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Areen Mayelan

VP of Media

Channel-surfing: Finding the Right Avenues of Growth

The Beginners Guide to Paid Media Attribution for DTC Brands

Areen is a seasoned growth strategist with over 10 years of experienced in paid media and performance growth marketing. His specialties include eCommerce and lead generation, and is a proven market leader.

In This Article:

In the fast-paced realm of DTC marketing, Paid Media reigns supreme. For the last 20 years Paid Media has been the de facto most effective way to drive tangible, measurable, DTC growth. It's an opportunity for strategic investment, aiming to attract new customers, and to re-engage past ones. However, success in this arena demands more than just targeting and creativity. It hinges on a solid grasp of paid media attribution.

When DTC brands start out, they usually have big dreams but limited budgets. There’s an old saying, "where there’s hype, there’s wasted spend." So keeping budget allocation & effective budget deployment in mind, choosing the right mix of Paid Media campaigns becomes an important choice behind growth. 99% of the time, DTC brands looking to start out with Paid Media should exclusively be looking at Google Ads & Meta Ads, or a newer option like TikTok. While there are many other options, these platforms will drive the most bang for your buck. But because we’re talking about paying a premium to drive users to the site, understanding how attribution works is crucial to “success” being backed by real dollars in the bank account.

The pitfalls of attribution on paid media platforms

When first starting out reporting, most DTC brands will report on performance straight from the individual ad platforms. After all, that’s where we’re running ads from, and the numbers are right there in front of you.

So if you look at performance in the Google Ads platform, you’ll say "great, Google drove $2,000 dollars in revenue today", and then you’ll look at Meta Ads, or Klaviyo, or inside literally any other marketing platform and you’ll say "awesome, we drove another $1,600 dollars here today" and lastly you’ll look at Shopify, or the back end of your e-commerce store, and see that you only actually drove $900 in sales today, what gives?

Herein lies the complexity with attribution: all platforms pretend no other platforms exist, so they all pretend they each drove 100% of revenue that they touched, instead of splitting credit.

Navigating attribution challenges in DTC marketing

At the heart of it, attribution is a credit problem. If someone first interacts with a Meta Ad, then days or weeks later searches for a product and clicks on a Google Ad, who should be getting the credit for driving that purchase? How much credit? Now imagine a world with hundreds of other platforms and touchpoints, the issue suddenly becomes less petty and further exacerbated.

Many “successful” DTC brands, doing a high volume of daily sales, have gone under from not understanding this concept, leading to over leveraged marketing spend in all the wrong places. For this reason, before launching your first campaign, make sure that your view of measurement is set up for success.

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