Friday, September 27, 2019

Designing a Multitouch Attribution Model for Online Marketing

Multitouch attribution models are replacing first-touch and last-touch methods of attribution.
Multitouch attribution is used to figure out how the different marketing touches contributed to a customer sale. Multitouch is growing despite the complexity since it both maps to the reality of:

  • the customer shopping experience 
  •  the vendor’s activities and expenses such as PPC, SEO, email marketing, retargeting, website materials and demos, and social media interactions. 

Multitouch is complicated and there are a choice of models. The choice should be based on what you believe best maps to the customer shopping experience and what decision the company is trying to make.

At the end of the day, each company needs to figure out how to handle attribution.

At the start of the process, a key step is a strategic think on what type of analysis or decisions is being made.

For example, a company might build the attribution model to consider increasing or decreasing the investment in different methods of making contact with customers such as PPC ads on search, PPC on social, banner ads, buying lists, or retargeting. In this analysis, the company’s marketing automation system website with demos and white papers is a fixed cost that is not really up for review.

Here's a quick overview of attribution models, thanks to Jimmy Shang

1.Linear attribution is the simplest. Each touchpoint gets an equal percent of credit. So in a simple example, if the customer, a) clicked on an ad, b) clicked on a retargeted ad, and c) clicked on an email and then bought, each of these three would get1/3 credit for the win. Of course, it’s a little more complicated than this since the interactions on the website could also be included.

2. Time decay gives more credit to the touchpoints closest in time to the conversion. For example, the last email before a purchase/conversion is given more credit than the first organic search*.

3. Position-based / U-Shaped is a hybrid between first- and last-touch attribution. This method puts more weight on the first and last touchpoints, assigning 40% credit to each, and splitting the remaining 20% between the touchpoints in the middle*.

4. W-Shaped credits the first touch, the point where a visitor becomes a lead, and the final touch each at 30%. It divides the remaining 10% among any additional touchpoints. Some advanced multi-touch attribution models leverage machine learning to assign partial or incremental credit to predict the value that each touchpoint added*.

*Thanks to Jimmy Shang of Ad-Roll for his  spectacular article on attribution models. The second through fourth models are directly quoted from him.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

BAD Customer Feedback Survey Design

I just had a frustrating experience with a chat window with a vendor.
At the end, they popped up a survey and in a fit of good naturedness, I thought I would take the time to give them some useful feedback.

It was a long survey with 10 questions and a place at the bottom to write in the box. I scrolled to the bottom and filled in the box with this:

I was distracted for a few minutes and your agent disconnected me. Very frustrating.

When  I hit submit, I found that it listed all the unswered questions in red and that the survey was incomplete.  The  survey wouldn't accept the comment unless I clicked on all the  questions.

so I had a choice, fill out the rest of it or just click out.  Since I had started to give them feedback, I decided to quickly fill out the 10 questions (I picked NA for most of them, 5 if there wasn't a NA choice).

At the next submit, it turned out that my answers had opened new follow up questions which were also mandatory so I blindly clicked on them too.

What a frustrating counter productive experience that survey was.

 If they really wanted feedback, they'd accept incomplete surveys when people are trying to communicate with them.

Instead, it pissed me off and filled up their system with lots of bad random data.

Generally, I find that this is the norm. Efforts at feedback are so poorly designed, they neither give the impression that the company actually cares nor gathers meaningful data.


Friday, September 20, 2019

United Airlines Communications Policy: What?

Dear United Airlines,

We had a trip that went horribly awry yesterday due to bad weather.  My wife got separated from her suitcase.  She had a first class cross country ticket.

Let me digress for a second and say that over the last few days, I have been receiving updates from Amazon (and others) about some items that we ordered. These are items cost mostly between $10 and $50. They give us text and email updates as they ship, progress, and get delivered. It's a pretty simple IT operation which provides customers with great service so they know what's going on.

So here's what happened.  She had a flight from Ft Lauderdale to Houston (UA 2148 on 9-19). And then a connection to Albuquerque. Houston was having a huge tropical storm but United took off from Ft Lauderdale anyway. Sure, they could have rerouted her before she left but United didn't.

The plane circled Houston for an hour or so and then went to San Antonio where they kept the passengers in the plane with no food or meaningful updates for over three hours. Finally, they let the passengers deplane but gave them no instructions about what to do next.

No text updates about what to do, no email updates, no phone calls. Doesn't United have a system? They must have disruptions and weather problems of significance weekly but they seem to react to them as if they are surprised.

The United counters were mobbed, hours of waiting if they went that way. United wasn't taking phone calls, ie there were 90 minute waits.  So my wife got herself to her destination by taking a 5 hour Uber ride to Dallas and booking a flight on American to her destination.

Meanwhile, what happened to her bag?  We've called in many times and each person has been agreeable and helpful. No complaints really about the staff.  And, the United staff have been able to login and tell us where the bag is. So last night at midnight, the lady at the United baggage claim said the bag was still in San Antonio and tried to tell us to file a claim with the other airline that she finished her trip on.  Apparently, that's policy. We disagreed saying that United should get us the bag. It was a first class ticket, they provided no way for her to continue her journey, they provided no info on how she could get her back etc. In any case, we filled out paperwork on the bag and where we wanted it delivered.

We called again this morning and found out where the bag was.  We called just a few minute ago and found out where the bag is. We provided all the same information over the phone and they agreed to send the bag over.  Very nice people.

But really, should we be calling in to get information that should be sent to us?  Shouldn't the app and website have a "trace my bag" feature built in for their travelers? This sort of IT infrastructure for convenient communications seems so simple to build in this day and age. United knows their travelers, has their cell phones, and knows where the bag is and what the plan is.  Why do they believe in having people call in to get information instead of pushing it out?

What's really astounding is not just the lack of communication about the bag but what about helping the travelers? They ditched her halfway through the trip, on a first class ticket, and never followed up in any way to see if she was taken care of or needed help.  Really?