Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Attribution 101: Measuring Marketing Effectiveness

Tom Keuten, Managing Director, Detroit
Technology / Strategy

In late February 2019, Rightpoint hosted a Direct Marketing Association of Detroit event featuring a panel of experts in digital marketing to talk about Attribution. It was clear from the group’s conversation that Attribution can be complex in terms of both technology and people. Depending on the type of business you have, it’s importance and how much time you invest varies quite a bit.

Sales attribution has been a challenge for many companies long before digital became so prevalent. Sales managers often divide their prospects and customers by region. They often want to know what contributed to the sale the most so they can invest in what is working. Was it the trade show where the customer attended and learned about the product? Was it the persistent salespersons’ four phone calls? Or was it the advertisement in the business journal?

Nowadays, attribution is often defined by a set of touches users make (“events”) when they are on a mobile application, web site, social media account or other screen. These touch points eventually result in some sort of a conversion, or a sale. Some of these are more valuable than others so systems can assign weights to each of these events so some are more valuable than others. Attribution has become a lot more complex and sophisticated, especially for large companies with multiple consumer brands. They spend big budgets on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and rewards through loyalty programs amongst others, and marketers want to know what ultimately helps them sell products to you.

In order to measure attribution, you need to make technology investments. Consider these “layers of technology” that offer different types of value:

1)  Your website. Your website can be a very powerful tool for sales and the enterprise level digital experience systems like Sitecore can help measure every action a user takes. You can see where and when people click that ultimately drives to a sale and optimize that model based on weighting these actions and measuring conversion.

2)  “Smart” links and landing pages. When you advertise online or use email campaigns and direct prospects to your website, you can make the links that they click and the places they land “smart” so you know who clicked on what and where they went. As you gather data over time, you’ll learn what is working with these channels.

3)  Data from third parties. When spending on social and other digital channels, they should be able to provide you some data about who touched what before they came to your business. These channels offer different types of data and think about attribution in different ways. Some third parties even have different attribution measures with different services. Google Analytics attributes credit to the last, non-direct action. Google Ads credits the last direct action.

Smaller businesses and businesses that sell B2B should be very focused and grow into their programs, making sure they have a purpose and an ability to measure success for everything along the way. Larger B2C companies shouldn’t fall into the trap of doing something just because their competitors are. They need to be able to measure what they’re doing to justify their spend.

Attribution will continue to change and require more attention as additional channels for being exposed to and buying goods and services evolve. When your smart refrigerator re-orders your gluten-free bread for you the day before you run out, does the device get credit? Or the commercial you heard while watching your favorite re-run on Hulu? Or the Facebook Ad?

Wondering if you’re ready to realize all of the potential value from your digital spend? Please contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation on your digital marketing strategy and/or martech stack.