I recently bought a dress online following this flow:
- See dress on a Facebook ad, fall in love with it, click on ad
- Ad takes me to a company page, I’ve never heard of the company before, this makes me wary of purchasing
- Conduct a Google search for reviews of dress
- Finding nothing, go to Amazon and look for the dress there. Find positive reviews, including photos of actual people wearing the dress
- Opt to purchase on Amazon because:
- Amazon has standardized recourse/return methods if the purchase goes bad
- I can easily track the shipment
- I had a gift card from my birthday I wanted to use up
- It was the same price as the initial website
If you’re the business selling the dress, using simple Click-Through Rate (CTR) tracking methods (# of people clicked on ad, % purchased after clicking), you’ll never know that the Facebook ad “worked.”
If you’re using “Last Interaction Model” tracking, you’ll assume the purchase came from Amazon. Amazon played a role, but it wasn’t the whole story and didn’t prompt the purchase.
If you’re using “First Interaction Model” tracking, you’ll assume the Facebook ad did all of the work, ignoring the role of the web search and Amazon.
To really understand the full journey, you have to look at a broader set of data and how various advertisements and marketing promotions play critical roles in your sales.
Further reading: Addressing the Question: Measuring Advertising ROI