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Overview

In ecommerce marketing, attribution is the process by which revenue from an order is attributed to the marketing action(s) which led to the sale occurring. 

A contact might interact with multiple channels before making an order in your online store, e.g. organic search, social media advertising, referrals, etc. 

The model or logic used to attribute orders to the marketing actions is called an attribution model

This article explains Ometria's attribution model.

View attribution in Ometria

Individual automation campaigns

Go to the Campaign Performance report and select the 'ORDERS' tab:

Select any order from the list. 

The order details screen displays - you can see the attributed source in the 'Source' field in the left-hand panel:

Individual broadcast campaigns:

Go to Campaign Performance and select the 'BROADCAST CAMPAIGNS' tab.

Select a campaign from the 'CAMPAIGN LIST' at the bottom of the screen, then click VIEW ORDERS> in the broadcast funnel:

The ORDERS LIST screen in the Order Report displays. 

Select any order from the list. 

The order details screen displays - you can see the attributed source in the 'Source' field in the left-hand panel:

From the Orders Report:

Go to the Orders Report and select the Order Filter to;

  • filter by 'order from automation campaign', and/or;
  • filter by 'order from broadcast campaign'.

Then click through to the order detail. 


Ometria's attribution model

Ometria attributes orders in three ways.

  1. Visit: when a contact places an order while visiting your site.
  2. Time window: when a contact places an order within two hours of clicking through an Ometria campaign.
  3. Coupon code: when a contact places an order using a coupon code sent via an Ometria automation campaign within 31 days of receiving the coupon. 

Note: Ometria never uses universal tracking parameters (UTMs) for campaign attribution. 


Visit based attribution

Visit based attribution is used for all visit sources - not just Ometria campaigns.

If a contact visits your site and places an order after clicking on a campaign email, cost per click (CPC) ad, social media ad, etc. the order is attributed to the source (the campaign or ad).

A visit is counted and closed when there is a 30 minute timeout since the last activity on the website or since the last time the visitor was active on the site.

So, if the visitor places an order during their visit session,

  • AND is identified as a contact;
  • AND JavaScript (JS) tracking is correctly set up on your site;
  • AND the 'transaction' event triggers during checkout in the tracked session;

then the order is attributed to the visit source that led to it.


Note: This criteria assumes the user is not browsing in private/incognito mode, and has not disabled their cookies from being tracked.


Identifying visit traffic sources

When a new visit begins, Ometria gets its source information from the URL. 

The visit source information from the URL is stored in a cookie for the duration of the visit and even after the visit has ended. 

If the visitor next visits through an 'unknown' visit source, Ometria attributes any purchases to their 'first visit source' stored in the cookie. 

Example URLs:

  • Source is a campaign email: 

https://yourwebsite.com/?om_campaign=om_e9825f65f615_787_g34g2p8c&om_send=40f0ad27aaec4329a9e881a76eb5ba5c&utm_campaign=om_e9825f65f615_welcome_lead_activation_flow&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ometria 

  • Source is a Google Ad (PPC, CPC):

https://yourwebsite.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMItOHG1tvt3wIVhLDtCh3KRAO4EAAYASAAEgJ86vD_BwE 

  • Source is direct search or unknown: 

https://yourwebsite.com/

To identify traffic sources for visitors based on the tracking parameters contained inside the link URLs, Ometria does the following:

1. Checks for the link parameter ‘om_campaign’ in the URL. If present, assigns the visit to that campaign by allocating an Ometria campaign ID to the visit.


Note: All Ometria email links have an ‘om_campaign’ and an ‘om_send’ parameter inside the URL. These are fixed and cannot be removed or customised.

Ometria does not use universal tracking parameters (UTMs) to assign visits or orders to campaigns. Visits are attributed by the ‘om_campaign’ link parameter.


2. If ‘om_campaign’ is not present, Ometria looks for ‘utm_medium’ and ‘utm_source’ parameters and records these values for visit source and visit medium. 


Parameter
Description
om_campaign
(fixed - not customisable)
This is an internal parameter used for tracking and associating an order to a particular campaign/version/node.
utm_campaignNot used for tracking or attributing orders to campaigns.
utm_mediumUsed to identify a traffic medium such as email or cost-per-click
utm_sourceUsed to identify a search engine, newsletter name, or another source.

 


Note: If no tracking parameters are present, there is no 'utm_campaign' to identify as there is no 'campaign'. The best Ometria can do in this case is identify and capture a value for 'utm_medium' and 'utm_source' (or 'utm_terms' if it is coming from a paid search.)


