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The Attribution Challenge

By 13th January 2018October 9th, 2021No Comments

The biggest challenge for any marketer is being able to understand the role that marketing channels play and the value they generate for a brand. With multiple touchpoints across devices, the ever-changing cookie landscape in the browser wars, the dominance of Google and Facebook, plus the varying length of the consumer’s path to conversion — it’s been getting harder to measure true marketing channel success and impact on positive business growth.

The marketer’s dream is to understand exactly what campaigns result in sales and what impact their marketing activities have on the consumer journey to the point of purchase. In the ideal world, splitting budget across the funnel from brand awareness to sales should be seamless. It sounds very simple but it’s not straight forward in practice — attribution has become an irritation to many marketers in the industry because it keeps evolving in a landscape that has become so complex.

The Obstacles

We live in a world where consumers interact and engage with brands both online and offline. With the evolution of new channels, how they can be tracked and measured has become even harder with disparate reporting solutions, meaning there is no one single solution to truly provide a data story. It’s hard to cut through the noise and measure end-to-end marketing performance to truly understand the value of each touch point. This is the biggest frustration to the marketer and emarketer reported in February 2019 that 10% of companies are only able to attribute holistically.

As consumer behaviour changes, attribution has not been able to keep pace, instead focusing on clicks, which are not fully representative of the consumer journey that takes place. This is where the uncertainty and the value of attribution has come into question from a strategic view.

The Attribution Plan

Attribution cannot be switched on tomorrow to get results next week. Understanding the relationship between media and devices is the holy grail for attribution. It requires lot of planning from tagging, to data collection, to picking the right attribution solution, picking the right KPI’s, to selecting the right supporting tech that aligns with the overall measurement strategy that maps back to clear business objectives. The biggest challenge to get the most out of attribution has always been in being able to action the recommendations from the insights provided. Building the right ecosystem can now support the optimisation capabilities in being able to connect to different DSP’s allowing marketers the flexibility to action the attribution insights.

With all the data available, the attribution approach selected has the ability to provide the marketer with an accurate picture of impact, but it still requires the human touch and collaboration between different teams to get the most out of it.

Utilising your Data & Tech Stack

Before committing to a full attribution project, which comes with a hefty fee attached to it. Brands will have a mix of Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics and Facebook Analytics as part of their data and tech stack. All 3 platforms have the ability to provide user journey insights, Facebook Analytics added bonus is that it is based on logged-in data and it can track multi-device journeys to conversion. Adobe and Google able to track the on-site user journey. Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics has the ability to create a baseline on a last click model to understand true channel performance and create a single source of truth. Both Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics have great segmentation capabilities to a) understand audience segments better, b) improve the user journey and c) improve the overall conversion rate of marketing activity.

Implementing a full attribution strategy will evolve the measurement taking a top-down approach. It will help by providing valuable insights in the role of the different channels in the journey and moving away from a last click model. This should not undermine the insights from the different platforms that are used. A hybrid approach of platforms in the data and tech stack need to be utilised to understand the value marketing has on driving business outcomes.