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The Goals

  • Increase the number of online health insurance applications
  • Make better decisions about how to allocate the digital marketing budget

The Approach

  • Use attribution tools in DoubleClick to better understand the media mix and impact of each marketing channel in driving conversions
  • Experiment with different attribution models, moving away from the “last-touch” model

The Results

  • Doubled conversion rate in just three months
  • Decreased CPA by 25%
  • Reallocated marketing budget, driving efficiency

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Published October 2014

Media Partnership, an Interpublic Group media agency, is known for optimizing media solutions across traditional and digital channels. The agency’s expert teams blend backgrounds in digital, direct response and general market buying, giving the agency a comprehensive understanding of the media landscape. One of its clients, a leading company in the health vertical with more than $45 billion in revenue in 2013, turned to Media Partnership for help making better decisions about where to invest its digital marketing dollars.

Offering a variety of health services to diverse audiences across the country, the advertiser needed a way to reach prospective customers with relevant messages, at scale. Running a digital campaign across search and display, the advertiser’s goal was to increase the number of online health insurance applications.

Moving beyond last-touch

To make the best decisions about how to allocate its budget, the team needed to know which channels and network partners were providing real value. "It was vital to understand how to better balance retargeting and prospecting efforts to get the right mix of qualified leads and drive conversions," says Andres Carcamo, media strategy supervisor at Media Partnership. Initially, it was difficult to determine the incremental return from each network and channel where the campaign was running, largely due to the inability to accurately measure which channels were driving qualified consumers using the standard last-touch conversion model. With the last-touch model, only the last click or impression gets credit for the conversion, undervaluing other touchpoints that may have contributed. And as Carcamo notes, the team was attempting to answer key questions about attribution: "Did consumers go to a search engine first and find us, or did they search after seeing a display creative? Can we adjust our strategy to accommodate this pattern?"

The Media Partnership team began taking advantage of the attribution reports in DoubleClick, like the Path to Conversion report, which demonstrates the path of exposures across channels such as search and display that led to a conversion. 

It gave us very interesting insights into the consumer journey and allowed us to develop an understanding of how certain vendors or media executions affected the end conversion.

Greg Young, Media Strategy Supervisor, Media Partnership

It started monitoring the performance of its digital media partners by looking at first-touch versus last-touch CPAs. "By evaluating prospecting tactics based on a first-touch model, we were able to understand which partners and channels were driving qualified incremental consumers rather than solely crediting those that received the last touch," says Young.

Building models to better understand the customer journey

Once they had a better understanding of the ways different users were exposed to their messages leading up to the conversion, the team began experimenting with the attribution modeling tool to build custom models. By separating prospecting and retargeting tactics and using different models to judge performance, it was able to understand which partners were providing the most value. It defined exactly how it wanted to apply different credits to different interactions and analyzed the implication on channel performance.

After one month, it reassessed first- and last-touch models and reassigned 15% from each partner’s budget to prospecting strategies based on the results they were seeing.

The results: Better performance, more efficient teams

Just three months after beginning to iterate on spend and partner tactics based on its attribution analysis, the Media Partnership team doubled the conversion rate for the campaign, driving many more consumers to submit applications for health insurance. At the same time, the team was able to drive down overall CPA by 25%.

It also discovered that one partner in particular, which had appeared to be an average performer based on the standard last-touch model, was actually driving new consumers who converted eight times more efficiently than other partners. By reallocating a heavier portion of the prospecting budget to this partner, the entire funnel became more qualified.

Being able to manage both search and display campaigns in one unified platform has had an enormous impact on the performance and efficiency gains that the Media Partnership team has seen. With de-duplicated conversions and a single view of the consumer, the team was able to get a realistic view of campaign performance. And real-time reporting ensured that it could quickly understand how the two channels worked together, enabling it to adjust search and display strategies based on the results. For example, Young says, "For one particular campaign, we found that consumers were more likely to convert on search after being exposed to display creative—the opposite of what we had typically seen on campaigns. This shifted our display strategy to focus more on branding and awareness than on direct response, increasing the number of search acquisitions and lowering the overall CPA of the campaign."

Building a strong foundation for the future

Attribution and cross-channel campaign management have enabled Media Partnership to more effectively plan its clients’ campaigns, as it now has a true understanding of which channels and publishers perform best. Its new strategy has increased the efficiency and decreased the CPA across all of its campaigns. Young says, "DoubleClick’s attribution tools have changed the way we implement and measure all of our digital campaigns."

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