Learn Online Ad Essentials – Traffic Tracking, Part I: Attribution Definition
We are going to be explaining how “tracking” stages work in multiple posts. The first thing is to define what exactly is “attribution”, because sometimes I think that attribution is, do mind my comparison, like sex between adolescents, everyone talks about it but nobody knows exactly what it is. Attribution is the mechanism by which the source of traffic, and its various features, are saved together with all other tracking attributes that come from the various publishers / media buyers / webmasters / web applications, to connect them with the end results.
Kimia Ad Network Tracking scheme
Let’s try to explain this in a flow:
- An ad network receives traffic from different sources, such as other networks, media buyers, webmasters, applications …
- In turn, these traffic sources may have different sub sources, such as:
- For a webmaster, different creatives (banners, pop ups, pop unders, interstitials) in different positions on a web page.
- To media buyers, different sources of buying traffic with their sub-sources.
- For an app developer, different banners in different positions, forms or application screens.
- This traffic may also have different characteristics that have more to do with their type, such as vertical or category ( Sweepstakes, games, dating, forex, adult etc.)
- Also the different sources of traffic can have an attribution system itself, therefore this sources need to send specific identifiers, that will subsequently enable them to make the attribution on their side.
- Once you send traffic to the ad network, this produces different statistical metrics, such as prints, clicks, and of course a very important revenue.
In the event that traffic is monetized through CPM or CPC campaigns and ads, revenue is generated immediately, and therefore statistics are in real time.
However revenue created through CPA, CPL or CPI campaigns, firstly, is not immediate, and secondly, it ́s not a “sure thing”, since an action by the end user is required to make the acquisition effective. In this case an identifier is sent to the end advertiser, which is also stored in a database, where it is connected to the traffic characteristics/variables (specified in the above points), so that, when the advertiser communicates that the end user has made the action, that means the sale has been a success, the CPA / CPL / CPI can generate statistics.
- Attribution is successfully matching all traffic characteristics, sources, sub-sources, internal attributes of our publishers to the final statistics, that includes revenue generated.