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4 Data Points Any Marketer Needs for Successful Attribution

11. 10. 2017

Nowadays, advertisers use a number of different technologies that produce large amounts of data, which is necessary for successful marketing attribution and to generate insights for an effective use of advertising budget.

However, it is not the amount of data that is relevant, but above all the type of data. The point is to filter out the relevant information.  Simply knowing that a conversion took place doesn’t help advertisers. But once they find out what the user saw and when and where he was seeing it, they can draw an image of this user and make the reasons for the conversion more visible and easier to understand.

In this post, we will talk about the four necessary data points to answer the questions about WHO, WHEN, WHAT and WHERE.

All you need to know about Marketing Attribution



User IDs help to identify individual users. They can be cookies, device IDs or even detailed internal information such as login data like a customer id or email address. The user itself remains anonymous as the collected data is encrypted.

User IDs are particularly relevant for cross-device user identification. If a user logs on to a website from their smart phone, for instance, but completes the purchase with the same login data via their tablet, the advertiser can tell it’s the same person. Only by linking these data points, it is possible to create a complete picture of the user’s behavior. Without cross-device tracking, conversions are quickly allocated to the wrong marketing measure.

Our blog post offers additional information on cross-device tracking.



Attribution models look at the entire customer journey chronologically. Each touchpoint is listed individually and in chronological order. So, it is important to know when a certain event (ad impression, click or conversion) took place.

Attribution systems are so powerful because each event is considered individually and not on an aggregated level. By means of tracking codes, which are directly integrated in the advertising material of the advertiser, attribution systems measure every interaction of the user with these advertising measures and beyond that, which subsequent actions the user carries out on the advertiser's website.



Campaign data shows what a user has seen and done. What touchpoints did the user have with a campaign, creative or placement?

The more detailed the data, the more precise is the attribution result. The attribution system should therefore register data as granularly as possible.

This means, a campaign should be split into its single components to be able to look at every element individually. Besides the actual campaign, this also includes information such as publisher, placement, creative or even single keywords. What effect does creative A have compared to creative B? How many conversions does keyword 1 contribute to compared to keyword 2?

It’s the only way to rate the success of a single measure, and the attribution system has even more options to discover potential for improvement.



Marketers use a great number of channels to market their brands and products. These channels range from classic offline media such as TV or out-of-home campaigns to digital advertising media such as SEA, display, email or social media to mobile-optimized content and apps.

It’s important to not only include digital channels, which are relatively easy to measure via tracking codes, into the attribution, but the advertiser’s entire media mix as a whole. Offline media and even external factors like the weather can have an impact on online sales. An attribution system must therefore be able to process a large number of data sources and include them in the analysis.

Find out more about the impact of offline media on online purchase in our blog post.



If advertisers consider these four data points in their attribution, they will get clear insights on which measures are successful and how the individual components of the marketing puzzle fit together. This creates a chance for optimization because the budget can be distributed to those measures that are most beneficial.



In order to measure the marketing success of advertising measures, it is also important to create a cost/revenue ratio. Especially with channels where clicks or conversions create direct costs for advertisers, this ratio should be included in the evaluation. If a channel is allocated an ever greater chunk of the budget, advertisers need to find out whether the cost/revenue ratio still has a positive impact. If not, the budget increase might not be worthwhile.

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