ROI: Attribution Challenges in Marketing

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Attribution is now being widely recognized as central to the future of digital marketing and is quickly rising in the ranks for many as a top marketing priority. In 2017, almost “75 percent of marketers find attribution critical or very important to their programs’ success”.

Today, there are many different approaches to attribution being utilized from business to business, ranging from basic to really advanced. However, there are still many limitations on accuracy — with each approach offering its own strengths and weaknesses.

Understanding these limitations should help marketers choose the appropriate attribution solution, analyze results, and improve action derived from generated insights and recommendations. Even so, the consumers’ path to purchase has grown in its complexity, with many conversion paths occurring over multiple sessions and multiple marketing channels.

How can you effectively attribute value to each channel? Here are a few of the biggest attribution challenges marketers encounter.

Single Touch Attribution Is Flawed.  Most people are moving away from single-touch attribution and trying to fill in the gaps of the customer journey with a few variations of the traditional multi-touch models.  Still, there are some issues regarding how each interaction is weighed with multi-touch models. Another solution is watching how a lead moves through the journey, the number of touchpoints it takes to bring them to conversion, and the amount of time required to convert a lead. At this point, marketers can calculate the cost of a closed lead and determine the ROI on marketing efforts.

Departments want credit for their efforts. Brands have used attribution modeling as an attempt to influence the level of effort from each department. Using attribution modeling to dole out blame or credit typically results in conflicts over how attribution is assigned and diminishes the value of using measurement to elevate the entire workflow. Instead, the method should be used to understand how things are working throughout the marketing ecosystem. Attribution models are better put to use to help inform decisions and determine how to deliver the right message to the right audience on the right channel at the right time.

Attribution models can’t account for influences beyond digital footprints. The number one goal with using measurement models is the ability to map out the customer journey. However, marketers must be resigned to the fact that there are flaws in attributions models which will not consider other influences beyond the digital footprint people leave when researching and looking for your solution. This is why the focus should be on figuring out which channels work best and work together. Instead of using attribution models to assign credit, marketers should view them as a method to discover solutions, bridge the gaps in engagement, and elevate the messages and channels that are gaining the most conversions.

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