Let’s talk programmatic – NetSeer’s Behnam Rezaei on the perils of cookie bombing, retargeting and last-touch attribution PT1

Let’s talk programmatic – NetSeer’s Behnam Rezaei on the perils of cookie bombing, retargeting and last-touch attribution PT1

Behnam-Rezaei-Behnam Rezaei’s mind is like a sponge. With his robust background in electrical engineering, he soaks in all things related to the technical details of marketing, from prospecting best practices and attribution modeling, to designing a new concept targeting engine for boosting client conversions.  

Rezaei is the founder and CTO of NetSeer, a programmatic platform focused on utilizing patented concept targeting approaches to reach new users online at the right place and time. Rezaei has numerous insights to share with marketers on measuring attribution, avoiding cookie bombing and the role of humans in technology driven campaigns.

PA.O: How do you see your software changing historical last-touch attribution models?

Behnam Rezaei: We provide insights into attribution assists — the effect of upper funnel impressions that lead to a conversion as opposed to last-touch attribution, which is often sabotaged by “retargeting cookie bombers.”

In our view, first-touch attribution is the right metric for new prospects since it shows which tactic or partner found the new users and brought them into the marketing funnel.

PA.O: If you consider first-touch attribution to be the best for new prospects, which type of prospect is last-touch attribution best for?

Last-click and view-through attribution are only appropriate when retargeting does not get assigned all the “credit” in the attribution model.

The last view-through must actually be viewable to the user, otherwise it is worthless. That is why there should be strict limitations on frequency capping, or the number of times your ads appear to the same person over a given time period. If there are no restrictions, retargeters will bombard users with ads to make sure they are the last ad shown to receive the credit.

However, if advertisers have frequency management – for perhaps three ads per day and no more than 1 ad every 3 hours – they will do a better job of pacing the messaging and showing users the right ad at the right time.

PA.O: Can you tell us more about these retargeter cookie bombers that mislead last-touch attribution? How common are they, and how drastically do they skew attribution?

Retargeter cookie bombing is very common and creates a bad user experience. Go to a car dealership, bank or cruise website, and the next day you will see their ads on every other page. It is a waste of media because a lot of client money is spent on nonviewed ads.

Cookie bombing is based on “spray and pray” methods of tagging users with ads by purchasing low-quality inventory that never gets seen. Only the advertiser’s retargeting cookie is tagged with attribution – not any of the other methods used earlier.

Because this retargeter cookie bombing claims attribution, we call this “claiming attributions” versus “creating attributions.” These tactics are used by retargeters and media planners trying to get bigger budgets because the attribution stats will boost their attribution metrics.

PA.O: How do you avoid these claiming attribution and cookie bombing practices?

Behnam Rezaei: The solution is to limit the number of retargeting partners, put strict frequency caps and only give attribution to viewable ads.

Understand that retargeting is merely helping you make sure that a user who visited your site or entered the marketing funnel remains engaged and eventually converts.

Successful media campaigns have very clear and separate goals for prospecting and retargeting. Prospecting works best with first-attribution models and retargeting works best for last-click and/or viewable impression attribution models, provided that no bombing is involved.

PA.O: Do you feel that driving viewability will ultimately drive higher CPMs as publishers to only place ads above the fold?

Behnam Rezaei: The more attribution models favor true media impact, the better.

Look at it this way – it’s simple math.

Instead of buying 100 million impressions for 100 million users, isn’t it better to buy 10 million ads for 10 million users who are more precisely targeted? It makes more sense to buy premium ads that users see and engage with at a higher price.

Cheap ads that don’t get seen are only good for companies that don’t have a good targeting system. Their model is all about buying at scale cheap inventory.

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