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 May 14, Acxiom announced its intention to acquire LiveRamp, a "data onboarding service," to the tune of $310 million in cash. Several Forrester analysts (Fatemeh Khatibloo, Susan Bidel, Sri Sridharan, and I) cover these two firms, and what follows is our collective thinking on the impending acquisition after having been briefed by Acxiom's leadership on the matter.
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.
The end of a quarter forces me to reflect on what I learned in regards to my coverage area: measurement and attribution. From customer insights (CI) pros and marketers, I saw an increased interest in advancing their measurement approaches. On the attribution front, there is an appetite to learn about specific methodologies, use cases, ongoing attribution management strategies, and attribution applications to marketing/media buys. On the vendor side, I saw more advancement in tools, approaches, and offline and mobile data integration. I predict attribution — and general consumer and marketing measurement — will continue to be a hot topic for marketers and CI professionals well into 2014. Specifically, I expect to see more attribution adoption and usage of attribution to measure customer purchase paths and to learn more about customer behaviors and motivations.
In the meantime, let me recap the Q3 2013 measurement takeaways:
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.