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Last Click Obsession Is Real And So Is Advertisers’ Struggle

An ad tech company’s persistent quandary is if it should build technology to win the last click or to help advertisers drive value, writes the managing director (Southeast Asia and India) of Sociomantic Labs

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The ad tech industry thrives on market players delivering transparent and valuable solutions for advertisers. It’s disappointing to see the industry marred by accusations of unethical practices that have come to attention in the past weeks — accusations such as inflating click through rate, driving invalid clicks and capturing the last click through practices such as gaming analytics data, overwriting source codes or cookie-stuffing user computers and manipulating the cookie.

The struggle for advertisers to measure and attribute success properly is real. For simplicity’s sake, most resort to a basic model of last-click attribution. It is the process of attributing all sales to the last media interaction that a user had before purchasing. Last-click ignores the media that introduces the user to, or the media that engages the user with, the brand. It means only recognising the media that facilitates the sale, and yet the sale would have never happened unless the user was introduced to the brand and engaged in some way to begin with.

The Complex Path
The fact is, on average a user sees at least 20 media points in the path to purchase, be it display, search, social, email, ambient, out-of-home, or television. A last-click model is an unfair approach that stifles advertisers’ reach as the media that introduces a user to a brand and drives engagement with that brand need not be the media to convert the user.

The key to overcoming the last-click barrier is for advertisers to invest in building their internal skill sets and technical infrastructure to better visualise the path to conversion and the media’s interactions. Unfortunately, in reality, this investment may be restricted by resources, time, or resistance to change. At the same time, this investment is essential because, otherwise, advertisers risk settling for convenience and resorting to the easiest (but often not the most accurate or effective) attribution model of last click.

This obsession with the last click has had a terrible and shocking effect on our industry. We are an ad tech company with a mission to continuously innovate a personalised media platform that our clients can trust — not only to provide them value, but especially to play by the rules. Our modus operandi is to develop technology that will give our marketing partners value at every stage of the customer lifecycle, as opposed to investing our development dollars into finding ways to win the last click.

In the face of tough competition, ad tech companies like ourselves are confronted with a dilemma. Do we take the more arduous path of building advertising solutions that solve real business problems, or adopt a can’t-beat-them-join-them attitude to quickly win the last click and gain in the short-term?

Personally I would like to deliver a tangible value, not a falsified report.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Benedict Hayes

The author is managing director (Southeast Asia and India) of Sociomantic Labs

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