Blogged in collaboration with Rebecca McAdams, Research Associate, serving Customer Insights professionals.
Consumers are connected, constantly influenced by marketing messages, their friend’s social posts, blog posts, reviews, mobile messages, and Twitter posts. In fact, US Adults have an average of three connected devices. Consumers are leaving breadcrumbs of information behind, across multiple channels and devices. Marketers are jumping at the chance to connect with their customers through proactive marketing campaigns and even through non-marketing interactions. But which interactions actually drive impact? What interactions are responsible for sales conversions, and which interactions merely "assist" conversions? CI Pros and marketers are stumped; they must measure these complex interactions to help drive future marketing and media investments and to actually measure their marketing efforts.
By now, we know that attribution is essentially the answer to many marketers’ prayers: more accurate performance metrics, better cross channel insights, and a more informed marketing spend. While the benefits to attribution are clear, many CI pros and marketers still need to make the case for attribution. They need funding, and support from their executives. In light of this aversion to investing in attribution, the recent business case report, Measure the Impact of Cross-Channel Attribution, will help CI pros build the business case you need to convince executives that implementing cross-channel attribution is definitely worth the time, effort, and money. As you follow our guide to building the business case, you will cover all necessary bases by laying out the costs and benefits of attribution, while also planning for any possible risks you may run into along the way.
On the morning of May 6, 2014, Google announced its intent to acquire Adometry, a leader in the attribution technology space. Later on the same day, AOL announced its intent to acquire Convertro, another top-performing attribution technology vendor. The Adometry acquisition is not surprising, as Google needed to make major investments in its existing attribution offering with some enhanced analytics and insights services, which Adometry can provide. AOL’s acquisition of Convertro was a move to further build out its ad technology stack, hoping to obtain strong attribution algorithm and stellar engineering staff through this acquisition.
Both companies stand to benefit from the acquisition of these small but extremely knowledgeable experts in marketing and media measurement. Two of the biggest benefits for each include:
A strong services staff with deep knowledge of all media and marketing data and, more importantly, the expertise in driving actionable insights in a complicated media-buying world.
An innovative ability to stitch data sources together — online, offline, and mobile — across the buyer’s journey.
Last year, my colleague Srividya Sridharan published The State Of Customer Analytics 2012 (subscription required). Using the results of her annual customer analytics adoption survey, she uncovered key trends of how customer analytics practitioners use and adopt various advanced analytics across the customer life cycle and highlighted challenges and drivers associated with customer analytics.
This year, I have the pleasure of teaming up with Sri on her yearly survey, to further explore the adoption of advanced analytics, measurement, and attribution. Please read her blog post to learn more about the survey. This survey will explore the adoption and usage of measurement techniques, including attribution, and the adoption of advanced analytics methodologies. With this expanded survey we want to understand how you use and apply measurement and analytics in your organization to optimize both cross-channel marketing campaigns and customer programs.
In particular, we’re fielding questions to understand the goals and challenges associated with measurement and analytics, the adoption and application of measurement and advanced analytics methods, the use of several marketing and customer metrics, the customer insights process and workflow, and the organizational aspects that support measurement and analytics. We encourage you to participate in this survey, as this information will help you benchmark your measurement and analytics adoption efforts.
More news from Mountain View on Tuesday, where Internet powerhouse Google released the much-anticipated Data Driven Attribution (DDA) feature for its Premium users. The release of Google’s DDA approach comes as no surprise to the analytics and measurement community. The world of attribution measurement is constantly evolving and new attribution approaches, new players, and new tools regularly enter the market, enabling marketers to select the right attribution tool for their business needs. It was only a matter of time before Google released a persuasive, more advanced measurement offering.
