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6 Factors to Consider When Selecting an Attribution Solution

August 28, 2018 - By Ginna Hall, Senior Writer, Nielsen Visual IQ

6 Factors to Consider When Selecting an Attribution Solution

Marketers now create and consume more data than ever and we’re under greater pressure to prove ROI. Multi-touch attribution has emerged as the answer to these two challenges.

The premise underlying this measurement approach is that by assigning credit to each touchpoint that impacted a particular outcome, you can understand and adjust your marketing to get the best results.

Multi-touch attribution evolved from the need to unravel the tangled customer journey. It offers a level of sophistication that goes far beyond the capabilities of website analytics and marketing automation platforms. It also offers information at a faster cadence and level of granularity that complements the strategic-level insights of marketing mix modeling (MMM).

An investment in multi-touch attribution has the potential to transform your results. Using a solution that is appropriate for your business needs and level of marketing spend can:

  • Give you a holistic picture of all marketing and advertising, reaching all consumers, across channels and devices.
  • Show you the attributes of the consumers being exposed to your marketing and advertising.
  • Reveal which channels and devices consumers use to interact with your brand.
  • Allow you to measure the performance and impact of your marketing and advertising by audience.
  • Help you determine the best way to allocate spend and optimize budgets within and across channels.
  • Let you create coordinated, relevant, personalized consumer experiences.

Understanding Differences Between Solutions Can Be Difficult

Selecting the right attribution vendor is challenging for a number of reasons. There are misconceptions in the market about the terms “measurement” and “attribution.” There are multiple measurement models and differing opinions about which model is best for which use.

The industry is also maturing as new players enter the market and others depart, which has created some confusion about approaches. Experts have noted that Visual IQ’s acquisition by Nielsen (and Convertro by Oath and Adometry by Google 360) signals that multi-touch attribution is moving from its early years to validation by big players.

Understanding the differences between attribution solutions is difficult when each vendor claims to offer the most comprehensive. In response to this, some companies choose to build their own, cobbling together data sources and platforms into home-grown measurement practices.

Without a doubt, an investment in attribution is significant -- both in terms of time, money and effort. Implementing a solution properly takes careful planning and awareness of common hurdles.

To be successful, you need to take a long-term view -- to be mindful of how you approach your initial selection and aware of how the project will be rolled out.

>> For tips for a successful implementation, read: From the Front Lines: 8 Best Practices for Implementing Multi-Touch Attribution or download the ebrief.

Six Critical Factors

With that in mind, here are six factors to consider when evaluating an advanced multi-touch attribution solution:

1. Accuracy

You Need: The ability to allocate fractional credit to granular marketing dimensions (keyword, creative, placement, etc.)

Questions to Ask: Does the platform measure the appropriate channels? Does it turn interactions between channels into actionable insights? Are results unified or in silos, which won’t reveal performance across channels accurately? Does the solution automatically ingest new channels, campaigns, and creatives as they are added to your marketing mix without requiring significant re-trafficking?

2. Frequency

You Need: The ability to measure results and optimize channels in near real-time

Questions to Ask: How fast is data ingestion and analysis? How often is the model refreshed? Can the solution measure the appropriate channels and translate cross-channel influence into actionable insights while campaigns are in-flight?

3. Granularity

You Need: The ability to understand performance and optimize within channels at all levels of granularity

Questions to Ask: Is data collected at the most granular level? Is the data collection process compatible with your current business processes? Is the taxonomy flexible and customizable? Will it align with my organization’s unique structure? Is your solution media agnostic? Does it allow access to data from media partners while remaining independent of them?

4. Audience Identification

You Need: The ability to track and measure activity at the individual level via persistent user IDs

Questions to Ask: Does the platform accurately track the consumer journey and de-duplicate it across channels. devices and tactics? Are customer identities resolved into unique, trackable IDs? Is the platform able to assign credit for a KPI event (e.g., conversion, lead, etc.) to one or more touchpoints by audience segment?

5. Speed

You Need: The ability to react quickly and shift budgets and strategy when the market shifts and consumer behavior changes

Questions to ask: What speed is ideal for you act on optimization insights? Does the pace of the data match the cadence of your organization? How easy is it to update data in the platform frequently?

6. Automation

You Need: The ability to use algorithmic modeling to move levers consistently, on a daily basis

Questions to Ask: Is data ingestion automated? Does the platform use objective, statistical modeling and machine-learning techniques to predict outcomes to help you plan or optimize future marketing efforts? Can you simulate marketing scenarios in a virtual environment before making changes to your real-life programs?

New Measurement for the Digital Era

At a time when marketers are increasingly held accountable for demonstrating marketing success, any multi-touch attribution solution is better than siloed channel measurement or no measurement at all. But you need to choose the best model for your unique business needs; one that will arm you with insight into the consumer journey that you didn’t have before.

Ultimately, deciding which multi-touch attribution solution is right for you comes down to your goals, business requirements and how you want to use the output to improve the effectiveness of your marketing.

Learn More

Download our ebrief 8 Best Practices for Implementing Multi-Touch Attribution to learn more about how to execute a successful attribution strategy.

Request a Demo

Learn how Nielsen's Visual IQ platform can help you optimize your marketing and advertising performance by audience segment: Request a demo today

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