Start-Up Watch COD: C3 Metrics – SaaS model brings simple ad attribution to advertisers

Posted by Jim Nichols on March 25th, 2011 at 7:01 am

I expect most planners and buyers remember when Atlas started making noises about an offering to help brands get more sophisticated in attributing sales revenue to various digital marketing tactics. The idea was simple – rather than attributing 100% of revenue to the last click, attribution modeling used analytics to determine the value that different tactics played in contributing to the sale.

This is really important because last click attribution gives disproportionate value to Search and other bottom of the funnel tactics. Because the user is far more likely to click from those tactics last. But what about all the messaging that preceded that bottom of the funnel tactic? Surely it had value as well as a means of getting the consumer ready to buy.

If we use the classic “AIDA” Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action model, then in order to get to that click, there had to be marketing activity to drive people to that final stage. But with last click attribution, the “logical” thing to do would be to spend more and more and more on Search and other bottom funnel tactics, ignoring the value of other tactics. Naturally that leads to a short sighted “penny wise, pound foolish” program because it sacrifices long term scale for short term conversion rates.

C3 Metricsis a SaaS solution that wants to end such short-sighted thinking by providing an easy to use solution to calculate the true value of all marketing tactics in driving that final sale. The company promises that using its approach, brands can focus on optimizing their mix by spending the right amount of money at each stage, with progressive optimization by shifting dollars to over performing tactics at each stage of the buying funnel.

Essentially, C3 creates a sensible single metric by which it evaluates tactics at every stage of the buying funnel.While a single metric may make some of you scoff and think "oversimplification much?" it's actually rather ingenious, and the specifics of it blew me away. The metric compares the cost of a marketing program or tactic to the revenue it makes possible, so that brands can eliminate poor performers and add money to the best tools and tactics. By radically simplifying the math and the analytics, C3 makes it all eminently more actionable.

Of course, the value of a solution like this comes as much from the details as the overall vision. And C3Metrics appears to have thought through the challenge rather well. Here is a short list of advantages:

  • Time and touchpoints: Users can adjust time limits to suit the buying cycle of their product. For example, some brands might select 7 or 15 or 30 or 60 or ? days to encompass their attribution modeling. Further, the solution enables users to collect data on an unlimited number of touch points so that more precise attribution and analysis are possible. It measures view through, and enables analysis across browsers for those consumers that use more than one. You can also integrate call center and direct mail data into the model to measure and optimize the offline/online mix.
  • New versus returning buyers, and LTV: The platform enables modeling and optimization against separate new customer and returning customer populations. This is important because efforts against returning customers may logically be more focused on lower funnel marketing activities. Further, if your company has data from a rewards or continuity program, you can optimize for your most valuable customer types.
  • Real time buy optimization:Its “ARSR™” model enables real time decision making and optimization, so you can cut support to underperforming media partners. ARSR essentially boils down your entire program to a single metric and optimizes based upon that measure.
  • Ad server agnostic:You can use any third party ad server – Atlas, DFP, Mediaplex, MediaMind, whatever. Because C3 uses its own pixel, one needn’t be working with any third party ad server to derive full benefit.

There’s no question that a more sophisticated attribution approach is needed to replace last click. C3 has focused on a SaaS model to reduce trial and one-time costs for agencies and direct buying brands. You can check out their white paperhere (req reg.) This appears to be a well thought out solution that’s well worth your time to examine.

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One Response to “Start-Up Watch COD: C3 Metrics – SaaS model brings simple ad attribution to advertisers”

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