Marketers agree that (in general) attribution has become more difficult. Long, complex customer journeys with multiple touchpoints that cross channels are one reason. Another is changes in tracking technology, privacy regulations, and platform practices.
The average person today has four to six connected devices and switches constantly from one to the other. Longer customer journeys that have more touchpoints produce even more data fragmentation.
The average marketer doesn’t have the ability to consolidate fragmented data to understand the influence of touchpoints across digital and traditional channels. Analyzing marketing effectiveness is arduous as marketers struggle to get accurate and actionable results.
Given this environment, how should marketers prepare for an increasingly complex customer journey? What measurement strategies and tactics do marketers need to be successful in 2020 and beyond? We asked five Nielsen experts to share their predictions.
Technology Will Enable Data
EVP, U.S. Analytics
“In terms of understanding the consumer journey, there’s a lot that companies are trying to tackle. There are many different data sources that can contribute to a transparent view of consumer activities. All of the data that is available is not sitting within any one place. The ability to pull together different data sources and be able to link them in a way that makes sense is what our clients are looking for today. All of that big data spells opportunity, but it’s a lot harder than everyone realizes to do that effectively and accurately.
“The big headline is that in any place where you are looking at a fraction of the equation—or arbitrarily deciding to evaluate only one part of the equation and not looking at the full picture—is where you get outages in your view of the customer journey. There’s a need for glue that will tie data together and allow a holistic view. In 2020, technology will be the enabler that ties reference data and all these other different data sets together in a valuable way."
Vendors Will Expand Coverage
SVP, Consulting Services
“Given how complex the journey is and how many more touchpoints there are, granular measurement is key. Granular measurement will lead to more precision and actionability across all those touchpoints along the journey.
“But even when person-level data is not available, marketers need to be measuring all the touchpoints consumers are seeing these days. This includes digital and traditional tactics such as Out Of Home and TV, as well as social interactions such as Snapchat and Instagram plus influencer marketing.
“In 2020, marketers will need expanded coverage at the speed that these ever-changing journeys require. This also means that other analytics that are not as sophisticated in using person-level data need to go by the wayside. There’s no reason for last-touch attribution to exist. It leads to wrong decisions and a lot of waste across your marketing plan."
Marketers Will Test More
Global Head, Analytics Product Leadership
“I see the world pivoting from capturing all the data to capturing the right bits of data and making that data smart and intelligent. The promise that attribution brought to the industry is still one we hold to. I think the solution to solve that problem is going to be very different.
“It’s not about consuming every bit of data, but consuming the right data and gaining the ability to identify when things are working. If you need to start proving out how you spend your money, the gold standard has been and continues to be a design of experimental tests. In 2020, marketers will focus even more on testing. This will show how marketers can influence a business every day with performance metrics that they can track on a continuous basis. It’s about understanding the best performance metrics that are representative of the actual universe.”
Data Partnerships Will Grow
Vice President, EMEA
“As you get longer customer journeys and more devices, all of that adds up to more touchpoints on a journey to a purchase or conversion. This makes the case for last-touch attribution even weaker and the case for multi-touch attribution even stronger. As you get more touchpoints, the idea that you just use that final touchpoint to base all your decisions on becomes even more risky. The added complexity is a strong case for having a strategy that involves multi-touch attribution.
“In 2020, data coverage is going to become more important. As there is growth in global platforms such as Google, Facebook, Snap, etc., the case for using a local attribution vendor is not as strong as it used to be. It makes sense to work with measurement partners who have a strong global footprint and are able to deliver coverage today and in the future.”
Comparability Will Improve
VP, Product Leadership
“It’s getting harder and harder to understand consumer behavior in digital environments due to privacy regulations and coverage gaps. Without complete visibility, marketers run the risk of wasting spend on channels, publishers, and tactics that aren’t driving conversions.
“Many marketers have turned to multi-touch attribution to solve their measurement challenges. Others rely on marketing mix modeling for insights or incremental lift testing. These different measurement approaches exist for a reason. The impact of using them together to operationalize marketing and optimize tactical decision-making delivers outsized returns. There is so much waste to be eliminated and addressed—and it is so worth it.
“In 2020, the industry will focus on improving the integration of measurement approaches to improve comparability and coverage to allow more robust integrations between the distribution of the ad, the source of the ad, and exposure to an ad. This will enable advertisers to minimize waste and see how their efforts are driving real outcomes and changes in consumer behavior.”
Happy New Year
If the last few years are any indication, 2020 should prove interesting as well. Let’s see how these forecasts play out and what new things appear on the radar. Wishing you and yours a very happy, healthy, and successful new year!
To learn how to get an accurate view of performance and achieve your goals, download our new ebook: Measurement for the Digital Era
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Get news and information in your inbox every month: Subscribe