Marketers’ Twisted Cross-Channel Attribution [Infographic]

Linking customer data points can sometimes feel like playing a game of Twister. With so many on- and offline customer touchpoints, the pressure to connect the dots can leave marketers feeling red in the face or blue with defeat.

Indeed, this tangled up cross-channel data can inhibit marketers from adopting more advanced attribution methods. In fact, only one in nine marketers (roughly 11%) use advanced or algorithmic attribution methods, according to the “Cross-Channel Attribution Must Convert Insights Into Action” study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Kenshoo. Furthermore, almost one quarter of marketers (23%) still give the first or last touchpoint all of the credit. However, that’s not to say that marketers are completely off the grid when it comes to cross-channel attribution techniques. According to the study, 35% of marketers rely on predefined, rule-based attribution and 31% leverage self-defined business rules.

The wide array of channels marketers have to keep track of is one of the main aspects of marketing that can cause a marketer’s head to spin. On average, marketers depend on 13 channels to drive their marketing objectives, according to the study. Most of these channels are digital. For instance, 87% of marketers use email, and 50% include email in their attribution methods. In addition, 82% of marketers rely on online display ads, and 53% include this channel in their attribution measurement, according to the study. Referral marketing is also popular. Eighty-one percent of marketers leverage the channel to meet their marketing and media goals, and 50% include it in their cross-channel attribution methods. But connecting all of these channels is where it gets tricky. Less than one quarter of marketers simultaneously measure several campaigns and channels, according to the study. Instead, 41% measure each channel and campaign separately and 36% track limited channel and campaign effects.

Clearly, marketers have to be nimbler when it comes to attribution. So, 49% are adjusting their long-term plans, 38% are altering their media spend, 34% are comparing different campaign performance metrics, and 23% are acting in real-time, according to the study. Partnering with different vendors can also help, and marketers are teaming up with quite a variety. For instance, 17% of marketers work with data management providers for attribution measurement efforts, while 16% partner with marketing service providers. In addition, 15% work with Web analytics providers.

Although some marketers are attempting to improve attribution, they face obstacles that make it difficult to take action. For 40% of corporate marketers, gaining confidence from colleagues and executives in results and recommendations is a challenge, and for 33% knowing how to leverage results to generate new insights and actions is a struggle

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