“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Seph Zdarko, head of attribution initiatives and partner strategy at Quantcast.
Attribution models were designed with the best of intentions: to help advertisers understand which ads lead their users to convert and to inform which tactics effectively grow their business. While advertisers work hard to use attribution properly, they often unknowingly incentivize the wrong behavior from vendors, leading to ineffective spending of their budgets.
It’s a dirty secret of today’s digital ecosystem. I call it “attribution gaming.”
The main reason gaming is so prevalent in display advertising today is the widespread use of last-touch attribution, a model in which 100% of the conversion credit goes to the last ad served before a conversion. With today’s cluttered ad ecosystem, the problem with the simplistic last-touch model is that it is easily gamed and lends itself to manipulation.