Practical Advice for Attribution Engagements: Let Data Be Your Guide

Volume 2, Issue 5 - May, 2012

Jijo Pereppadan, Vice President of Client Solutions Engineering, Visual IQ

There is an old saying in business that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” But the reality is that not everything associated with success is measurable and some measurements can be inaccurate or misinterpreted. Even so, measurements are critical to providing business intelligence and, when used in conjunction with attribution modeling, have the potential to drive considerable increases to the bottom line.

Below are some practical recommendations to help you achieve the maximum results from your attribution management engagement.

Expect Some Data Inaccuracy

One of the first steps in the attribution process is to identify and collect marketing performance data from all the sources where it exists. But keep in mind that tracking individual behavior across disjointed media, the inaccuracy of blended data and cookie deletion will all lead to some degree of data loss. However, by establishing a performance baseline at the outset of your attribution engagement to compare your subsequent performance, you can still compare apples-to-apples results given each performance has the same amount of missing data. By accepting a reasonable margin of error from limitations or gaps in your data, it’s still possible to formulate accurate portrayals of events leading up to conversions and make informed decisions from the insights gained from this data.

Let the Data Guide You

Measuring marketing performance can be challenging when you are unable to identify the metrics that are truly important to achieving your business goals. But because the practice of attribution captures data attributes from every marketing touch that takes place during the persuasion process from awareness to conversion, it can help ease the overwhelming identification of meaningful data. This can be done by displaying any combination of multi-dimensional performance data at a glance via your attribution solution’s interface and enabling the quick modification of the variables that you are studying. There are two secrets in making this information actionable: first, instantly identify anomalies you see in the data, as these often point to under-performing or over-performing tactics and second, take advantage of the power of your attribution solution’s reporting functionality to sort, model, monitor, compare and drill down in order to satisfy your suspicions and intuition.

User-Centric Views

While using common views of your data is critical to making decisions, providing discretionary user-specific views of information will help your organization leverage each manager’s cognitive skills. CMOs do not give the same weight to certain information as channel managers or media buyers. Each has his or her own perspective, and when given the ability to manipulate their own view and level of data in an intuitive manner, they can gain significant insight. Utilizing user-specific views of the data helps to maximize its value.

Given Limited Time or Bandwidth

If your time or bandwidth is limited, ask yourself the following questions to prioritize investments in time/effort:

  • To what extent can a given metric/measurement provide a better understanding of your marketing performance?
  • How much value can be generated from an insight that’s gained through measurement, research and analysis relative to the cost associated with producing that insight?
  • How can metrics that are indicators of performance be linked with the goals through experimentation, validation research or benchmark measures?
  • Can you assess whether a particular analysis is objective enough that results are replicable and not overstated?
  • Finally, are there hidden costs that must be factored into the next projection?

Hopefully these practical tips from the “attribution trenches” will help you increase the return from your current or future attribution initiatives.

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