3. If there are no universal tracking parameters (UTMs) in the clicked URL, Ometria attempts to work them out.

Example process:

  • Check for Google Adwords:
    • If URL had 'gclid' parameter, utm_medium="cpc" and utm_source="Google"
    • If the REFERRING URL contains 'aclk' and 'adurl', utm_medium="cpc" utm_name="Google"
  • Check for organic search:
    • If the clicked URL is from a particular list of domains (that Ometria consider to be organic search sources), it will assign 'utm_medium=organic' and 'utm_name' from that list. Ometria also attempts to get utm_term from the query string parameters.

Example:

If...
then...
the referring domain is '360.cn' and the clicked URL contains '?q=<something>'Ometria assigns:
  • utm_medium=organic
  • utm_source=360.cn
  • utm_term=<something>

If the visit source cannot be identified through the steps above, then the visit is attributed to an 'unknown', blank or 'direct' source.


Note: 'Unknown' and blank mean the same thing in this case.


Unknowns and blanks in the Orders Report

The 'order source campaign' filter and 'grouping' option in the Orders Report do use universal tracking parameters (UTMs) for order reporting.

However, these may label and filter out a high number of orders with 'unknown' or 'blank' source campaigns if:

  • not all order source campaigns in the selected timeframe had UTM parameters, or;
  • not all orders were made within the visit that started via a campaign link. 

In this case it's better to check your stats again by filtering by 'order from automation campaign' or 'order from broadcast campaign'. 


Time window attribution 

Time window attribution is used for attributing orders to Ometria campaigns only - it is not applicable to other sources. 

If a contact clicks through a campaign email and places an order within the two hour time window, Ometria assigns the order to the campaign. 

Link tracking parameters are not used for time window attribution, but the purchase is still attributed to the right order.

Time window attribution is very useful for when:

  • orders are not made in the original visit session but in a later revisit
  • the order source is missing any link tracking parameters
  • JavaScript tracking has failed.

In these cases the time window model ensures that the order is attributed to the campaign which brought the customer to your site. 

This means that for revisits that occur within the two hour window, time window attribution trumps visit based attribution

This attribution model only applies to Ometria campaigns - a non-Ometria visit source that is two hours old from the time of the order will not be attributed to the campaign. 

Attributing purchases across multiple devices

As time window attribution is based on the contact's activity and not their cookies, it applies across multiple devices.

So, if a contact clicks through an email to your website using their phone, abandons browse and an hour later buys a product via another device (e.g. their PC) that order is attributed to the same source campaign the user clicked through on their phone. 


Coupon code attribution

Coupon code attribution is used for attributing orders to Ometria campaigns only and is not applicable to other sources.

In automation campaigns, you can specify coupon code or pool when setting up the email send.

When a contact places an order using a coupon code sent to them in an Ometria campaign, the order is attributed to that campaign email.

If a coupon code is used during the transaction, it will trump all other attribution methods, and the order will be attributed to the source campaign that sent the coupon code.

Coupon code attribution is not linked to the device used to make an order; there is no connection to cookies, JavaScript tracking or anything similar in this model.

Coupon code attribution edge cases

Contact forwards their coupon code to a friend:

If the coupon code was used by a friend of the recipient, who was not entered in the Ometria campaign flow, their order won’t be attributed to the campaign.

Once an order is placed we check that:

  1. the order uses the coupon code sent to a contact, and;
  2. the contact ID of the order and of the coupon code recipient, match.

So, forwarding a coupon code to a friend should not attribute their order to the original campaign.

In this case, other attribution models (e.g. visit based) are used.

Contact uses the coupon code after 31 days

If a coupon code is used more than 31 days after the campaign was sent, the order will not be attributed to the original campaign.

Coupon code is used after re-targeting

If the contact did not use the coupon code initially, but does after being re-targeted by Facebook ads, the order is attributed to the original campaign.

If the contact uses a coupon code within 31 days of receiving it, the order is attributed to the campaign regardless of the channels used. 

After 31 days the order will attribute to either the visit or ‘unknown’. 

Coupon code used after contact unsubscribed

If the contact unsubscribed or opted out and then uses a coupon code, it is attributed to the original campaign - as long as the coupon code was redeemed within 31 days of receiving it.

Subscription status makes no difference to coupon code attribution, Ometria only checks if the coupon was used, and who it was originally sent to.


Revisits

Ometria counts and closes a 'visit session' after 30 minutes of inactivity - e.g. if a contact visits your site, browses, then takes no further action, Ometria counts the session once 30 minutes has passed since their last click. 

Revisits during an active session

If a contact visits your site through one source (e.g. an email campaign) browses and leaves after 10 minutes, then returns via a different source (e.g. a Facebook ad) 10 minutes later, less than 30 minutes has passed between visits, so Ometria will count both visits as one active session. 

