Fully utilize attribution in search marketing

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Roger Barnette, IgnitionOne
Roger Barnette, IgnitionOne

Measurability is one of digital advertising's biggest benefits. Historically, this meant measuring performance through last-click attribution. Understanding the impact of all advertising — and giving distributed credit for activities and optimizing based on that knowledge — allows marketers to take full advantage.

However, getting search marketers to switch from last-click has been difficult because it's considered easier to manage, measure and explain.

1. Don't be afraid. Marketers who fully utilize cross-channel attribution won't see a decline in their paid search spend overall, and will almost always see an increase in spend on top-of-the funnel search terms. Search terms that fall to the bottom of the funnel are the most important pieces of the media mix since they are the gatekeepers to a purchase. Proper attribution helps get more people in the funnel to drive incremental volume at the same CPAs. The digital world is evolving. Paid search marketers who stay in a silo will die in a silo.

2. Step away from last-click. If marketers want to maximize the efficiency of their digital activity and spend, consumer activity needs to be tracked at all stages of the purchase funnel. This will help both display and paid search. How marketers analyze, use and attribute data is key to managing and optimizing digital spend and pivotal for display audience targeting and effective retargeting.

3. Innovate. Don't just look at conversions when analyzing the interplay between media. That tactic neglects 98% of the data on users' activities. By factoring in engagement, user activity and propensity to buy, marketers can better understand how advertising affects the ever important, but often overlooked, middle of the conversion funnel. Expand beyond direct response metrics and innovate around the metrics that are being tracked to better optimize brand goals.

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