THE X’S AND O’S OF MULTI-CHANNEL ATTRIBUTION ANALYTICS

X and O Graph Image Here

It would be crazy to think of a neon sign outside a brick and mortar store as the sole reason someone went inside and made a purchase, right? That would mean ignoring all the television commercials, billboards, fliers, social media, or word of mouth that the customer may have come into contact with long before setting foot inside. What we’re talking about is essentially real-world last-click attribution, wherein the majority of your marketing efforts are ignored and the final touch-point in the funnel gets all the credit. The fact is, last-click doesn’t make any more sense online than it does off.

Moving beyond the last-click attribution model allows marketers to look at the full funnel of touch points that contributes to a sale or conversion. It’s called multi-channel attribution. This more advanced practice allows marketers to distribute credit for a conversion among all digital touch points, and in turn gain new insights, optimize campaigns, and get a more accurate reading on ROI.

However, multi-channel is only a philosophy, not a method. Should all touch points share equal credit or should some receive more than others? How can marketers use their arsenal of tools to effectively analyze their funnel in a multi-channel world? Leaders in the industry joined to discuss how marketers are utilizing evolving attribution models to more effective marketing results in this AiMA event.

I spent some time talking with James Sater of Adconion Direct, Al Loise of Vayu Media, and Brian Daegan of Think Interactive discussing the need to teach digital in the classroom for colleges that have Marketing degrees. Attribution is a hot topic. Many of these and other digital topics are important, but are only general trends of why we are talking:

1) Myth of Direct Response is De-bunked
2) There is a Buyer Journey
3) Connecting Actions to Attribution “Ecosystem”
4) Complexity of Customers and How to Measure

No one knows monetization of numbers for the data of Multi-channel attribution. Using the marketing mix model to know every brand touch point can be tuff. A customer in today’s world uses search, social, display and has a buyer journey. To navigate through the digital ecosystem can be extensive; Google democratizes attribution with Google Analytics. Duplication rates are a factor too and you need to get KPI’s from the digital agencies that you are partnering with.

Panel:
• Moderator: Case Carey, CMO of Adometry, @caseycarey
Brian Easter, CEO of Nebo Agency, @wbeaster
Aidan Cardella, VP Research and Development of ChoiceStream
Dave Mundo, VP, Analytics of BKV, @davemundo
Chris Shaffer, Executive Director of Cox Communications

We are now in the wild west of Digital to look towards agencies, but agencies are stewards of your money. Attribution is like a currency that must understand your company, sales cycle, and other data as it relates to you. You need to understand your unique business and industry because new Attribution metrics behaves the same as a marketer’s money. Re-invest, make quantity tangible in digital, and have organizational acceptance.

Attributions are the reasons we give for our own and others behaviors. People are motivated to understand the causes of behavior. Attribution theory seeks to explain how and why people make these causal attributions.  There are two types of attribution: rules-based and model. Rule-based is the rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths. Model Attribution is based upon hard statistics.

The results from an operational side – what do you do with that? Come up with the answer and operationalize it. “Predictive Analytics” by Eric Siegel is a great read for making results actionable. According to Wikipedia, Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of techniques from statistics, modeling, machine learning, and data mining that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future, or otherwise unknown, events.

What to look for in 3RD Party Software, Technology, and Agencies:

1. Understands your business (Science and Art)
2. Custom-fit for you
3. Implement results
4. Evaluate what you want to get
5. Actionable Insights or Regular Insights, ex: Comscore
6. Pick Someone you trust
7. Real-time bidding
8. Customization vs. Budget Requirements

The ability to keep up in the third phase of attribution is evolving. Yes, that’s right, there isn’t an end game. It is blind to us offline and online:

1. Activities and mentions that trigger will change; new metrics
2. Budget shifts to more digital initiatives
3. Cross device is huge

Predictive models have the science to drive creative. Rules-based attribution models have a marketer’s bias because it lets the data speak. Things like time of day could be taken into account. Brian Easter has been a huge fan of predictive analytics. However, “personalization instead of predictive,” he reminds us.

Experiential situations through location based marketing is a data point. Google analytics allows for us to tag urls and solve data management problems. Generate full-click, cost per order, optimize and scale everything. By working with a partner who understands the complexity of attribution and your philosophy you can begin to solve this puzzle. Have more of a philosophy by being humble, hungry, brave, trying things and failing first. Only then will the pieces begin to fit.

Closing Remark:
“Impressed by attendance and quality, relevancy, and importance of this hot topic. The follow-up questions with level of knowledge at AiMA are a reflection of why people are so enthusiastic about coming to see what was being talked about.”
— Case Carey, CMO, Adometry, @caseycarey

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