First, the Data Driven Attribution feature is only available for Google Analytics Premium users. It has several notable features worth highlighting:
Google DDA’s approach is statistically driven methodology. Google’s DDA approach is a huge improvement over its rules-based Attribution Modeling tool (which is available for FREE for Google Analytics users). The DDA approach uses probability modeling to best estimate the values of each interaction. The approach itself is transparent, understandable, and Google is extremely open about how it calculates the value parameters.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in London and met some members of the Forrester Leadership Board (FLB) for Customer Insights (CI) professionals. I was eager to share my research on attribution measurement and (selfishly) get their point of view on measurement successes and challenges in Europe. Here are a few key takeaways from our CI colleagues across the pond:
Attribution measurement is a growing topic among European firms. When I met with the FLB members, I was delighted to learn that attribution is being widely adapted in most organizations, with the same challenges that we face in America. In fact, it seems that the firms I spoke with adapted attribution for quite a while, and they’re really looking to advance their attribution approach in the near future. Overall, they are making significant investments in the right data, resources, and tools to have a more sophisticated measurement approach.
Cross-channel attribution. For customer insights and marketing practitioners, attribution is a white hot measurement topic. It’s viewed as the best way to measure effectiveness of marketing and media campaigns; a way for firms to assess…truly assess… the value of the customer journey. For the past 18 months, I have been living and breathing this topic and today I am happy….no, I’m elated…to announce the official publication of the Cross-Channel Attribution Playbook.
What’s a playbook, you ask? Well, a playbook is a framework to help organizations develop expertise around a specific business topic. The Cross-Channel Attribution Playbook helps marketers and customer insights professionals to take strategic steps in building an attribution strategy within their organization. It includes 12 chapters, including an executive overview, which covers different aspects of developing and managing a cross-channel attribution measurement framework. The four “chapters” specifically help organizations:
The analytics community is experiencing a rebirth. A renewal. A renaissance. Why? Data is bursting from every corner, from every device, allowing brands to deliver relevant messages and offers to its customers. So, being an analytics connoisseur is important now more than ever. I mean, who else is going to play with all this data . . . and actually enjoy it?
Organizations must develop relevant marketing strategies across devices -- to different customers -- and have the advanced measurement and analytic frameworks to fuel decisions. And the perpetually connected customer is forcing organizations to act quickly, so near-real-time insights are paramount. My past research addresses this, specifically, how analytics professionals can use attribution as a way to understand the true value of each interaction point. This is even more complex because of the increase in cross-device usage. As a result,analytic pros are using savvy ways to connect information and to measure cross-device impact and incremental value.
Google recently announced, on Tuesday, plans to offer its Attribution Modeling Tool through Google Analytics via a public white list. The Attribution Modeling Tool was previously offered through the Google Analytics Premium product at an additional cost. The move to make its Attribution Modeling Tool available through Google Analytics for free indicates that Google is aggressively looking to extend its current analytics and measurement capabilities. Specifically, Google’s Attribution Modeling Tool allows users to:
Work with data they’re already tracking in Google Analytics. That means no additional setup or work for your IT department, marketing, or analytics groups. Flip the switch and you’re on. You can input and view values across channels, including affiliates, display ads, paid and organic search, and email.
Customize the attribution model. Google Attribution Modeling Tool provides either last-click or rules-based attribution models to their users. Google allows the user to have control of their attribution model, allowing the user to compare various models to each other, including the contributed value of channels, campaigns, and various other dimensions.
Access the Attribution Modeling Tool for FREE. We all love free things. All users have to do is sign up for the tool and the tool is available through the Google Analytics product. If you want more information about the tool, Google is hosting a webinar, which will give an overview of the capabilities.
As you may have read, I've just published a report entitled "Untangling the Attribution Web" (subscription required). In the course of researching that report, it became clear that, despite the many years of discussion surrounding what's commonly called "fractional attribution," there's still a dearth of organizations who have successfully implemented a measurement approach beyond legacy last-touch allocation methods. Financial services firms get close, especially those who are using marketing mix modeling. And a handful of retailers are executing a cross-channel attribution strategy, but many of them are still battling inconsistent metrics and channel conflict. So we found ourselves wondering why adoption of such a critical business initiative has stagnated.
As a result, we've created a very brief survey for attribution vendors and multichannel marketers to help us assess the current state of attribution. The survey will give us some visibility into the key challenges and opportunities surround attribution, and why its adoption is lagging. And, it will help guide our next report, wherein we'll provide an organization readiness assessment for attribution, and lay the framework for its successful implementation.
Please take five minutes to complete the survey; all responses are anonymous and only reported in aggregate. The next report will go live late this month or early in January, and participants will receive a copy of the published report.