Just Published: The Forrester Wave: Cross-Channel Attribution Providers

Marketers and CI professionals frequently tell us that they want a better measurement technique to accurately determine the true performance of channels and customers. I am pleased to announce that today we published The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Attribution Providers, Q2 2012.  This vendor review is a result of countless hours of vendor reviews and assessments, in-person briefing reviews, customer calls, fact checking, and countless hours of intensive research work.

After long days and countless Starbuck lattes, I crawled out of this very intense research process, and a few key takeaways emerged:
  • Companies are investing in attribution. Marketers are seeking expert advice for the best ways to measure their channels with more precision. Attribution approach can provide a more concise way of measuring true channel and customer performance. And that’s something organizations are hungry for. To do this, they need help developing attribution models and making sense of all their data.
  • Cross- channel attribution is a relatively immature market. Vendors have fairly immature cross-channel attribution offerings. Most continue to emphasize digital attribution but are rapidly expanding to include additional channels, while also developing future marketing scenario-planning capabilities.
  • Marketers want real-time, accurate results that will drive their marketing strategies. Because marketers struggle with understanding the true performance of channels, they lack visibility into where to make the proper marketing investments. By employing an attribution approach, organizations can better understand how their offline and online channels are really affecting the bottom line. Once they understand what's driving revenue, firms can provide recommendations on where brands should invest their dollars.

 For even more research on attribution, my colleague Ari Osur, who serves the Interactive Marketing role, has also published The Forrester Wave™: Interactive Attribution Vendors, Q2 2012, which reviews the state of providers that handle attribution across digital specific channels. Ari and I collaborated throughout the process, and while there is some overlap in the vendors taking part, the two reports are evaluated and written for different roles. The cross-channel report is written for CI professionals and puts a premium on customer-centric insights. Like all Forrester Wave™ reports, readers of either report can download vendor scorecards and customize the weightings to reflect their own needs. 

Clients should note that this space is changing at a fast pace. Vendors are quickly enhancing their attribution offerings to include scenario planning, media buying recommendations, and growing their offline capabilities. Additionally, more and more players are entering this landscape, each with its own unique approach to cross-channel attribution. In the next 12 to 18 months, we expect to see an even more robust attribution measurement landscape, with dashboard and predictive modeling enhancements, and full integration with other marketing technologies. Cross-channel attribution measurement will be essential in the marketer's tool kit. I am excited to see the anticipated growth in the marketing measurement services landscape and the role that cross-channel attribution will play.
And to my research team — thank you for your support throughout this process!


Great research. Regarding the

Great research. Regarding the immaturity of cross channel attribution solutions, I have found the same thing. Call tracking companies, for instance, track offline conversions to on or offline marketing channels, but the reporting and aggregation of the data provided by call tracking is usually not as useful as it could be because it only tracks a 1 to 1 correlation of a campaign to phone calls. The cross channel insight is left to the marketer to analyze and surmise. We need tools that will not only gather the data, but make sense of it in a way that is useful to strategic decision making. This would take a step out of the testing and customer intelligence gathering process.

Thanks for your thoughts...

Mike, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree, there is much work to be done in this new measurement space and I firmly believe over the next 18 months, it will change how CI and Marketers measure marketing and customers insights. More importantly, it will drastically change Marketers media buying power. To your second point, marketers and CI pros. should overlay their attribution findings with their own company and industry nuances-such as unique challenges in a specific channel, how their sales organization operates and how new, emerging channels interactions are growing in their organization. That type of information and insight cannot be measured through attribution, but it's an valuable additive that will round out your insights.

Difference between interactive attribution vs. cross channel ?

Hi Tina, whats the difference between your Wave and Ari's Osur's interactive attribution wave?
Aren't the two just part of the same continuum (including offline vs digital channels only)?

Can you please elaborate?


CC and Interactive Attribution Response...

Hi Pranav-thanks for the note.

The Cross-Channel Attribution Wave focuses on incorporating both online and offline channels. This approach is relevant for organizations with both digital and traditional marketing efforts. The Interactive Attribution Wave solely focuses on digital channels--display, search, email, social-and is very relevant for digital centric organizations.

And as you may know, Forrester provides research for specific roles within an organization. The CC Wave is written specifically for CI professionals, so the research has strong emphasis on data management and collection, attribution methodology and insights derived from attribution. The interactive attribution wave is specifically written for the interactive marketer, who's focus is on not only on digital channel performance, but media buying and placement and digital investments.

I hope that provided some clarification. Let me know if you have further questions!