Mapping the Customer Journey: A Graph-Based Framework for Online Attribution Modeling

36 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2013 Last revised: 2 Nov 2015

Eva Anderl

University of Passau

Ingo Becker

ETH Zurich

Florian V. Wangenheim

ETH Zurich

Jan Hendrik Schumann

University of Passau

Date Written: October 18, 2014

Abstract

Advertisers employ various channels to reach consumers over the Internet but often do not know to what degree each channel actually contributes to their marketing success. This attribution challenge is of great managerial interest, yet so far academic approaches have not found wide application in practice. The authors introduce a graph-based framework to analyze multichannel online customer path data as first- and higher-order Markov walks. According to a comprehensive set of criteria for attribution models, embracing both scientific rigor and practical applicability, four model variations are evaluated on four, large, real-world data sets from different industries. Results indicate substantial differences to existing heuristics such as “last click wins” as well as alternative attribution approaches. Applying the proposed framework to four different data sets enables generalizations and helps identify avenues for future research. The framework offers support to practitioners by facilitating objective budget allocation and allows for future applications such as real-time bidding.

Keywords: online advertising, attribution, marketing models, Markov models, multichannel

Suggested Citation

Anderl, Eva and Becker, Ingo and Wangenheim, Florian V. and Schumann, Jan Hendrik, Mapping the Customer Journey: A Graph-Based Framework for Online Attribution Modeling (October 18, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2343077 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2343077

Eva Anderl (Contact Author)

University of Passau ( email )

Innstrasse 27
Passau, D-94032
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.wiwi.uni-passau.de/marketing-innovation.html

Ingo Becker

ETH Zurich ( email )

CER-ETH Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich
ZUE F7
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

Florian V. Wangenheim

ETH Zurich ( email )

Weinbergstrasse 56
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland
41-44-632 6924 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.techmarketing.ethz.ch/

Jan Hendrik Schumann

University of Passau ( email )

Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultaet
Passau, D-94030
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.wiwi.uni-passau.de/marketing-innovation.html

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