5 Tips for Choosing the Right Marketing Attribution Provider
These days, consumers are making purchases across more channels and devices than ever before. It is a good problem to have, but there is no question that marketers are struggling to get a handle on which ads and marketing tactics are actually driving sales.
Gone are the days when marketers could cobble together performance data from a variety of platforms and sources and garner accurate, actionable insights. Marketers need a tool to help them centralize data, understand impact, and take action. That’s where marketing attribution comes in.
Marketing attribution helps marketers and advertisers determine how much credit their marketing and advertising tactics deserve for driving sales and other outcomes so that they can optimize campaigns and allocate budget more effectively. The problem is, there are multiple attribution vendors to choose between, and significant discrepancies in vendor capabilities — which makes choosing the right marketing measurement vendor a daunting task.
Here are some things that marketers and advertisers should consider when selecting a marketing measurement solution provider:
- Spot Smoke and Mirrors. Vendors have been known to tout capabilities that do not yet exist, and sell companies on a vision for the future rather than reality. It is important that vendors have a roadmap, but marketers and advertisers must remember that they’re purchasing what exists today, not what has been promised for the future. It is important to fully understand the current offering and ensure that it can meet their needs today.
- Be an Active Participant. Marketers and advertisers should recognize industry biases and make sure they are basing their decision off of as many sources as possible. Relying solely on the competing perspectives published by analysts, or tasking agencies to make the decision for them, can be dangerous territory. Even after implementation, many advertisers rely on their external agency partners to execute media buying and optimization tactics on their behalf, with little insight into what data and insights are being used to justify those investments. Becoming an active participant in both selecting and managing their attribution instance will help marketers drive better results for their business.
- Don’t Compromise Accuracy. While marketers and advertisers should be less concerned with how solutions work than the insights they provide, it is important to recognize that not all marketing attribution solutions are created equal, in terms of accuracy. Different tools solve different business problems, ingest different levels of data, and produce results at different cadences. Some vendors claim that a single, unified model can answer all marketing questions. But unified models are dangerous and compromise the accuracy of results. In fact, Nielsen research found that unified models are five times more error-prone. Marketers and advertisers should look for a vendor who provides distinct models under the same roof, with results that align without jeopardizing accuracy.
- Take an Audience-Centric Approach. Understanding audience performance no longer needs to happen separately from cross-channel marketing performance. Sophisticated attribution vendors now have the ability to sync with first- and third-party data sources (i.e. data management platforms (DMPs) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems) to allow advertisers to understand marketing performance by audience segment. Marketers and advertisers should look for a vendor who enables them to understand the quantitative impact of marketing and media tactics on their key audience segments.
- Think Beyond Measurement to Optimization. Finally, advertisers should not think of attribution purely as a measurement tool. Marketing is measured so it can be optimized to drive better results. Sophisticated advertisers use attribution to optimize their marketing tactics at varying degrees of granularity to drive the online and offline success metrics they care about most. This requires that attribution vendors provide a frequent modeling cadence, real-time bidding (RTB) platform integrations, and robust scenario planning capabilities that support that objective.
At a time when marketers are increasingly held accountable for demonstrating marketing success, any multi-touch attribution solution is better than siloed channel measurement or no measurement at all. But not all attribution vendors are created equal. Marketers and advertisers must do their homework when evaluating options to ensure they are choosing the best model for their unique business needs.