Attribution & Audience, Online & Offline

Volume 2, Issue 2 - February, 2012

Anto Chittilappilly, Co-Founder, President & CTO, Visual IQ

Two common challenges faced by marketers wishing to perform attribution across their entire marketing ecosystem are 1) linking the offline marketing activity of consumers who are exposed to marketing efforts to their online activity so that attribution can be performed and 2) associating demographic information to converting consumers at the properly attributed level in order to draw an accurate picture of the value of particular audience segments and the mix of media tactics that produce them. So in keeping with the charter of the IQ Advisor, here are some best practices for addressing both of those common challenges, along with an explanation of how they can work hand-in-hand.

Linking Online and Offline Activity

Marketers know that a percentage of their consumers research online and buy offline (ROBO), and frankly, the reverse can be true as well – offline marketing messages can produce online conversions. A tried-and-true way to link the two is to provide an incentive to the consumer who either converts offline or is exposed to offline messaging to go online to identify himself as somehow associated with a transaction. An example is providing a free warranty if he goes online and enters an ID number given at the time of an in-store purchase to link the existing cookies from his online activity prior to the in-store purchase. The same can be done by sending a confirmation email as a result of a telesales purchase with some incentive to open the email.

By using techniques such as this, offline activities for an individual ID can be linked to the online media and behavioral history associated with the cookies of that same individual ID – empowering your attribution engine to function without the use of any personally identifiable information (PII).

Linking Audience to IDs

Speaking of individual IDs, as a marketer you have the ability to provide individual IDs to your clients and prospects (that are already associated with their online behavior), along with their PII (name and address) to data management platforms such as BlueKai, Axciom, and TARGUSinfo. Those vendors can then overlay demographic data from their databases onto those names/individual IDs and provide them back to you. Then, without providing any PII, you can hand the individual IDs of those consumers to your attribution partner, along with the newly-overlayed demographic information associated with the individual IDs, to enable your partner’s attribution engine to perform attribution at the audience segment level.

By using this technique you can determine which segments have the highest lifetime value, which have the highest propensity to convert and which online tactics produce those segments with the greatest efficiency.

The Best of Both Worlds

By utilizing BOTH of the best practices above, you’ll be able to draw a more complete and more accurate picture of the tactics (both online and offline) that produce your most valuable audience segments, as well as be able to evaluate the success of your marketing efforts by not only their performance against your media KPIs, but by audience KPIs as well. Start by linking online and offline activities to achieve the most immediate bang for your buck, and then work on overlaying audience information to take it to the next level.

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