Learning from Attribution’s Past to Decide Your Attribution Future

27th September 2018 - 7 minutes read  Data & Analytics
Mike Calleja - Senior Account Manager

At Found, we’re long-standing believers in attribution, and how it can be used to unlock benefits for our clients. With the advent of Google Attribution and the possibilities that it brings, we are definitely living in exciting times that allow us to seamlessly measure how online channels are performing across the entire user journey.

However, there is a lot of merit in looking at attribution’s past, as it can help explain:

  1. How the digital marketing industry is currently using attribution
  2. How to use attribution for maximum results

The history of attribution can been deconstructed using a series of statements:

The attribution space is fragmented.”

In 2013, Google did not have an attribution offering. There were industry leaders such as DC Storm, Visual IQ and Convertro who purely focused on attribution with their own standalone solutions.

These companies also offered specialised servicing and consultancy that made even the most sophisticated, powerful attribution solutions accessible and usable for most businesses.

Fast forward to 2018: all three of these examples have been acquired, and in the case of DC Storm and Convertro, they have been taken off the market entirely. For businesses who have used a dedicated attribution solution previously, and who received the technology and consultancy to achieve this, a big obstacle has been created that to this day is still prevalent in the industry.

However, the good news is that Google Attribution will make significant headway in creating a single solution that, even in its free guise, will be well integrated enough to give you insights that are reliably informed, and that you can easily convert into actions.

“Attribution is being constantly re-defined.”

Never has attribution been spoken about so much before – there is a huge buzz at the moment. But is this a good or a bad thing?
Agencies, affiliate publishers, martech and an array of companies, are coming out with their own new attribution solutions. There have since been small, independent attribution start-ups that hope to pick up where previous independents had left off.
But the main issue is that there are currently too many versions of what attribution actually is. And because there are no standardised principles of attribution, and not many ‘thought leaders’ in the digital marketing space, there seems to be a whole lot of confusion.

The risk that this poses, is that the concept of attribution is being used solely to re-enforce a positive outcome, or positive performance point – not to give a ‘best view’ of your marketing performance. This flies in the face of what attribution is truly for!

“The full potential of attribution is still not understood across the industry.”

As previously stated, there are too many versions of what attribution is, which makes it hard enough for businesses to get a full understanding of what it can do for them. Often attribution sits alongside endless projects, day-to-day tasks and business efficiencies that need implementation, and as a result it doesn’t have its own voice. When this is the case, it’s not difficult to see why “Last click will do for now” is often a position taken by many businesses.

The reality is, measurement isn’t the only thing that you can do with attribution! It can be used in conjunction with pretty much anything.

Some possible scenarios:

Budget: There are PPC keywords that perform well in the middle of converting user journeys. If this is the case, the budget can be increased incrementally for those keywords to see if there’s been a positive effect on overall marketing performance.

CRO: Recent changes were made on an eCommerce site that caused organic search performance to suffer across the whole user journey. The impact of this can be hidden on a last click basis, if that’s where your organic traffic is most regularly appearing in user journeys.

Cross-domain attribution: Users who are donating to a charity are actually making multiple interactions on the web shop before making a donation. You could setup aggressive bid targeting for users who browse the web shop, so that visitors could donate on-site.

These scenarios apply before we even consider the impact of being able to measure online and offline interactions with your business; Google is already making strides towards this, by working towards consolidating its offline store visit user data into online marketing measurement data.

Conclusion

With the onset of Google Attribution now is arguably a very good time to consider your attribution options, and how you could best apply them to your business.
On that note, these are the top three principles for how to gain the most success out of attribution:

  • Build attribution into your day-to-day marketing mentality. Even if you’re still not able to utilise multi-channel attribution, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep it in the forefront of your marketing psyche for when your business is ready to move to this form of measurement.
  • Become inquisitive about what attribution is capable of, even if you are using it already. By doing this, you will be able to truly understand what attribution can do for you.
  • Always question the provenance of a source’s attribution viewpoint. Is the viewpoint well researched – and do they have your best interests at heart?

Found can help maximise your ability to measure your marketing performance by allowing you to gain your own understandings of what attribution really is. And we’ll aim to give you a great start in preparing for your attribution future by teaching you about the past first.

If you want to chat to one of our specialists about attribution or anything else related to your digital marketing efforts, get in touch here.