Case Study: Evaluating the ROI of Upper-Funnel Tactics Through Empirical Attribution


A car rental company needed to scale new customer acquisition efforts beyond retargeting, but struggled to evaluate the efficacy of mid-and upper-funnel tactics with a last-touch attribution model.


  • We used Audience Optics™ DMP to organize advertiser’s 1st party data into actionable marketing segments
  • Launched foundational tactics, such as retargeting & contextual targeting, to drive performance and generate initial learning
  • Built custom prospecting algorithms based on 1st party data via Accordant’s data modeling team
  • Launched mid & upper funnel tactics, including video, rich media, PMPs & algorithmic targeting, to drive scale & performance
  • Evaluated campaign performance using multi-touch attribution model that captured the synergies across all digital media tactics
  • Results

    Attribution modeling & conversion path analysis showed:
  • 62% of conversions came from multi-touch pathways
  • Lower funnel tactics like retargeting had higher empirical CPAs since last-touch attribution was erroneously allocating all credit to these tactics
  • Conversely, ‘true’ CPA of upper/mid funnel tactics was about 2x-2.5x lower than the CPA based on last-touch attribution
  • Upper/mid-funnel tactics can have comparable empirical CPA / ROI to lower funnel tactics and are thus an important component of a comprehensive multi-tactic programmatic ad campaign.