Lookback Windows in Advertising: Choosing the Right Attribution Window

March 9, 2023 -
By Scott Konopasek

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of lookback windows in advertising and how choosing the right attribution window can impact your ad performance. A lookback window is a crucial aspect of attribution modeling in digital advertising and the right strategy can make a huge difference.

What’s a Lookback Window?

A lookback window is a specific period of time during which an ad can receive credit for a particular conversion. The length of the lookback window can vary depending on the advertising platform and the business objectives. For example, Google offers lookback windows ranging from 1 to 90 days.

Why Do Lookback Windows Matter?

The reason lookback windows matter is that they determine how much credit you give to an ad for a particular conversion. Choosing the right attribution window is essential to maximize the impact of your advertising.

A longer lookback window gives more credit to an ad, but it may not accurately reflect the true impact of the ad on the conversion. On the other hand, a shorter lookback window may not give enough (or any) credit to an ad that played a significant role in the conversion.

How to Choose the Right Attribution Window?

To choose the right attribution window for your brand, consider the length of your sales cycle, the average time it takes for a user to convert, and how long the user journey takes.

If you don’t know how long it takes to sell your product, you can’t accurately choose your attribution windows.

For example, if your sales cycle is long, you may want to choose a longer lookback window to account for the time it takes for a user to convert. If your sales cycle is short, a shorter lookback window will be more appropriate.

Aligning Lookback Windows with Sales Cycle

By aligning your lookback windows with your sales cycle, you can accurately attribute results and optimize your advertising strategy for maximum impact.

For example, if your sales cycle is 21 days, you may want to set the lookback window to 30 days to ensure that all conversions are accurately credited to the right ads. You might even consider making the attribution window even longer because some portion of users will be influenced by ads for a longer period before converting.

The Impact of Attribution Windows on Ad Performance

Knowing your sales cycle also helps you understand how long an optimization will take to show results. Aligning your lookback windows with your sales cycle can help you make data-driven decisions and optimize your advertising strategy for maximum impact. Keep in mind that ad impact diminishes rapidly over time, so set your attribution windows accordingly.

In Conclusion:

Choose the right attribution window based on your business objectives and sales cycle. By understanding and optimizing your attribution windows, you can better prove the impact that your campaigns have on the bottom line and maximize the effectiveness of your advertising. Digital attribution can be a complex process, but by following these best practices, you can make data-driven decisions and optimize your advertising strategy for maximum impact.