How Statistics Point the Way to Attribution Success
Over the last 5 years, statistics relevant to marketing attribution have provided a roadmap for successful implementation. In fact, some of the most common challenges to accurate measurement and profitable optimization can be resolved by following a few simple guidelines. Marketing attribution, specifically cross-channel, full-funnel multi-touch attribution, drives astounding returns for brands today. Now is a perfect time to begin accurately measuring (and optimizing) the marketing mix using a mature set of technology processes.
76% of all marketers say they currently have, or will have in the next 12 months, the capability to use marketing attribution.1
86% of CMOs and senior marketing executives believe they'll own the full end-to-end customer experience by 2020.2
From 2016-2021, the percent of MTA adoption among businesses has remained steady with about 50-60% in use or planning to adopt in 6 months.3
Prioritize Core Attribution Functions
Recent figures reveal a broad push across businesses to implement multi-touch attribution (MTA) or other types of attribution. Now that MTA is no longer novel, brands seldom face challenges from the core components of marketing attribution.
However, today marketing attribution comes in dozens of flavors, many of which are far removed from the core omnichannel full-funnel MTA. As a result, businesses may use a partial attribution platform or specialty attribution app that falls far short of measuring, much less optimizing, a full marketing mix. Today, attribution functions are found in CRM solutions (e.g., HubSpot), web analytics packages (e.g., Google Analytics 4), specialty channel-specific platforms (e.g., CallRail), or full marketing platforms that include features from digital ad management to SEO.
What’s wrong with these platforms? Nothing. Each has a specific target and need to meet. However, if you want to accurately measure and optimize an omnichannel marketing mix, first ensure the platform achieves these basic, yet holistic, requirements:
- Capture all customer-brand interactions from first awareness to conversion and/or revenue in every relevant channel
- Tie brand and customer metadata to the captured user-event
- Provide a method for querying the dataset to uncover insights and optimize the mix
With these core functions, brands can tie all marketing elements to revenue, measure ROAS of each channel or touchpoint in the journey, and optimize for double-digit increases in ROI. With these requirements in place, solutions can then venture into additional features such as lead scoring, fraud prevention, and automation.
25% of marketers cited organizational and structural challenges as the No.1 reason they haven't adopted data-driven attribution.4
When marketing and sales teams can coordinate their activities effectively, they enjoy 36% higher conversion rates and 38% higher sales rates.5
Start with Known KPI Alignments
With or without attribution, organizational alignment affects brand success. However, once shared attribution data exists, all business teams are using the same source of record for value creation. Comprehensive attribution data demonstrates how each marketing and sales touch impacts revenue, across every interaction, landing page, or sales call.
Begin with known and understood metrics. For example, if the brand uses several contact forms to initiate sales engagement, tying these to CRM revenue data for closed deals can connect value in sales and marketing. Similarly, tying the user-event data from each form submission to all the user-event data that proceeds will illuminate the specific parameters that help define de facto SQLs for sales. The sales team can see the patterns that consistently occur before their best leads. The marketing team can optimize elements to ensure these touchpoints increase.
By tracking every customer-brand touchpoint, the entire set of revenue-producing activities are tracked consistently to a unified dataset for queries, sorts, filters. Journey data will enlighten (and align) social media staff, SEO, paid media team, in addition to sales.
Omni Channel Mixes
Studies show that it takes an average of 6-8 touchpoints to generate a lead.6
The average customer uses 10 channels to communicate.7
Capture Cross-Channel Touches
If a marketing mix meets the customers where they are across channels, accurate measurement demands omni-channel full-path multi-touch attribution (MTA). With unified tracking, there is no reason to omit a channel or touchpoints. Only by including all a brand’s channels, can a solution generate accurate insights and optimize the marketing mix to increase ROI.
Many partial attribution solutions can seem aligned with a brand's preferred channels or dominant campaigns. But the tracking of individual brand interactions should include all cross-channel contacts in order to analyze customer journeys, calculate ROAS, and optimize for increased return and reduced waste.
Nearly half of all content marketers are challenged to measure channels consistently.8
Moreover, cross-channel measurement often requires a combination of proprietary and third-party solutions (29%), with 19% using at least 2-3 solutions to measure each channel.9
Capture Data at the Source
Because businesses use different tools to market in different channels, measurement is often siloed within each channel. Ad platforms each have their own management and reporting. Moreover, different types of channels drive unique metrics: sentiment and followers in social media, watch time and shares for video, bounce rate in web analytics, click-through rate (CTR) for search ads.
Point solutions or web analytics platforms provide attribution with limited data and potential bias. For example, both Google Ads and Google Analytics limit individual user data and view the journey through a Google-centric lens. When customers visit multiple paid channels, each channel platform may claim the conversion, in effect double-counting the sale. As a result, performance cannot be easily compared or measured accurately.
With today's technology, there is no need to rely on siloed, disconnected channel measurement.
