Mapping the Customer Journey: Lessons Learned from Graph-Based Online Attribution Modeling

50 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2015

See all articles by Eva Anderl

Eva Anderl

University of Passau

Ingo Becker

ETH Zurich

Florian V. Wangenheim

ETH Zurich; ETH Zürich - Department of Management, Technology, and Economics (D-MTEC)

Jan Hendrik Schumann

University of Passau

Date Written: November 2, 2015

Abstract

Advertisers employ various channels to reach customers over the Internet, who often get in touch with multiple channels along their “customer journey.” However, evaluating the degree to which each channel contributes to marketing success and the ways in which channels influence one another remains challenging. Although advanced attribution models have been introduced in academia and practice alike, generalizable insights on channel effectiveness in multichannel settings, and on the interplay of channels, are still lacking. In response, the authors introduce a novel attribution framework reflecting the sequential nature of customer paths as first- and higher-order Markov walks. Applying this framework to four large customer-level data sets from various industries, each entailing at least seven distinct online channels, allows for deriving empirical generalizations and industry-related insights. The results show substantial differences from currently applied heuristics such as last click wins, confirming and refining previous research on singular data sets. Moreover, the authors identify idiosyncratic channel preferences (carryover) and interaction effects both within and across channel categories (spillover). In this way, the study supports advertisers’ development of integrated online marketing strategies.

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

JEL Classification: M31, M37

Suggested Citation

Anderl, Eva and Becker, Ingo and Wangenheim, Florian V. and Schumann, Jan Hendrik, Mapping the Customer Journey: Lessons Learned from Graph-Based Online Attribution Modeling (November 2, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2685167 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2685167

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/

ETH Zürich - Department of Management, Technology, and Economics (D-MTEC) ( email )

Zurich
Switzerland

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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