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Are marketing attribution tools misunderstood?

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12th Oct 2014
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Earlier in the year, MoreNiche’s Kirstie Eager stated companies that specialise in attribution were “making the process deliberately complex” and “scary” in a bid to ramp up their customer numbers.

Whether or not this is fact, the shift to successful attribution is proving a slow one for most marketing professionals, with new research from Forrester suggesting only one in nine marketers use advanced attribution methods.  

The report, Cross-Channel Attribution Must Convert Insights Into Action which was written in conjunction with Kenshoo, highlights the challenges most marketers face in implementing cross-channel attribution strategies, resulting in three key findings:  

- Marketers still embrace elementary approaches to measurement
“Only one in nine marketers use advanced attribution methods, and among those using attribution, 28% still use single click methods.”

- Marketers struggle to turn attribution insights into action
“Having an attribution tool does not guarantee that an organisation will act in new ways. Several obstacles remain, including understanding the analytical model, convincing colleagues of the validity of recommendations and incorporating results into cumbersome media buying systems. However, these challenges diminish with time.”

- Savvy marketers get sharper and nimbler with attribution measurement
“Advanced marketers use sophisticated multi-touch attribution models to inform a broad array of strategic and tactical decisions in more detail and with more speed – 49% adjust their long-term media plans, 38% change media spend, 34% compare the performance of different campaign measures, and 23% take some action in real time.”

The second point is perhaps the most poignant, given the issues many marketers have with attaching the correct level of ROI to certain touch points in the customer journey, and, according to CallStream’s Mick Crosthwaite, is often the fundamental reason most digital trails go cold.

Forrester’s advice in this instance is for marketers to review their attribution strategy and undertake the following tasks:

Build an attribution business case and get executive sponsorship
Advanced attribution methodologies require an investment to build and time to understand; put a realistic plan together covering the range of benefits, costs and potential risks to get organisational buy-in.

Dig into your partner’s attribution approach
Marketers should not bear 100% responsibility for implementing a new attribution solution; they should work with customer insights teams to validate a vendor’s analytic approach and the value of their attribution through robust tests.

Connect attribution insights to media execution engines
Connecting attribution modeling to bid management platforms enables marketers to adjust their digital advertising spend in real time. This gives brands the agility required to respond to the rapidly changing interest of digitally connected consumers.

Test and experiment with new marketing and media strategies to continually improve results
In addition to proving out your recommendations, testing and better measurement with attribution promotes experimentation; use a new attribution tool as an opportunity to discover new approaches and refine strategies.

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