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BizReport : Advertising archives : January 09, 2018

Experts weigh in: Why attribution matters more than ever

Connected devices are all over our homes. According to some experts, there are at least 13 connected devices in the average household - tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, gaming systems, etc. With so many touch points, attribution is set to change how marketers approach advertising and analytics. Five experts explain why attribution should change marketers' approach.

by Kristina Knight

Attribution is leading to real audiences

"Marketing attribution is rapidly becoming a hot button issue in marketing and ad tech for two reasons: First, advertisers are investing more and more hard dollars in digital promotional outlets and they want better proof of results. Second, the advertiser now realizes that attribution is actually possible," said Ray Kingman, CEO and Co-Founder, Semcasting. "The use of cookies, double-blind clusters of referred website traffic, and the fear-mongering of privacy advocates made it easy to justify the idea that all internet traffic was anonymous. When programmatic audience targeting rolled out (and with it direct mail online) and onboarding became standard practice, advertisers realized they no longer had to settle for 'black box' metrics of 'click-thru', 'last click' and 'view thru credits' as attribution. This established real people and audiences as online targets; the first half of the battle was won. The second half is still being fought within walled gardens with universal IDs. However, it is possible to win this fight, too. By using more independent metrics of IP, location and device matching, marketers can execute deterministic attribution with 80%-90% coverage and match rates across all channels and platforms - both online and offline."

Attribution can weight touch points

"The problem with attribution is touch points. If a person sees an ad on TV, hears it on the radio, passes a billboard advertising the same product, sees an ad on Facebook, and then, finally, visits the website, who gets the attribution? TV was the first touch point but the Facebook ad may have tipped the person into discovery. By giving the most recent touch point the heaviest weight for attribution, you can get a better idea of what marketing techniques are the most effective to cause action. Marketers need to spend their budget where the people are and where their target market shops, regardless of the perceived attribution," said Rich Kahn, CEO and Co-Founder, eZanga. "For example, years ago I spoke with someone who sold chair lifts designed for residential homes. They were sold on a directory-style marketing technique because that is where the clients perceived market was. Being 'in market' himself, I asked him to humor me for a moment and find a local painter to paint his office. He turned to the computer, not the print directory, to do his research. His perceived attribution was skewed; that was his 'aha' moment. In the coming years, if a technology can connect online and offline touch points leading to a purchase, it will be worth its weight in gold."

Attribution connects dots with Common ID

"For anyone who felt they wasted half their ad budget but didn't know which half, marketing attribution is the answer. You need to be able to credit different parts of marketing (which creative, which media) with the marketing outcome -- this is attribution," said Victor Wong, CEO, Thunder. "As we've moved to a multi-screen, multi-audience and multi-creative world thanks to digital fragmentation and targeting, attribution has become more important than ever. We're moving toward audience-based planning and buying -- away from media-based planning and buying. To connect the dots, we need to be using common consumer IDs baked into the serving technologies to unite, personalize and optimize all the consumer's touch points with a brand. New people-based ad servers will be the answer and the replacement to traditional media ad servers like DoubleClick. These new personalization servers will focus on people-based attention, individual lifetime value, and other metrics based on real people."

Attribution can pinpoint purchase inspiration

"As choices increase and budgets decrease, having the ability to maximize every single marketing dollar is of utmost importance. However, connecting the dots between all the touch points is easier said than done. It's a process that has become much more challenging in the current environment due to the various types of advertising marketers use. Most marketers look at search as the Holy Grail, and while it does play an important part in the ecosystem, it is not the be-all end-all. Search captures an existing demand while other vehicles inspire the demand," said Matthew Fanelli, SVP of Digital at MNI Targeted Media Inc., a subsidiary of Time Inc. "Attribution modeling is an ongoing exercise that needs to happen over time. It requires a marketer to shift where they are investing dollars. As they're re-arranging budgets and advertising vehicles, they need to look at how that affects the outcome of sales, and then they must change again. Studies indicate that this process can take up to 18 months for the optimal mix."

Attribution is a building block of customer journey

"Data is the heartbeat of business and attribution is the first step in building and improving any business. Ignoring attribution is equivalent to running with your eyes closed. Sure, it feels great to get some exercise, but unless you open your eyes, you will either run into a poll or fall on your face. The endless possibilities -- "bells and whistles" -- that savvy, modern marketers have for customer and prospect engagement are inadvertently obscuring business fundamentals: understanding how customers find you and why they continue to interact with you. Yet with such abundant opportunities comes a greater risk of misallocated or wasted budgets, ineffective engagement and poor experiences between brands and consumers," said Oren Kaniel, CEO and Co-Founder, AppsFlyer. "In our complex, multi-channel and increasingly mobile-centric world, it should all start with attribution, which is as good for the advertiser as it is for the consumer. You must understand what drives your business and your customers -- where they came from and how or if they were impacted by your marketing activities. It's imperative to determine if you are providing real value or just annoying people, especially given the limited real estate where you most often find consumers -- their devices. This is the spark of insight that, when properly aligned to the right growth strategy, will fuel your success."

Tags: advertising, advertising attribution, advertising trends, AppsFlyer, customer attribution, email marketing, eZanga, MNI, mobile marketing, SEMCasting, social marketing, Thunder

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