The 'look forward' model

The look forward feature is a proprietary model that Attribution uses to calculate profit & loss for your marketing efforts and it stands in direct contrast to the standard 'look back' window commonly used by analytics and competitor software. 

First to understand the 'look forward' model, we need to understand the commonly used 'look back' window model. 

Look back window

The 'look back' window model will seek to attribute conversions & revenue with past touches in a specific time range. 

For example, if you have a conversion that occurred on January 30th a look back window will be generated and this window will look 30, 60, or even 90 days in the past to discover which ad is responsible for that conversion & revenue. 

Below we have an example of one visitor as they move throughout their journey to conversion from December 1st to April 1st of the next year.

Notice above that our visitor is touched by ads on December 28th and January 15th, this is indicated by the red circle on our timeline, ignore which channel actually touched the user as it is not important for the example, but we can imagine it to be either Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn. Ultimately our visitor converts on February 15th, once this conversion occurs our 'look back' window, indicated by the opaque blue rectangle, will look into the timeline history to see which ads should get credit for this conversion. 

As marketers we find two difficulties with this model. First, it is difficult to determine how far back we should look to give credit. Second, this model tells us where our conversions came from for a specific date range, but it doesn't tell us what we spent for those conversions or if it was worth it compared to another channel. For this reason we decided to build our own model, one which we use a 'look forward' perspective.

Look forward window

Our 'look forward' model seeks to answer the question, "for today's marketing efforts, how many conversions occurred, and how much revenue did we generate?" We find this provides a more accurate metric for return on ad spend. Below we lay out the same exact scenario as the 'look back' window example above, however this time we apply the 'look forward' model. 

Here we can see the same results as above, a ad touch on December 28th and January 15th and a conversion on February 15th. Now the major difference between the 'look back' and 'look forward' concept is the idea that Attribution will first look at the touch, then look forward to find the future revenues & conversions for that touch. This is how we answer the question, 'for our efforts today, how many conversions, and how much revenue have I generated?' We find this to be a more accurate way to measure return on ad spend. The look forward model can even go beyond your desired date range in specific scenarios. 

One of the primary reasons why we believe this to be a better model has to do with the ease of customization that is possible with this model. Another is the direct correlation we can show between your ads and your conversion & revenue generated. 

The main object of the article you are reading now is to allow you to understand the difference between the Attribution model and our competitors, but if you'd like to learn more about the specific customizations available click the link here

If you have any questions or concerns about this article please feel free to reach out to  Support@attributionapp.com