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.
I am a measurement geek. I get great joy from analyzing data, measuring customer behavior, and assessing marketing campaigns. It’s something that I’ve done for years, across different organizations, agencies, and service providers. And that’s why I’m so interested in attribution measurement — it’s a data geek’s dream. Connecting data and unveiling the dimensions of customer behavior and interaction paths is fascinating; it provides an enormous amount of information about customers and prospects, their preferences, and how they want to interact with a brand.
However, attribution measurement requires more than just analyzing data. It requires coordination of lots of moving parts. Data needs to be connected; technologies need to communicate with each other; resources need to work together; and organizations need to agree on metrics and analysis standards. It’s not an easy task. And speaking from experience, attribution measurement is a long, complex journey.
My most recent report, “Are You Ready For Cross-Channel Attribution?,” enables organizations to score their attribution maturity across six core component areas: strategy, organization and resources, technology, data, analytics, and optimization. Once an organization tallies up its scores in each area, it can determine where it falls on the attribution maturity spectrum: novice, intermediate, proficient, or expert. This framework allows organizations to pinpoint their attribution strengths and determine attribution gaps. Also, the framework provides organizations with specific recommendations on what attribution-related tasks they need to focus on to become experts.
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.
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.
As a new analyst at Forrester, I’m taking over coverage of cross-channel attribution, metrics, and measurement for customer intelligence professionals. It is a wide-spanning topic to cover, but I’m up for the challenge!
One of the major topics that I’ll cover is cross-channel attribution. Cross-channel attribution is essentially an advanced measurement approach to measure channel performance and customer performance metrics more accurately by calculating the true credit given to a specific marketing effort that leads to a desired customer action. It’s a daunting task for marketers because it requires organizational support and a deep understanding of attribution modeling.
For support, marketers often turn to external vendors — the subject of my latest research: Understanding the Cross-Channel Attribution Landscape. As I was researching this report, it was clear that cross-channel attribution is top of mind for marketers and CI folks alike. Why? It’s a more advanced, precise way to measure channel and customer performance. In an age of austerity that requires responsible and efficient marketing investment, it’s no wonder that it’s a priority.