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First-click session-bound attribution is simple yet effective and won't exaggerate the traffic impact

Published on: 2022-10-17 First-click session-bound attribution is simple yet effective and won't exaggerate the traffic impact

Wide Angle Analytics uses a simple yet effective traffic attribution mechanism. We implemented the first entry, linear attribution.

Within a single session, a source and the origin of the traffic are attributed to the first visit.

What is a session?

A session is a sequence of events, such as page views, clicks or custom actions which belong to the same visitor. In addition, the session's maximum length is defined by its inactivity period.

If the user visits your website and keeps coming back before the inactivity period lapses, all visits will be assigned to a single session.

The system looks at the Tracking ID for the session to correctly match individual visits to a single user. If you use the default identification and tracking mechanism of Wide Angle, that ID will last no longer than one day. Henceforth, the session will have a maximum life span of 1 day.

Suppose you opt for a custom tracking mechanism, leverage customer ID as part of your tracking data, or use Wide Angle Analytics' optional cookies. In that case, you can increase the length of the session substantially.

Session length vs Tracking ID approach

No matter your tracking ID generation, the session will be closed if no new events arrive within 24 hours. A new session will be opened if your guest visits the page after one day of inactivity.

What is attribution?

When talking about attribution, we refer to matching the traffic source with a visit and then with specific actions or page views.

A question we are trying to answer is: To which action outside our website can we attribute specific action on our website?

With this information, you can assess the effectiveness of marketing efforts and find those that work by, for example, measuring new trials.

We recognize two standard types of attributions: the referring website and source parameters.

The referring traffic deserves its own section, and we shared our thoughts on this subject in a different article. Please check it out to ensure that your shared links are correctly used and deliver the most valuable information in your reports.

Beyond the referrer, there are two commonly used parameters. These are ref and utm_source. Information passed in this request parameters will be used as the source in the Wide Angle Analytics dashboard.

Traffic Source Parameters

Connecting attribution with session

Effectively reporting on attribution means connecting traffic sources and referrers with a session. As the introduction mentions, Wide Angle Analytics opts for simple yet effective linear attribution.

We will attach the source and referrer from the first visit or action in the session to all events that belong to that session.

First-Click Linear Attribution

The simplicity of this model means that it is much easier to reason about the reports.

But because session length is limited to one day in the default case and controlled by you in more complex scenarios, we can achieve a sufficient degree of certainty in attributing actions to the user reaching the desired goal.

Final thoughts

Combined with an understanding of traffic sources, session matching, and attribution, you can effectively measure the performance of your marketing effects, tracking conversion and asserting your goals.

Check Wide Angle's Custom Actions and how to assign traffic to a specific user action on your website.

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