While many marketers still track conversions based on the last click, almost 54 percent of them are interested in implementing a different methodology, according to a just-released survey by Impact Radius of 146 high-ranking CMOs and company principals.
“Where I see some companies going is trying to do an attribution model,’’ where they are doing analysis based on some type of algorithm and placing varying degrees of importance on different marketing channel contributions, observed Todd Crawford, co-founder and vice president of strategic initiatives at Impact Radius. The company's “2014 Voice of the Industry National Digital Marketing” survey ran from the end of March through mid-April.
For example, if a marketer is using three channels, a customer may touch all of them in a month’s time. “What marketers are trying to understand is, the traditional last click may have driven the sale, but there are other assists--how did they all work together, and how do I value the mix instead of looking at all of them individually?” That is a better way to do analysis, Crawford said, because “you want to understand how to optimize media. You want optimize the spend, not the result.”
It’s critical to see the raw data, he told CMO.com. “You’re trying to make sense of what the customer is doing, where [your] marketing spend is incremental,” and which media is driving more customers. Marketers may be buying media where they would get the sale or same customer anyway, so it is critical to understand which media is delivering the most beneficial results, Crawford said.
Attribution data and analysis also has to be unique to your business, Crawford emphasized, not merely what has worked for other brands. KPIs are going to different as well as the angles, values, and positioning of a company’s brand to the customer. “You’re measuring the same things, but you have different goals, objectives, and KPIs,” he said.
Crawford also cautioned marketers against analyzing data without any real idea of what they want from it, and then driving their marketing campaigns from those results. “Understand first what the most important things are that you need to be measuring,” he said. “If you read the numbers and see the good, the bad, and the ugly, but don’t understand what it takes to rehab that marketing spend, that’s part of the analysis,” and they need to take into consideration all of the important metrics, Crawford said. The metrics should also have the exact same data set available across every channel,including paid search, display, target, affiliate, email, mobile, and social.
Other significant findings from Impact Radius’ survey include:
• 42 percent of marketers said improving team productivity and collaboration is a top priority in 2014. Along those same lines, respondents reported using between four and nine platforms to manage their marketing campaigns, and only 36 percent have a tag management solution implemented.
• 8 percent of respondents rated eliminating fraud and improving risk management as one of their organizations' top priorities in 2014, and, yet, when addressing concerns in the affiliate channel, 41 percent of respondents reported quality of conversions as a top concern.
• For enterprise companies (1,001+ employees), the top three marketing priorities in 2014 are mobile, paid search, and content marketing (see chart, below). Conversely, for small businesses (less than 100 employees), the top three marketing priorities in 2014 are paid search, email marketing, and organic search.
• 46 percent will be increasing their mobile ad budget in 2014.
• 41 percent of respondents said quality of conversion is a top concern.
The survey also revealed that respondents have a strong desire for cross-device tracking, Crawford said, but that the industry is not there yet. “There are companies out there that try to fabricate this data for you” from cross-platform interaction, but it’s based on a small sliver of data that they stretch out and it’s not absolute, he maintained.
In terms of having a marketing team who’s highly productive, he said, that means spending the least amount of time doing administrative work and more on revenue generation with a good understanding of the data. It’s also important to get buy-in from all team members tasked with tracking different media channels. Communication can often be a big problem with everyone operating in silos, he said.
“Everyone is competing for the customer and ad spend and growing top-line revenue,’’ Crawford concluded, “so by capturing all the data and looking at it intelligently and creating smart views of it give us an advantage over the competitor.