Five Lies About Marketing Attribution to Guard Against

Volume 4, Issue 4 - April, 2014

By Al Ameen Sherfuddeen, Senior Account Manager, Visual IQ

As strategically important as marketing attribution is for your business, it can also be a minefield of misinformation. Here are some of the lies about attribution that you may confront, and the real truth behind them.

Lie #1: Attribution is only for advertisers with three or more channels in their marketing mix.

Truth: Over reliance on last click measurement has pushed some marketers to spend predominantly on search, and to believe that more sophisticated attribution models aren’t worth the time or investment, especially when you only leverage a few channels as part of your marketing mix. In truth, attribution can be used to analyze as few as two marketing channels (such as how online display exposures influence subsequent searches for, and purchases of, a product or service), or to measure and optimize performance across an entire marketing ecosystem, including both online and offline channels.

Lie #2: Attribution ends when your marketing dashboards are ready.

Truth: Some marketers equate attribution to tracking multi-channel performance via a marketing dashboard and running timely performance reports, not realizing that the insights garnered from attribution mean nothing if they don’t lead to actionable changes in budget, strategy and/or channel mix. The efficiency gains from marketing attribution are only realized once the insights it produces are translated into actual media spend recommendations and put to work in market.

Lie #3: Marketing attribution is a one-time project.

Truth: Attribution is a not a one bullet, one shot game. It uses a number of factors in order to make its recommendations, including the conversion window, look-back period, seasonality, interdependencies, touchpoint attributes, spend biases, output conversions, and more. Each of these variables changes with time and affects the resulting recommendations that contribute to maximum value when implemented, making marketing attribution an iterative process in pursuit of an ever-moving target rather than one-time project.

Lie #4: The attribution model is to blame when the going gets tough.

Truth: Many marketers give up on attribution after the first round, failing to recognize that their years of flawed and inaccurate measurement need to be undone. When it comes to implementing and adopting marketing attribution, most roadblocks occur due to an inflexible organizational structure, a slow plan of action, and/or a lack of leadership required for successful adoption—not because of the inaccuracy or unreliability of the model itself. Scientifically advanced attribution models constantly self-adjust based on new incoming data, resulting in increasingly more accurate optimization recommendations and predictions of future marketing performance. Likewise, marketers must also continually adjust to organizational and logistical changes in order for attribution to be implemented and executed properly.

Lie #5: Marketing attribution is a “nice to have” not a “must have.”

Truth: This is a sound strategy if your competitors think the same way. Marketing attribution is not a calculated risk but proven science that drives a 15-35% average increase in media efficiency. The longer you wait to implement attribution, the longer you delay utilizing more accurate marketing measurement and media buying recommendations, and the further you fall behind your competitors who are already using attribution to optimize their own performance.

Learn more about how Visual IQ empowers brand marketers and their agency partners with advanced marketing attribution.

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