Marketing Attribution FAQ
Marketing Attribution is a hot topic in the marketing world, and OptiMine addresses the most common questions surrounding this popular subject. See the FAQ below on all things Marketing Attribution so that you can get informed and in the end, choose the attribution solution that works best for you and your brand.
What is Marketing Attribution?
In short, Marketing Attribution is the process of evaluating the marketing touchpoints a consumer encounters on their path to purchase. It then assigns value or credit to a set of advertisement impressions that contribute to a desired outcome (Example: conversions).
How Does Marketing Attribution Work?
To make multi-touch attribution (“MTA”) work, a brand must align ad impressions with consumer and device identity data in order to know “who saw which ad” and whether a conversion occurred. Traditionally this was accomplished using cookie data but this method has all but been shut down as a result of browser cookie blocking. Now, a brand must use 3rd party identity graphs along with their own first party data to attempt to stitch this picture together. Complicating this are major technology industry changes from Apple’s iOS 14.5 update which has blocked a major portion of mobile device tracking and Google’s coming FLoC initiative which will stop all consumer-level targeting and tracking for Google-owned ad networks and the Chrome browser.
Once a consumer’s identity has been matched to an ad, a device, and a purchase transaction, the MTA solution must then compare conversion performance of those customers who’ve seen the ad with those consumers who haven’t, in order to determine whether the ad has generated any true lift. Compounding this complexity is that the MTA solution must also compare sequences of ads seen, keep the identity straight across multiple devices and understand the order of the ads seen, in order to measure the magic combination of ads that leads to the highest conversion lift. Doing this with any level of accuracy requires evaluating billions of comparisons as even a small set of campaigns across channels generates an enormous number of potential sequences and combinations. And this is fraught with accuracy problems when even a small number of conversion identities is mistakenly mis-matched with ads (or not matched at all).
Finally, building a marketing attribution solution requires an enormous amount of data, server-to-server integrations with third parties, the exchange of PII, as well as user-ad level impression data, which is now increasingly difficult to obtain from the walled gardens. The result is typically a lengthy deployment cycle, added costs with 3rd party identity data graphs, brittle solutions that are difficult to maintain (or change), and measurement without known accuracy.
Why is Marketing Attribution Important?
There are a variety of reasons why Marketing Attribution is important, but the main reasons are as follows:
- The pressure and scrutiny of marketing budgets forces marketers to understand the value of their investments
- Complex multi-channel marketing requires advanced measurement—campaigns in one channel impact the performance of other marketing channels
- Marketing needs to prove value, ROI and effectiveness- especially upper funnel channels that don’t have clicks
- Brands are looking to move past last-click measurement to understand the value of all channels
What are the Benefits of Marketing Attribution?
The main benefits of Marketing Attribution are:
- Moving on from last-click (or no measurement at all)
- Helps muster understanding for upper funnel marketing
- Avoids over-measurement of lower funnel marketing such as paid search
- Instills a focus on measuring marketing ROI and driving accountability, especially since most marketing is judged on the basis of ROI
What are the Most Common Marketing Attribution Mistakes and Challenges?
Although Marketing Attribution has its benefits, there are also some common mistakes & challenges that come with this measurement approach.
The main challenge that marketing attribution solutions face is that they are not future-proof due to the wave of privacy regulations and other tech industry gaining momentum in the market today. These privacy changes are causing Marketing Attribution solutions to suffer significant data gaps and accuracy issues. And, new state-by-state privacy regulations are creating major regulatory risks with the handling (and mis-handling) of consumer identity data.
Some additional challenges with Marketing Attribution are:
- Subjectability to correlation-based biases when analyzing the customer journey. This causes it to look like one event might’ve caused another, when that is actually not the case
- The determined ROI is often far from the real ROI of any brand because it only considers touchpoint conversions while calculating the return on investment. In reality, there are several other contributing factors
- Marketing Attribution does not account for offline to online effects
Are all of these challenges causing your marketing measurement to go dark? Read our blog post on this topic, here.
What is a Marketing Attribution Model?
A Marketing Attribution model is a framework for analyzing which touchpoints, or marketing channels, receive credit for a conversion.
What Are Some Common Marketing Attribution Models?
