Media source attribution rules in PBA

At a glance: PBA rules determine the media source and campaign responsible for bringing a visitor to the website.

Touchpoints_us-en.png

Website visits (touchpoints) and web events

  • Website visit 
    • To determine the media source responsible for bringing a user to the website, PBA analyzes the query parameters on the URL and the HTTP document referrers collected by the web SDK.
    • Rules-based media source determination uses the data collected as detailed in this article. Similarly, media type and media channel are determined. 
    • The visit, also referred to as a touchpoint, is recorded in PBA raw data.
  • Campaign information is extracted from query parameters based on the media source.
  • Web event
    • A web event occurs when a visitor performs an action on the website, for example, product search, product selection, or purchase.
    • Events are attributed to the touchpoint, of the most recent non-direct web visit, occurring during a 30-day look-back window.
    • Events are sub-divided into: 
      • Conversion events: Significant events as designated by the marketer. For example, purchase or registration.
      • Standard events: Other events.

PBA dashboards and raw-data reports make use of the attributed media sources, types, channels, and campaigns.

MediaSource_us-en.png

For ease of understanding, the table that follows contains examples of the determined media source with their type and channel. 

Media source Media type Media channel
Direct Earned Direct
  • Social Facebook
  • Social Twitter
Owned Social media
  • Facebook Ads
  • Twitter
Paid Social media

Google search

Earned Organic search
Email Owned Email
googleadwords_int Paid Ad

usatoday.com

Earned Referral
Sample of media sources, types, and channels

Media source determination rules 

PBA determines the media source, media type, and media channel in a hierarchical manner. This means determining the relevant media source rule and media source. Afterward, the media type and media channel are determined.

Priority Media source rule  Resolving the media source 
Highest priority Prevent self-attribution 

To prevent attributing events to the website itself (self-attribution), an exclusion list is used. The list consists of:

  • The brand-bundle's primary domain. 
  • Additional domains are added ad-hoc. For example, 
  • Additional domains are added ad-hoc. For example, payment gateways such as paypal.com or stripe.com
  pid

Resolve to the pid value in the URL. For some SRNs, resolve the pid to the SRNs commercial name for consistency and clarity. For example, pid=facebook_int resolves to Facebook Ads.

  UTM parameters
utm_source utm_medium Media source
*
  • email, mail, e-mail
  • Note! If utm_medium contains one of these values, the utm_source is ignored.
Email
google cpc/ppc/paidsearch/search googleadwords_int
google cpm/display/banner/video/listing doubleclick_int
dfa / dbm cpm doubleclick_int
facebook cpc/ppc/cpm/cpa/paidsocial/paid-social Facebook Ads
bing cpc bingsearch_int
yahoo / gemini cpc/display/listing yahoogemini_int
twitter cpc Twitter
snapchat swipe snapchat_int
pinterest cpc pinterest_int
UTM custom rules

If there is no custom rule match, the media source resolves to the value of the utm_source parameter.

Information about UTM parameters

  Click IDs

Major ad networks, like Google, use click IDs to auto-tag campaigns. Click IDs resolve as follows:

  • gclid: Google click ID resolves to googleadwords_int. Note! The GCLID solution is not officially supported by Google. Google may deprecate the parameter in the future.
  • dclid: DoubleClick click ID resolves to doubleclick_int.
  • msclkid: Bing click ID resolves to bingsearch_int.

Lowest priority

Referrer The referrer is the HTTP source that sent the user to the website. The media source is the domain name of the referrer.
Media source rules (ranked in priority from highest to lowest priority)

Media type

Marketers usually segment web media sources into three types:

  • Paid: ad campaigns like display banners, videos, and search ads.
  • Owned: marketing campaigns that come from owned media meaning, email campaigns, social posts, blogs.
  • Earned: direct or organic traffic from search engines, referrals, and actual direct traffic.

The media type is determined by referencing the media source rule used in combination with the media source/other parameters.

Media source rule used Media source Media type
pid

Being one of the following:

  • Social Facebook
  • Social Twitter
  • SMS
  • Blog
  • Email
Owned
Any other media source Paid
UTM
Determined using UTM custom rules Paid
Any other media source Owned
Click ID

Determined using a click ID:

  • gclid
  • dclid
  • msclkid
Paid
Referrer

Referrer domain value is one of the following:

  • googleads.g.doubleclick.net 
  • tpc.googlesyndication.com

Paid

Any other media source

Earned

Use the media source rule to determine the media type

Media channel

The media channel is determined by rules as listed here.

Priority Media channel rule Values Media channel
Highest priority Media source is one of those listed  Direct Direct
  • Google Search
  • Yahoo Search
  • Bing Search
Organic Search

Contains any of the following:

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • snapchat
  • pinterest
  • linkedin
  • whatsapp
Social Media
Email Email
  Media type is Paid  
Ad
  Media source determined by referrer   Referral
Lowest priority No other prior condition matched   Other
Use the media channel rule to determine the media channel

Determining the campaign

  • Campaigns are determined using campaign URL parameters, in accordance with media source URL parameters. 
  • If the relevant campaign parameter is not found on the URL, then the campaign is not derived.
Media source parameter used Campaign parameter used
pid c
utm_source utm_campaign

 

 

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