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Archive for the ‘Online Advertising / SEM / Display’ Category

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Attribution for the Assist

By | April 16, 2014

If you have read any of my past blog posts, you might notice that I can’t help but use a sports reference every once in a while.  My previous posts Google for the Assist and Turning Your Paid Search Campaigns into a Slam Dunk both look at the world of online marketing through the eyes of a sports fanatic. So, last week when I watched NBA Player Steve Nash take the spot for the third most assists in NBA history, I couldn’t help but relate it to this post about attribution I had planned.

Steve Nash is currently 40 years old, and in the NBA you won’t find many players that age still holding their own on the court. Although Nash’s points per season have been on the decline since the 2006-07 basketball season, his contracts keep getting renewed, and he’s still seen as a competitive threat on the court. The number one reason for this is his ability to assist.

The importance of the word “assist” is often overlooked in the world of digital marketing. Many people think that if a tactic is not how the user converted then it’s alright to give 100% of the value to the source with the last interaction, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Starting the attribution conversation is the first step in accurately measuring your ROI [Tweet this] and getting better insights into which channels actually work for you. Getting some initial insights into the value of attribution is as easy as looking at your Google Analytics data and comparing how the pre-set attribution models stack up for your site.

Find the Best Attribution Model

In the following chart we compare the Last Interaction, First Interaction, and Position Based attribution models. While many companies still use Last Interaction and Last Click conversion models, it’s extremely important to set up models that best fit your needs.  As you can see, Paid Search has nearly 10,000 less conversions in the Last Interaction model compared to the First Interaction model, while Direct is the opposite.


So what insights can we gain by looking at this data?  Paid Search is capturing a significant amount of “upper funnel” traffic that comes back later and converts through another channel. And even though Paid Search was a major part of capturing that traffic, the last click models give Paid Search no credit for thousands of users.

Set Goals Carefully

The type of model you use could significantly change the way you set your goals and/or look at performance. If a client’s cost-per-lead goal was $30, then in the example below, we are not hitting that goal using a last interaction or 40-20-40 Position-based model. Based on the results you see using whichever model you are using, it is important that you truly analyze and understand the data so you can make the most informed budget allocation and planning decisions.


In addition to the three models compared today there are several more preset models in Google Analytics and customizations that fit your needs and goals the best.  However, before you rush and choose an attribution model, take time to talk your team, department, and other departments to create a model that best fits everyone’s goals – for now and the future.

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Understanding AdWords Sitelink Extensions

By | April 11, 2014

Sitelink extensions are the easiest and most common type of extension to include in your ads.  Not only do these extensions help take up more real estate on the page to improve your CTR by 10-20%, they also have an impact on your ad rank.  Previously, ad rank was calculated by using your max CPC bid and Quality Score. It now factors in ad extensions and formats.

For this reason alone, you want to make sure you have at least six active sitelinks set up for desktop, but also four active sitelinks for mobile. AdWords allows you to have up to twenty total per ad group or campaign.  Even though Adwords allows you up to 25 characters for the link, I recommend trying to keep desktop sitelinks to 18-20 characters and mobile to 12-15 characters for the best CTR.

When creating mobile sitelinks take in to account the intentions of a mobile user and how it would differ from a desktop user.

Google will automatically show your highest-performing sitelinks on each format, so you do not have to worry about any type of placement on your end.  Depending on the relevance of your sitelinks, you could even see lower CPCs and better performance. For the most value and optimized ads, be sure to add other extensions, such as seller ratings or call extensions.

Do not forget to monitor your extensions by looking at performance before and after implementation. You can segment your reports by click type to see a more detailed performance for different types of your extensions.

Since there are many factors and variables it is tough to pinpoint the specific extension change that had the most impact, but looking at an account overall within CTR and conversions, will allow you to understand that extensions are important for helping you and your clients.


Get more out of marketing automation by following retail content and sending strategies for email campaigns. Download our 13-pg. PDF:

Automated Retail Email Guide

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What is the True Value of Social Engagement?

By | April 10, 2014

Measuring social impact on a retail client is one of the hardest things to do.  There are a lot of different metrics that you are able to track but creating a direct correlation between those and actual revenue to the business is tough. Many companies today get caught up in the ways to increase engagement and not the value associated with that engagement.

The first thing you need to do with social channels is set up goals.