There are many Marketing Attribution models available in the market, from very simple unsophisticated approaches to extremely complex deployments requiring heavy resources and technology. Below is a brief overview of the most common approaches, from simplest to most complex:
- Last Touch Attribution = simplest form of marketing attribution. Assigns full credit for the conversion to the last ad clicked
- First Touch Attribution = simple form of marketing attribution. Assigns full credit for the conversion to the first ad clicked
- Fractional (or Rules-Based) Attribution = attempts to assign weights, factors or “rules” to give credit to different points in the funnel
- “U” and “W” Shaped Attribution = attempt to assign weights, factors or “rules” to give credit to different points in the funnel—typically by assigning more credit to the first and last ads in the sequence
- Algorithmic Attribution = more complex approach that sometimes uses predictive models & correlations to calculate credit across ad sequences
For more detailed information on the different types of Marketing Attribution models, read OptiMine’s “What is Multi-Touch Attribution?” blog post, here.
How Do I Choose The Right Attribution Model for my Business?
Reference the chart below to help you figure out which attribution model is right for your business by asking yourself these important questions:
|Criteria||Important Notes & Considerations|
Does the solution cover all of the marketing channels for your brand (including traditional media such as TV, radio, print, OOH)?
Does the solution cover all of the conversion channels for your brand (including in-app, in-store, call center, branch locations, sales agents, in addition to e-commerce)?
Controlling for Non-Marketing Factors
Does the modeling solution account and control for non-marketing factors (weather, seasonality, competition, economy) as well as your brand’s own non-marketing impacts (promotions, discounts, PR, events, sponsorships)?
Avoiding Reliance on PII
Does the solution require PII? Can the solution provide detailed campaign-level measures without the use of PII?
Need for Speed
Does the solution require data integrations, use of 3rd party data onboarding, tagging digital assets, matching offline consumer data, or other data-related tasks that greatly slow down deployments and updates over time?
How easy can the solution change to new KPIs or conversion outcomes? How fast and easy is it to add new channels and data? How long must the solution recalibrate models when data changes? How long does it take to build new models? How often are the predictive models updated?
Does the solution require additional expenses for data, data integration, web development, compliance costs, and IT costs?
Question 7: How Do I Get Started with Marketing Attribution?
Smart brands care about properly measuring the incremental contributions of their marketing investments regardless of whether these are digital or traditional channels, and smart brands want to understand the total impact of their marketing across all conversion points—not just digital ones. But knowing that marketing attribution has become more difficult, less accurate and now has new regulatory risks, how should brands think about getting started with their measurement? It’s all about future-proofing. Read OptiMine’s Future-Proofing Guide for a detailed plan of action. To get started quickly, keep these simple but effective tips in mind:
- Understand that measuring your marketing performance does not require PII nor customer/ device tracking
- Traditional methods such as Marketing Mix Modeling using modern AI, machine learning and high-speed computing provide better measurement solutions
- Understand what use cases and measurement needs match with the best tools for the job (example: tracking-based measurement is the right approach to measure consumer experience, but isn’t the right approach for marketing campaign measurement)
- Agility, speed and flexibility are required for success in a faster-moving world being disrupted by new technology-first upstarts and competitors
- Doing nothing isn’t a plan for success.
For more information on how to move forward and/or get started with your marketing attribution in the era of consumer privacy, watch our on-demand webinar, here.
What Makes Marketing Attribution with OptiMine Different?
We are currently in an era of privacy-driven marketing measurement disruption. However, OptiMine’s marketing measurement and optimization solution does not rely on PII, cookies, tracking pixels, or any other identity data, and as such, will not be impacted by any of the privacy regulations or privacy related technology changes now nor in the future.
OptiMine’s solution is 100% future-proof—and the time to future-proof your measurement is NOW. Learn more about future-proofing measurement in these informative on-demand webinars below:
- OptiMine On-Demand Webinar: “Apple’s ATT Changes Are Now Live. Learn How It’s Impacting Brands’ Measurement, Performance, & How to Move Forward’
- OptiMine On-Demand Webinar: “Moving Forward in the Cookie-Less Future: How Apple & Google Privacy Changes Impact You”
- OptiMine On-Demand Webinar: “Apple IDFA & Google FLoC: How Tracking Changes Will Impact You”
Interested in learning more about how OptiMine’s Marketing Attribution solution can help you? Contact us today!