True or false: Myths about cross-channel attribution marketing

Over the next three years, more than 73% of brands plan to increase their marketing analytics spend in an attempt to understand the ubiquitous notion of attribution marketing, according to Forbes . Attribution, or cross-channel marketing is a relatively new trend that has taken the digital world by storm and attempts to assign value to each channel touch point your customers interact with across the purchase journey. You can learn more about what attribution marketing is and why it’s important for your business in our recent blog post, here. As our clients delve into this new discipline, we want to dispel a few common misconceptions about what attribution marketing can and cannot do so you can make the most of your analytics efforts.
Myth 1: Attribution can’t be accurately measured, so it can’t accurately forecast sales: It’s true that there are blind spots when trying to accurately measure attribution. When consumers switch between devices, are drawn to action by offline advertising efforts, or revisit digital content across a variety of channels before purchasing, it can be difficult to track their journey or assign an exact value to how those channels impacted their decision making process. But just because we can’t measure everything, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. Or accurate. Despite these shortcomings, attribution modeling still presents a more accurate picture than traditional analytics, which only assigns value to the first or last channel a customer touches. In this way, attribution takes us one step closer to perfection — even if we aren’t quite there yet.

Myth 2: Predictive models aren’t accurate enough: To that point: predictive modeling based on cross-channel attribution can be upwards of 80-90% accurate depending on your sample size and the type of data used to create a forecast model. While we may not have perfect models, testing can get us pretty close. Even at lower confidence intervals, attribution modeling provides directional insight into your customers’ behavioral patterns, purchase path, and communication preferences. All this information can inform other, more traditional tests with easily measured KPIs. No testing is completely accurate, or can guarantee that customers will always perform the same way given the same set of variables; but it can help marketers invest more money in the right channels at the right time to meet their customers’ needs.

Myth 3: Adaptive marketing and attribution marketing have nothing to do with each other: We’re always shocked at how infrequently cross-channel marketing is used as a tool to improve adaptive marketing. As automated testing and targeting becomes more common, adapted marketing helps businesses adjust their advertising spend on the fly as real-time data finds the perfect marketing mix. This automated fine-tuning process can be improved using attribution data to balance out your spend across channels. Adaptive marketing optimizes spend in each channel silo, while attribution marketing zooms out to optimize your entire marketing budget. Linking your data across channels is the number one challenge when using attribution to improve adaptive marketing, so work with your agency partner on the best ways to do this quickly and effectively.

Myth 4: Attribution marketing means you have to be everywhere at once: Today’s marketers feel a constant pressure to be everywhere at once. There are so many marketing tools — from print and television, to social media and PPC, to earned and event coverage — it’s hard to know how and when to spend. This can tempt even the best marketers to try to do a little bit of everything. The problem is that very few companies have the resources to be everywhere at once without breaking their budget or tanking their ROI. Attribution marketing decreases the pressure to be everywhere to everyone by helping you understand which channels are most valuable to your best clients and where your biggest areas of opportunity to invest are.

Myth 5: Attribution marketing is a digital term: Although cross-channel marketing is easiest to track between digital channels (i.e., email to social to lead capture, to close), it’s important to remember that offline influencers such as store promotions, merchandising, and traditional advertising can all influence customers to return to their devices or begin searching for your product for the first time. Instead of thinking of cross-channel marketing as a digital term, think of attribution marketing as a digital tool that transcends the physical world. We know…pretty deep, right? The offline channel is just as valuable as your online content when creating a holistic picture of your customer, so don’t fall into this classic attribution pitfall.

Myth 6: Assuming your agency is already doing this: Many clients think their agencies are already modeling attribution as part of the standard testing process. Unfortunately, this isn’t true.At BIGEYE, we are pioneering attribution data capture and testing because we believe it is one of the most powerful tools to help small- and medium-sized businesses spend their marketing dollars more intelligently. When choosing an agency partner, don’t assume they are aware of or have the tools to track this emerging trend. Contact us today about how we can help your business or how to know whether your current agency is the best fit.

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