You have to create goals that have a clear impact on the business.  Having an increase in Twitter followers or Facebook likes do not provide any real worth for a business. Increases in those type engagements usually do correspond with a positive correlation of revenue, however we need to try to tie actual value to those engagements.  For example within Google Analytics we can segment our traffic to come from different social channels like Facebook.

Depending on what type of website you are working with you can provide different amounts of return that you can directly correlate to your business.  If it is an eCommerce site you can easily just look at your transactions from your social channels and see how much revenue they generated.  If you are working with a lead gen client, find out what percentage of leads are qualified then the average deal size for those leads.




If you don’t have the tracking set up or you don’t have any transactions or leads, you can go back one step further and use your average Conversion rate through your other channels and figure out the number of transactions/leads you should have based on the number of clicks you are getting to the website.   You can also find the value for your engagements by going a set further back by using your CTR to find the value of each impression you are getting. Tying revenue to your social engagement will create a clear picture and display the importance of social channels.


Get more out of marketing automation by following retail content and sending strategies for email campaigns. Download our 13-pg. PDF:

Automated Retail Email Guide



Utilizing Paid to Boost Your Social B2B Marketing Strategy

By | April 2, 2014

Social media for B2B can be an effective tool for your lead nurturing strategy by engaging with your target audience and sharing relevant content.  Incorporating paid advertising into your strategy is a great way to further promote and share your content.

Let’s take a moment to look at the opportunities to leverage paid to help boost your social marketing.

Increase content engagement

Promoted posts and tweets are a great way to increase visibility of your content and engagement.  Once your content is posted, it can quickly drop within feeds of your followers.  Promoting these posts is a low-cost way to “promote” your post to the top of their feeds increasing views and engagement.

Grow followers, promote special initiatives, and more with paid advertising

Utilize paid advertising to drive more traffic to your social pages and increase brand awareness or promote new products/services.  Remember that most individuals are on a social site for networking (ex: LinkedIn), staying connected (ex: Facebook) or being informed (ex: Twitter), so ad content should connect to your target audience goals.

Remarket to previously engaged users

Remarketing allows you to advertise to custom audience groups based on individuals past interactions with you.  For example, you can utilize third party tools to remarket ads on Facebook or promoted tweets on Twitter to persons who visited your website or downloaded a spec sheet but did not request a product quote. These are targeted ads with information about the product the visitor has shown previous interest in.

Making paid an integral part of your overall social strategy is an effective way to boost engagement and generate brand/product awareness.  As with any strategy, these B2B pay per click strategies should be continually tested to learn more about what drives your audience per social platform and how to maximize the best, relevant content for them.

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It’s National Doctors Day: Reward Your Physicians by Minimizing Negative Reviews & Generating More Patients!

By | March 30, 2014

Every day, more and more people are using the internet to research and find doctors near them. There are several websites out there such as,, that allows users to read user-generated reviews about each of your physicians. According to, who surveyed a total of 4,515 patients, patients are most likely to use online reviews as a first step in finding a new doctor. In addition, Healthgrades is the most popular site for physician reviews, but Yelp is the most trusted.

Unfortunately, sometimes even one disgruntled patient can ruin the reputation of your doctor and steer prospective new patients to another physician. According to NBC News, of 2,137 polled, nearly two thirds said that doctor ratings were “somewhat important” and 19% of those surveyed said doctor ratings were “very important.”

Below is an example of a doctor that has received less than stellar reviews from Healthgrades, which is the number 2 and 3 rankings. Users are more likely to click the top 1-3 listings than to scroll down further, so this could be detrimental to this particular physician and health system in terms of generating new patients and even retaining current patients.

Doctor SERPs

We have been working with health systems and physicians to improve their reputation management by using sponsored listings (i.e. paid advertising) to:

  • Push  negative reviews further down on Google
  • Generate incremental patients by sending users to specific pages where they can easily schedule an appointment
  • Inform prospective patients or existing patients of a new doctor for a specific health system/hospital
  • Inform prospective patients of a new doctor practicing medicine in their area

By using paid advertising through Google AdWords, we bid directly on a doctor’s name (and variations of the doctor’s name) to seal the number one position above any organic listings such as This tactic is very cost-effective, averaging around $.25 per click!

paid search doctor ad

In conclusion, celebrate National Doctors Day by minimizing your physicians’ online negative reviews (if any), leverage positive reviews and also help bring in incremental patients with these paid search marketing tactics.


Check out our study of the competition health systems face in paid search.

Health Systems & Paid Search

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