridMultilevel"}' data-listid="1">Accurate fraud detection </li></ul>

How is attribution evolving?

Previously, marketers could rely on cookies to measure and understand the effect of digital campaigns. Cookies /MAID based tracking was strongly impacted by the ongoing tracking restrictions. To manage this marketers can explore the new tools and approaches described in the following section, as well as consider combining multiple attribution/measurement techniques to achieve greater accuracy.

What innovations are we seeing in platforms, such as Google’s data-driven attribution in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) 

Data-driven attribution in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

By calculating the contribution of every click interaction based on data from your account, data-driven attribution works within each conversion event to allocate conversion credit.  

How does data-driven attribution work?

Both converting and non-converting paths are evaluated by machine learning (ML) algorithms in attribution. The resulting data-driven model establishes how different touchpoints impact conversion outcomes.  

The data-driven model incorporates factors such as:

  • Time from conversion
  • Device type
  • Number of ad interactions
  • The order of ad exposure
  • The type of creative assets

To determine which touchpoints are most likely to drive conversionsdata-driven attribution uses a counterfactual approach i.e., it contrasts what happened with what could have occurred. From this statistical analysis, the data-driven model assigns credit to each touchpoint.

Are newer forms of measurement or new tech tools helping to improve this situation?

Yes, there are several:   

Regression-Based Attribution (RBA)   

  • Digital media data ingestion can be mostly automated via API resulting in an RBA that can be run more frequently than MMM, delivering more granular results.

Server-Side Tagging

  • Meta Conversion API (previously known as Facebook CAPI) and Google Enhanced conversion tracking are an example of privacy-centric measurement solutions which connect PII data to user behaviour.

Data Clean Rooms

  • Data clean rooms empower marketers to get the most out of their 1P data and unlock media efficiency measurement, which is reliant on matching to partners’ 2P data.

Summary 

Attribution measurement helps marketers to understand the value of their marketing efforts and gain insights into the marketing funnel. By understanding the effectiveness of channels and touchpoints, marketers can efficiently allocate marketing budgetincrease ROIboost conversions and optimise their omnichannel strategies.  

Attribution measurement techniques have, until now, relied heavily on third-party cookies and advertising identifiers. The recent privacy-centric measures have changed the way user-level tracking and attribution operate, but by implementing other measurement methods and tools such as regression-based attribution, server-side tagging, data clean rooms and the innovative data-driven attribution model in Google Analytics 4 (GA4), marketers can successfully run efficient attribution models in this new era of digital analytics.

Resolution Digital has a variety of services to help you get started with GA4:

Marketer's Guide to GA4

We created the Marketers Guide to GA4 to help marketers get buy-in from leadership and sign off on the most suitable business case, now. Especially, to collect GA4 data to leverage the new predictive and ML capabilities.

Implementation Checklist

We’ve developed an implementation checklist for in-house teams to manage the deployment of GA4.



GA4 Training Prospectus

We have just wrapped up our October Advanced Analytics Insights Training course for both public and in-house teams.



GA4 Advanced Analytics Course

Register your interest to our Google Analytics 4 Advanced Analytics live training course, where you'll learn how to set up properties in GA4, when to use them, and how to use the reports.

Learn more about our Attribution Services

Are you ready for the evolution of attribution?

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