As the digital marketing landscape continues to evolve, the tactics that worked for a brand a year ago -- or even just a month ago -- might no longer be effective. But few brands are in a position to identify areas of waning ROI due to their overly simple attribution models.
In a Spotlight presentation at the iMedia Brand Summit in Coronado, Calif., Casey Carey, CMO of Adometry, discussed how advanced attribution methods can help brands get a true picture of how online marketing efforts are performing, both online and offline.
To succeed, modern marketers need to be evolving, Carey noted. Increasingly, they must:
- Become data-driven. The problem? There is a data deluge!
- Understand the customer journey. The problem? It is becoming more complex!
- Take a multi-channel approach. The problem? Marketers have traditionally organized and measured in silos!
The business challenge is understanding the true connection between marketing and results. Unfortunately, Carey noted, many current attribution approaches rely too heavily on clicks, focus on online-only conversion events, and are built on inconsistent metrics. Ultimately, based on this model, revenue attributed to the sum of a brand's marketing efforts might equal more than the brand's actual revenue because multiple channels are given credit for the same dollars.
Enter advanced attribution. With models like the one pioneered by Adometry, marketers can gain much greater clarity into the true impact of their marketing investments, Carey said. Advanced attribution:
- Relies on a data-driven, probabilistic model
- Leverages user-level interactions including impressions
- Provides a full-funnel view of media performance
- Includes both online and offline conversion events
In terms of connecting online media to offline conversions, Adometry taps into brands' CRM, POS, and call center data in order to connect the dots. The result is a true look at the influence of a brand's activities in various channels.
So what happens when advanced attribution is applied to a brand's media campaigns? Well, in the case of one big-box specialty retailer with 2,000-plus stores across North America, the initial findings suggest that certain areas of heavy investment for the brand might are not yielding the desired ROI, Carey said.
In linking the brand's online media campaigns with its offline POS data from its loyalty card and credit card look-up programs, Adometry found that certain channels were most certainly out-performing others. In fact, while the brand's cost-to-conversion index for display was a healthy 1.1, its cost-to-conversion index for paid search was a measly .07. As such, Adometry was in a position to recommend shifting budget from paid search over to display. In addition, the company's advanced attribution model revealed that the brand's online ad spend in certain geographic regions -- including New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco -- were being vastly outperformed by other regions, including Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. These revelations triggered a rebalancing of display spend according to geography.
In conclusion, Carey noted that advanced attribution can help marketers shed light on the "new truth" surrounding their ad spends. Such findings can -- and should -- trigger brands to rethink the way that they're allocating their budgets. It's not always an easy process. But the rewards are real.