How Marketers Can Generate More Returns With Attribution

How Marketers Can Generate More Returns With Attribution
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As attribution grows in importance in Australia, advertisers are looking for guidance on successful attribution models worldwide. But it is worth remembering that attribution models are only as good as the data that powers them, argues Lauren Evans, Regional Marketing Partner Asia Pacific & Japan at Kenshoo.

Local advertisers, therefore, need to make sure their data strategy is aligned to make attribution work for them. This is where technology can help.

Many advertisers in Australia and the broader APAC region still use the last-click model, as this is the standard when using any particular channel (such as Facebook or Google AdWords) directly. Marketers have been using this model for years, and have considered it a clear way to give credit to ads based on what happened just prior to purchase.

However, as the attribution conversation finds its way into the broader business context, it’s time to consider more holistic models to measure the monetary impact of each advert on business goals such as sales, customer retention, and revenue.

A Forrester Consulting report commissioned by Kenshoo indicates that a little experience can go a long way and, as a marketer, you can develop your understanding quickly. We have seen similar results in Australia, with many of our local clients moving to more sophisticated attribution models which apportion a percentage of the conversion credit to previous touch points in the customer’s journey, and not just the last click.

One of our regional insurance clients has been able to not only increase conversions but also boost sales revenue through applying the U-shaped model to its search and social campaigns. This model gives 40 per cent of the credit to the last click, 40 per cent to the first click and then splits up all the remaining credit evenly among all other ads clicked on the path to conversion.

Doing so allows our client to give credit more accurately to the two most valuable channels in its marketing strategy: the one that starts the opportunity and the one that closes it. This data is automatically actioned in Kenshoo at the ad level and bids are adjusted based on conversion data that now reflects a more accurate picture of the customer journey.

Other marketers in the region are implementing dynamic attribution. A hotel brand, for instance, is utilising this type of sophisticated attribution to become more adaptive. Dynamic models automatically adjust based on algorithmic calculations, creating a unique value allocation for each interaction in any given conversion path based on factors like causality and loyalty. In other words, the model answers the questions ‘Was this a repeat customer’ and ‘What was the likelihood the sale would have happened without each ad in the process’. This might sound daunting, but in reality it’s quite simple as you let the technology do all the work.

Despite growing awareness about attribution in Australia, many organisations are still finding themselves stuck with traditional and less-effective models. Increased pressure to understand the return on marketing spend has moved the attribution discussion higher in the priority list, but many times these discussions don’t move past just that — a discussion.

Often the problem with implementing new models lies in the fear of the unknown. This fact has been backed up in the Forrester report indicating that the biggest hurdle preventing marketers implementing attribution is the confidence of colleagues.

One of the ways we have found to overcome this is to take a test and learn approach. Technology providers can help you continually refine the model, potentially using the divide-equally attribution model until the true value of all interactions for your specific organisation can be accurately assessed. The good news is that marketers no longer have to rely on reports after the fact — you can now take action immediately, optimising based on current data.

Another major consideration when talking about attribution is cross-channel attribution. This is key with any customer-centric marketing strategy. Many local and global organisations turn to their existing relationships for guidance either directly or through their agency. This can be highly recommended but depending on the provider, the objectiveness of spending recommendations can be a challenge when the measurer is also a media provider.

“Firms may be avoiding bringing on an attribution technology because of onboarding costs or because they don’t want to manage another marketing technology, turning instead to existing relationships for guidance. Objectiveness of spending recommendations, however, is the challenge when the measurer is also a media provider,” explained a Forrester Consulting report commissioned by Kenshoo.

Getting started

One of the easiest ways to get started with attribution is to implement tracking tags. The Kenshoo tag will allow you to track all the major online channels — including search, social and display — in a privacy-compliant manner. Data collection can be done on an individual level and has tremendous advantages over traditionally aggregated data, allowing marketers the flexibly to assume not all consumers behave in the same way. The Forrester report indicates that marketers are tracking as many as 18 channels as part of their attribution efforts.

Marketers should be aware that getting attribution right is an ongoing process that will need constant tweaks, but the return is worthwhile for both the marketing organisation and the broader business goals. For one our clients in the travel sector, an increase in revenue of more than 80 per cent was achieved by using advanced attribution tied to automated bidding through Kenshoo.

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