Cannes Lions


OMD, New York / H&R BLOCK / 2013

Case Film
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Case Film






Our objective was to distribute media credit equitably and to eliminate redundant impressions. By tracking all channels (direct traffic, paid/organic search, display, email, social, affiliate, etc.), every digital touchpoint was captured and valued for its role in a conversion path.

This completely new approach was built specifically for H&R Block as a way to utilize media delivery and harness the power of an existing attribution system in a new way – to pay for media. We melded a set of existing tools into a cohesive system that stands a model of pay for performance marketing.

We used ad server data and conversion data processed through our attribution technology to define the value for each digital touchpoint in the sales path based on past quantitative modeling. This system paid different dollar amounts for:

Introducers: which channel identified and reached the prospect first?

Influencers: which channels “assisted” in the path to conversion (between introduction and close)?

Closers: which channel was the last interacted with prior to conversion?

We explained the data collection system to potential display partners, including AOL, Yahoo!, Microsoft and a group of ad networks; defined dollar values for each step in the conversion path; and an audit process for publishers. All partners were compensated using this single interrelated system.

Lift analysis and other attribution-related data were used to inform optimizations and budget reallocations during the tax season.

No capital investment was required as all parties saw the business benefit of moving to this new model.


Digital display contributed to 87% of all conversions in 2012, compared to 38% the year before and with 23% fewer display impressions than 2011. The principal data suggested the more targeted impressions removed clutter from marketplace – using smarter delivery while not forsaking share of voice.

This attribution-based pricing approach saved ~$1MM when compared to last-ad CPA method used in previous years.

Digital display’s cost-per-acquisition came down 36.5% and contributed to an 18% year-on-year growth in H&R Block’s online business.

An improved architecture was deployed in late 2012 to allow for daily data feeds to partners and more variable adjustment to the payout process during the season to more quickly effect change.

Partner comments included:

“This is the most scientific and fair system we have ever used.” - Mike Treon, Director, Sales and Strategy, AOL

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