Last click measurement has plagued the marketing industry for the last 20 years and it’s been on the ropes since 2013 with the changes to browsers, and cookies. It does feel like the Google change to move away from last click to data driven attribution is like a knockout blow from Mike Tyson, you don’t come back from that.
There have been many beneficiaries from pushing last click mainly Google who launched Google Analytics in 2005 which started the frenzy around last click, and re-targeting media owners also profited. IAB only made it worse as they did not take a stance away from click based metrics who ended up writing a guideline on click measurement in 2009 which was extraordinary. Allowing many of the media owners to push their own ‘cost per’ metrics to understand performance. There was never a positive correlation between clicks / CTR and sales, it became a common chart to put in the end of campaign presentation.
I believed there was value in last click from using it to understand trends to customer journey but in most cases, it was being used wrongly to understand performance and allocate budgets. The use of last click can be blamed at the door of marketers and agencies in being lazy in how they measure channel and campaign performance. Last click measurement became too easy.
Google who are moving to a data-driven attribution is even more questionable than last click. Data driven model is going to benefit Google, making it harder for brands or agencies to get under the skin of it. Don’t be surprised to see brands investing more budget into Google if their sole measurement is based on Google’s data driven attribution.
The biggest flaw with last click that it over-values the contribution of performance channels, it under-values the channels that delivers brand campaigns and the importance of staying top of mind to the consumer.
When it comes to end of financial year and budgeting in most cases last click measurement will be used to dictate how budgets are allocated resulting in channels bottom of the funnel taking priority while reducing the investment in channels at the top of the funnel. This will help marketing look far more efficient but also its likely to constrain growth.
The future of measurement away from last click is marketing mix modelling (MMM), far more robust than last click ever was, with MMM providing a top down view on the impact marketing has in driving incremental sales.