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Better Brand Marketing Through Attribution

Volume 5, Issue 4 - April, 2015

Yulia Altman, Client Partner, Visual IQ

Over the past few decades, the number of options available to marketers to reach their target audiences has grown exponentially, but so has the pressure to justify the money spent. The proliferation of digital media, with its innate ability to track every action and measure every response, has created a whole new level of accountability within marketing organizations and given birth to data-driven, analytically savvy marketers who have to operate under strict and measureable goals and generate a positive return on ad spend (ROAS). However, these demands have so far mainly affected direct response teams. Brand marketers, have, to an extent, been operating under a different set of rules, relying on softer metrics such as reach, brand awareness, and share of voice to measure effectiveness. The fear of losing something that cannot be easily quantified keeps advertisers lobbying for big investments in branding efforts, yet tightening budgets are posing new challenges.

Advanced marketing attribution has proven to be a very powerful tool for measuring direct response efforts beyond the last click, helping advertisers grow their revenue and improve ROAS. But now it’s time for advertisers to take a closer look at using attribution to quantify the impact of brand marketing and supplement traditional metrics with more precise, hard results. Here are a few ways that attribution modeling can be applied to unlock brand-focused insights:

Drive New Visitors
Measuring brand media effectiveness purely by reach and site traffic can potentially result in hitting the same audiences over and over again. But attracting new website visitors through display advertising and other online initiatives is a key component in most marketing strategies, and attribution can help uncover which combinations of tactics (channel, publisher, placement, creative, offer, etc.) are most effective in driving new prospects to your site. By narrowing your measurement criteria to look specifically at new website visitors, and finding the best tactics to achieve that goal, you can not only improve brand awareness, but also expand the top of the funnel for mid- and lower-funnel tactics to close the deal.

Focus on Quality
Getting visitors to your site who briefly browse and abandon can result in a lot of wasted spend. Brand marketers need to evaluate those visitors based on a relevant set of site behavior criteria, which indicate a certain level of consideration. For example, high value site engagements, such as subscribing to a newsletter or a loyalty program, submitting an email address for future contact, or interacting with specific site features all serve as excellent proxies for consideration. Once you determine your site engagement metric, attribution can provide insight into how the investments you’ve made across tactics like display, affiliate marketing, paid search, etc., stack up against each other based on their ability to drive highly qualified prospects, so you can better allocate your budget.

Measure Revenue/ROAS
Many brand marketers hesitate to look at lower-funnel metrics, such as sales. Yet they inherently believe that they are contributing to the bottom line. Looking at the revenue implications of upper-funnel brand impressions does not have to replace all the other brand media measurement metrics you are currently using, but can complement them to create a more complete picture. While the ROAS of your branding efforts may not be close to that of a mid-funnel prospecting or retargeting campaign, it will give you a new baseline for your measurable impact on revenue and enable you to invest in opportunities that are strongly correlated to higher returns.

Marketers typically look at attribution management and the value it provides an organization in direct response terms. But for the growing number of professionals responsible for moving the needle on brand metrics, attribution can be a valuable analytics and optimization solution.

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