As marketers, it is essential to know how to assign credit to the proper campaign. Without proper attribution, you have little way to know whether the dollars you are spending on a television commercial, print ad or other efforts are providing you with the necessary return.
In the "olden days," giving credit where it was due was relatively simple. The order form that customers mailed in carried a code that identified the magazine ad or catalog that had generated the sale. When ordering by telephone, customers gave an extension number that identified the commercial they had seen or heard. Discount codes or coupons could be tied to specific campaigns.
Today, however, your marketing efforts span a variety of online and offline channels. Your customers may receive your message from a number of different sources, any one of which might spur them to take action. With so many touch-points, how can you give proper attribution?
In reality, many companies are not even trying. According to a February 2015 survey by eMarketer, 38 percent of the respondents reported that they had no type of attribution model in place. Another 21 percent stated that they gave equal credit to all touch-points, 19 percent gave full credit only to the final touch-point, and 15 percent credited the lead source.
With all of the buzz surrounding metrics and analytics, why are marketers having so much trouble with cross-channel attribution? True, accurate attribution spanning all channels is not a walk in the park for novices. It requires new models and modern methods that can stand up to the complexities involved. However, many marketers are hindering their own efforts by believing some widely circulated myths about cross-channel attribution. Here are the most common such myths — and the truth about them.
1. Myth: Attribution is just for digital channels.
There was a time when cross-channel attribution focused almost exclusively on the digital channels. After all, assigning attribution for offline channels was much less difficult. Today, however, you need to include both offline and online channels to get a complete picture of your customer's purchase journey. Furthermore, it can help you account for more than just the lead or the conversion. The analytics can help you understand how the actions of your competitors or current weather conditions could be impacting your business.
2. Myth: Predictive models are little more than guesswork.
It is true that you can have a bad model, or that the people interpreting the data may lack the expertise to provide you with any meaningful insight. However, a combination of the best models and highly competent people can provide accurate projections in approximately 80 percent of the scenarios.
3. Myth: Mix modeling and attribution cannot be integrated.
In reality, these technologies are already being integrated to replace outdated planning and analysis stages. The result is adaptive marketing that can offer a more granular connection with customers and alter how marketing messages are delivered.
4. Myth: I do not have sufficient data to justify attribution attempts.
Naturally, the more data you have, the better your accuracy will be. However, anything is better than nothing, and you can always engage a third-party provider to furnish you with the data that you lack.
5. Myth: Cross-channel attribution includes a great deal of data that is duplicated or otherwise irrelevant.
Again, it all comes down to the quality of your attribution technology. Although some low-end processes can include overlooked media or "cookie stuffing," the better ones can filter the results to ensure that only what is relevant ends up being counted.
6. Myth: My consulting firm or agency is already handling cross-channel analytics for me.
Consulting firms and agencies are a far cry from attribution providers. As of 2015, if you were to make a list of all cross-channel attribution providers in the world, you would not find the name of a single marketing consulting firm or agency on that list.
In today's competitive economy, the pressure is on for marketers to measure, quantify and justify their efforts. Cross-channel analytics can help you meet the challenges you face and move your company forward.