3 Use Cases for Multi-Touch Attribution in the Digital Era

October 4, 2018 Ginna Hall

Does your marketing team work in silos? Do different groups use different data sources or work toward different key performance indicators? Do they operate on different cadences? Is there a lack of communication across teams?

If so, you’re not alone. We call this problem the “new digital divide.” The new digital divide is the chasm between traditional and new ways of marketing effectiveness.

Twenty years ago, Google introduced search engine marketing and brought us greater reach than ever before. Since then, LinkedIn (2002), Twitter (2007), Snapchat (2011) and more have changed the ecosystem with social media.

In 2007, the launch of the iPhone shifted the power dynamic between consumers and brands forever. And in 2009, real-time bidding (RTB) upended how online display advertising is bought and sold.

Brands moved from print, radio and TV to an increasing array of channels. Instead of a one-way funnel from brand to consumer, the era of the conversation has begun. Innovative devices and platforms have splintered mass communication into thousands of niche outlets, each catering to a specific audience.

Today, we have access to more information, consumers are making smarter buying decisions, and marketers have amassed greater quantities of data than ever before. Your challenge is to keep up or get left behind.

Overcoming Marketing Effectiveness Challenges: Three Use Cases

Marketers at different levels of the organization use different metrics. They work on different time frames. They often don’t communicate across channels. You need new information to learn how to navigate this tangled digital path.

Here are three common scenarios that reveal the unique challenges of marketing effectiveness: CMO, marketing VP and channel manager.

CMO: Budget Planning

It’s budget planning time again. You need to justify your marketing spend to other C-suite leaders and decide how to allocate budget and coordinate messages and experiences across channels.

You ask the VPs of marketing and media to report on which channels are driving business objectives for each target audience, so you can use that information to reallocate budgets, to achieve higher top-line growth and better bottom-line efficiency.

But you quickly discover that your VPs are not using a single source of truth. Their data is conflicted. And different departments are claiming credit for the same conversions. What do you do?

Marketing VP: Spend Allocation

It’s the end of Q2. Last quarter, the brand launched a new multi-channel campaign to drive sales of a new product. The campaign fell short of its performance goals. The VP needs to know how to best allocate spend in order to increase sales by 20% in the next quarter.

Since a business rival has launched a competing product, you know the marketing messages need to resonate with target customers and compel them to take action.

You ask the managers of paid search, display, email and e-commerce to report on cross-channel interactions before deciding how to best allocate quarterly budget to reach those Q3 targets. You soon find out that there is no way to derive holistic multi-channel insights. And each team has a different understanding of the impact of their channels. It’s very frustrating, right?

Channel Manager: Campaign Optimization

It’s Monday and you have campaigns rolling out Tuesday and Thursday to different audience segments. You need to boost click-through rates to meet the weekly KPI. You check the response to last week’s campaign and set up A/B tests for the emails going out this week, tweaking creative for each audience segment to see which raises the click-through rate. You then optimize the emails by segment and push them out to generate a higher return.

However, when the campaign results come in, your CTRs are even lower than the previous week. Could this be because you were relying on data that was not real time? And did not take any historical information into account?

Traditional Media vs. Digital Media

New Measurement for a New Era

These are real-world scenarios that many marketers grapple with. This drive to know and understand individual consumers has led to the rise of people-based marketing approaches. While we believe this is the right way to think about marketing and advertising, there are challenges and requirements that you have to keep in mind as you formulate your own strategy.

To be effective, every member of your team and your agency partners need a holistic picture of performance. If you’re in this situation and are struggling with these scenarios, it might be time for an upgrade to multi-touch attribution.

Multi-touch attribution is an approach that determines the influence of your marketing efforts on consumers so that you can optimize spend and improve the consumer experience.

To truly grasp the value of each consumer interaction with your brand, you need to know not only where their first or last interaction occurred, or what the customer journey looks like, but also the effectiveness of each marketing touchpoint in the consumer journey.

The benefits of multi-touch attribution go beyond performance optimization and people-based marketing. Multi-touch attribution also addresses the most common challenges to market effectiveness by providing a central repository for all data. This enables every team to use a central source of truth, work toward the same goals and benefit from near real-time, user-level insights.

To truly understand the value of each consumer interaction with your brand, it’s not enough to count impressions, eyeballs or measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing using the consumer’s last interaction with your brand (i.e. last-touch metrics). With multi-touch attribution, you know the effectiveness of each marketing touchpoint in every consumer journey.

Learn More

Download our ebrief 8 Best Practices for Implementing Multi-Touch Attribution to learn more about how to execute a successful attribution strategy.

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