Last Click Wins? The Online Marketing Lottery
The "Last Click" model is a system that attributes a sale to the online marketing channel that got the sale. So if a user clicks on your PPC ad on Google and proceeds to buy from your website, PPC is attributed the sale. If we know that PPC generates 40% of your weekly sales, you can calculate spend for PPC. You can do the same with all the channels using various website tracking and analytics software. Some of the other channels include: natural search (SEO), paid search (PPC), display advertising (banners and placements) and email (marketing newsletters).
Your online marketing channels should perform better as a whole than in isolation. While this seems like an obvious statement, I mean it is because of the other supporting channels you "Warm up" the customer.
So a channel that is not attributed a sale (using the "Last Click" model), may have helped a sale happen in another channel. This is the "Warm up" process.
Here is an example:
1. A user reads a positive review of your garden furniture on an affiliate site.
2. The user sees the garden furniture brand name on the affiliate site.
3. The user searches Google for the official site.
4. The user finds the official site in the natural search results and purchases.
So all credit goes to the SEO (Natural Search) marketing channel, when the affiliate channel helped the process, and might have swayed the user in the purchase.
The Last Click model doesn’t reflect the combined effect of all the channels. Ideally we would want the Affiliate and SEO channels to be credited with this sale. Otherwise, a quick look through our sales chart will show Affiliates contributed no sales. An online marketing manager might then decide to scrap their Affiliate channel, because they didn't see where it contributed value to the user journey.
Solving this problem will take more advanced Clickstream Analysis software, but as all E-Business depends on accurately plotting the user journey, this software is either in use now or in development.
Ecommerce will be a great place once this software is available commonly. The level of detail in which you can measure the performance of your online marketing spend will only encourage businesses to go online. While initially there could be some data protection issues and users against in depth tracking, in time this will be less of a problem.
Good clickstream analysis will enable E-Commerce to become even more cost effective and predictable; where else can you get that right now?