This means that the second visit (the revisit) will be attributed to the first source (in this example the email campaign). 

Revisits outside of an active session

Within the time window

For revisits within two hours, time window based attribution trumps visit based attribution

For example, if a contact receives an Ometria campaign and clicks through to your site without purchasing anything, then returns to your site an hour later via a Facebook ad and does make a purchase, their order is attributed to the initial Ometria campaign.

This is because the second visit took place within the two hour window.

The original visit source (the Ometria email campaign) is given preference for attribution, and is retained. 

This attribution model is applied only for Ometria campaigns - a non-Ometria visit source that is two hours old from the time of order will not be attributed to the campaign. 

Outside the time window

All orders made outside the two hour time window are attributed to their visit source using visit based attribution, if the contact places an order during their visit session. 

Direct revisiting

A 'direct' visit is when a contact either:

  • enters the address of your store website into their browser,
  • clicked a bookmark,
  • searched your brand/product name, or;
  • another undefinable source, e.g. a redirector stripping out the referrer information.

As a campaign source, 'direct' never overrides a known campaign source.

This means that if the contact visits through a campaign or an identified traffic source, but later (at any time) revisits from a direct source and places an order, Ometria will attribute the order to the original campaign source.


Troubleshooting attribution

What happens if a payment page redirects?

Ometria still receives the order through your ecommerce data even if your payment page redirects at the point of checkout (e.g. to Paypal, Sage, Gumroad etc.)

Ometria uses the time window based or coupon code based attribution to ensure the order is attributed to the original source.

However, it is possible that the order will be incorrectly attributed.

For example, if the contact is on your site, clicks 'pay via Paypal', then goes to paypal.com and comes back to your site, it is possible that the visit is attributed to paypal.com based on visit based attribution, as that's the last source of a visit.

This issue is more likely to occur in Google Analytics than Ometria, but it can happen. 

Discrepancies between Google Analytics and Ometria in reported campaign revenue and orders

Different ecommerce reporting platforms use different data attribution logic.

As it's unusual that two different reporting sources have the same attribution logic, they often report different revenue, numbers of orders and visits.

Our data has shown that it's common to expect 15-20% difference between revenue reported by Google Analytics/other reporting software and Ometria.

This difference might be higher or lower depending on your setup.

Here's a simple example for a tool that uses a last click attribution model.

In this example, the contact's orders are attributed to the last source they clicked before arriving at your website.

This means that a high amount of orders will be attributed to direct/Google search.

That number would be quite different in a tool using a first click attribution model to attribute orders.

In this case, the difference between the revenue reported by two tools using different models could be higher than 20%.

When Ometria might report lower campaign revenue than Google Analytics

Possible reasons:

  • JavaScript is not implemented correctly: JavaScript tracking on your website tracks your customers' sessions and activity. If the JavaScript is not correctly implemented, it may cause discrepancies in the reporting statistics. 
  • A data integration error: Where some orders are not being sent through from your importer or API.
  • The JavaScript is being called for orders that are not fully valid.
  • Any recent changes on your website: For example the addition of pop-ups, footers, and new web pages which might not have the JavaScript tracker implemented correctly.

If you think any of the above might be the case, contact support@ometria.com or your customer success manager.


Note: When comparing statistics to revenue from pre-April 2018, i.e. before GDPR was widely implemented, you should expect around 20% difference. This is more obvious for automation sends that operate on strict opt-in mode only. 


When Ometria might report higher campaign revenue than Google Analytics 

Possible reasons:

UTM tracking parameters are not being populated across your website

UTM tracking parameters are Google Analytics tags added to links in your emails. When a contact clicks on a link, Google Analytics can identify that a user is coming through a particular traffic source channel (email) from a specific campaign (e.g. Ometria_Newsletter X).

If the UTM parameters are not populated throughout the contact's journey on your site (e.g. sometimes tracking parameters are stripped off while reloading or navigating to a new page), then certain Google Analytics attribution models no longer attribute any transaction to that email. 

As Ometria doesn't use UTMs for tracking, Ometria will continue to track the contact's journey. 

Orders made through Paypal or third parties are not tracked by Google Analytics

If the payment page on your website redirects to Paypal or a third party payment page where the link parameters are stripped off, then Google Analytics will not be able to track the transaction.

Ometria will continue to track that order as Ometria doesn't use UTM parameters to track. 

Google Analytics does not report on revenue made in Amazon or eBay stores, or other offline channels

Ometria can report on these stores so a discrepancy in revenue should be expected between Google Analytics and Ometria in these cases.


Note: Ometria only reports on these orders if eBay and Amazon are configured to send those orders back to your ecommerce platform.