Making the Case for the Evolution of Cross-Channel Attribution

Cross-channel attribution is one area that marketers are continuously challenged with getting right. Adometry CMO Casey Carey took time out during the company’s XCMO Summit 2013: Cross-Channel Marketing Optimization Conference in Austin to sit down with me and share his insights on the evolution of cross-channel attribution.

Krell: What are some of the most notable ways cross-channel attribution has recently evolved?

Carey: The most significant change is marketers acknowledging that last-click and other simple, rules-based attribution models are fundamentally flawed. As a result, there has been a renewed focus on statistical, data-driven methodologies that have helped brands and agencies identify untapped areas of improved performance, such as the interplay between search and display.

What are some of the biggest cross-channel attribution challenges marketers confront?

One challenge is simply collecting all of the data. Most organizations historically have allowed data to be managed by various partners, like Web analytics, display and search agencies. One benefit of using a full-featured attribution platform is the ability to centralize all performance marketing measurement.

Another challenge is moving from insights to tangible, actionable recommendations. Getting accurate attribution results is a critical first step, but for a CMO more accurate measurement isn’t the end goal; it’s what you do with it that matters.

What are some of the most important ways you expect this practice to evolve?

Attribution is debatably the hottest topic in digital marketing right now, but you’re also beginning to see the concept be applied to offline channels, as well. For online advertisers whose revenues come predominantly from offline conversion events—automotive, for example—being able to tie digital marketing efforts to in-store purchase activities is an exciting opportunity that enables them to really understand the end-to-end customer journey and which marketing events are truly driving conversions.

Another area where you’re beginning to see the attribution market evolve is the interplay between cross-channel attribution and traditional marketing mix modeling (MMM). Instead of relying on MMM for planning and attribution for measurement, we’re beginning to see advertisers blend the two approaches to optimize spending both offline and online using granular performance metrics.

Freelance writer Eric Krell is a Spotlight contributor to and coauthors the monthly “Diary of a CMO

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