Rather than relying on opaque or biased conversion data, true attribution should capture user events in real time at the source, not from an ad platform API or data export. When all brand-customer interactions are captured consistently, the same parameters and dimensions can be used to calculate KPIs. The resulting data unification creates a clear image of the customer journey, the relative performance of all marketing elements, and the most powerful optimization points.
|In 2023, CMOs most frequently measure marketing performance by sales and revenue (69%), followed by website and app performance, engagement, lead generation and lead conversion.10
Measure Revenue, then Revenue Drivers
The top CMO metric for marketing is revenue. Secondary performance metrics (brand KPIs) follow closely, and drive optimization and sales when tied to revenue. Businesses should begin with KPIs that are revenue-adjacent, not vanity measures several steps from revenue. For example, sentiment analysis or the number of reposts on social media may be interesting (and even meaningful), but pale when compared to the number of leads produced monthly per channel.
Moreover, even leads per channel must be tied to revenue to create performance insights. If Google Ads produces 10 leads, and Google Organic produces 5 leads, what revenue was created by each? If only one Google Ad lead becomes a purchase, but all of the organic ones do, you may need to increase SEO and content development resources.
Adopting full-path, full-funnel revenue attribution allows brands to focus on ROAS and overall ROI, focusing far less on CPC, CPM, or generic clicks.
McKinsey & Co. analysts … showed a typical range of 15% to 20% of marketing budgets could be reinvested in other activities or returned to the bottom line without losing marketing ROI … $200 billion of marketing spent annually could be put to better use.11
Research shows that marketers’ top priorities include optimizing the marketing mix for the best return and modernizing their tools and technologies.12
Reallocation Captures ROI
One of the easiest methods of capturing revenue left on the table is reallocating dollars and resources from low-performing marketing elements to those proven to be revenue drivers. Find what works, and amplify it. Find what doesn't work, and optimize it to match working elements or reallocate the funds to high-performing revenue-producing path elements.
In the example above, Google Ads is creating more leads (click-throughs to a filled contact form). However, organic is outperforming paid media. With detailed journey data, marketers can identify the specific ads and landing pages that do not produce revenue. By removing spends from non-performing ads and leveraging (multiplying) high-value landing page content, brands remove waste and increase sales.
Omni channel, full-funnel revenue attribution has reached a point of maturity. While many point and partial attribution platforms are popular, their inherent limitations prevent marketers from fully adopting a continuous optimization process. However, for brands ready to capture ROI from reallocation and further optimization of the marketing mix, now is a great time to adopt a responsive, aligned solution by following this basic guidance:
- Ensure the attribution solution provides the core functionality of queryable full user-event data across all relevant channels
- Drive alignment across departments by starting small, gaining sponsorship with early wins
- Use a consistent tracking and measurement mechanism at the source, across all channels and marketing elements
- Focus on revenue and revenue-adjacent metrics--tie every marketing element to revenue
- Amplify what works, and reallocate resources that don't perform
Brands no longer need to settle for the limitations of partial attribution. Instead, businesses can now close the loop from marketing to revenue with full-path multi-touch revenue attribution platforms such as Galileo.
1 Think With Google. Econsultancy/Google, U.S., "The Customer Experience Is Written in Data", (n=677 marketing and measurement executives at companies with over $250M in revenues, primarily in North America; n=199 leading marketers who exceeded top business goal in 2016, n=478 mainstream marketers), May 2017.
2 Think With Google. The Economist Intelligence Unit, “The path to 2020: Marketers seize the customer experience,” base: 499 chief marketing officers (CMOs) and senior marketing executives, global, 2016.
3 MMA. MTA Is Dead, Long Live MTA; MMA/Neustar, 2021
4 Think With Google. Advertiser Perceptions/Google, U.S., Measurement Survey, (n of 197 marketer and agency contacts who are fully involved in media brand selection decisions, Sept. 2017.
5 Adobe. Marketing Attribution – Models and Best Practices. Adobe Experience Cloud Team 2023.
6 Salesforce. Fergal Glynn. Why it Takes 6-8 Marketing Touches to Generate a Viable Sales Lead. SalesForce. The 360 Blog. 2015
7 Salesforce. State of the Connected Customer Report. 2023. Double-blind survey of 11,000 customers and 3,300 business buyers worldwide.
8 Statista. Largest B2C Content Marketing Challenges in North America as of July 2022.
9 Statista. Leading Approaches Used to Achieve Cross-Media Measurement among Marketers Worldwide as of December 2022.
10 Statista. Most frequently measured marketing metrics according to CMOs in the US as of February 2023.
11 McKinsey. Smart Analytics can tap up to 20% of lost ROI. 2013. Note analytics capablities were far less sophisticated 10 years ago. Current full-path attribution has been able to increase ROI over 1000%.
12 Salesforce. State of Marketing. Seventh Edition. 2021.
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