Aiming to please: How data-driven attribution helped Target reach Aussies in their moments of need

May 2018

Moving beyond last-click attribution helped Target understand the true value of the keywords Aussies used during the research phase of their purchase journeys. By switching to data-driven attribution (DDA), the brand drove a 66% lift in conversions and 1.6X increase in ROAS.


Boost sales and market share of homeware product category

Understand which keywords drive clicks and conversions


Tested new DDA solution in AdWords

Optimised bids and budget based on upper funnel search data

Used generic keywords to maximise presence in research phase


1.2X increase in revenue

66% lift in conversions

1.6X increase in return on ad spend (ROAS)

As Australia’s largest department store chain, Target is constantly adjusting its marketing strategy to make sure it’s reaching as many Aussies as possible. When the brand saw a surge in interest for its homeware product category, its media agency OMD decided to investigate consumers’ digital behaviour in an effort to expand market share.

The team found that users often began their purchase journeys with broad category searches—and brand searches were only completed after extensive research. Even though Target was serving ads against these generic searches, the team wasn’t able to understand their true value beyond last-click attribution. That’s where AdWords’ data-driven attribution (DDA) model came in.

Reaching Aussies in the research phase of their purchase journeys

Target and OMD partnered with Google to test a new DDA solution in AdWords. Over the course of a month, the brand optimised its keyword bidding based on upper funnel search data. The team constantly monitored the performance of keywords and invested more in the ones driving clicks and conversions. For example, they found that when users researched beds, the keyword “queen bed” was very popular.


Target also shifted additional marketing spend to generic campaigns to maximise its presence in the research phase of the purchase journey. For example, a generic ad was triggered when a user searched for keywords such as “lamps,” “canvas prints,” “kids table and chair,” and “curtains.”

“Target understands the value of SEM in the marketing mix and we at OMD are very lucky to be working with brands that are prepared to pioneer this new SEM landscape with the latest innovations and technology,” said Kellyn Coetzee, SEM account director at OMD. “We're very excited to see search evolving into a super sophisticated system and now having laid down the foundations with DDA, we look forward to breaking new boundaries with Target.”

Smart investments drive clicks and conversions

Using the DDA methodology, Target and OMD were able to gain a clear view of the purchase journey and determine the true value of upper funnel keywords. Overall, the campaign drove a 1.2X increase in revenue as well as a 66% lift in conversions and 1.6X increase in ROAS.


“Finally, we have the AI to understand the true value of our whole search portfolio and can make meaningful performance decisions. We’ve seen SEM change over the years, but nothing like the evolution it is currently undergoing, and DDA is the vital first building block. We have some way to go, but so far the results speak for themselves,” concluded Richard Dalke, digital marketing manager at Target.

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