What's the point of media attribution? That's a good question. It reminds me of the scene in the movie "Big" where Tom Hanks says "I don't get it. Why would anyone want a toy like that?" Through the eyes of the prospective customer, perception was reality.
In truth, marketers shouldn't think of attribution as an end goal unless they want to risk being faced with the same question that was asked by Tom Hanks. What marketers need to embrace is the concept of Connected Marketing, within which attribution is just a part.
Connected Marketing is the process of holistically managing marketing across all channels to maximize ROI. This means it is the continual measurement, attribution and optimization of marketing performance across channels. Connected Marketing is not solely about measurement or attribution. Attribution is a critical means to an end, but without a system that enables marketers to act on the insight provided to improve performance, it's not "connected."
The benefits of connected marketing include:>
a) Cross-channel insights -- Understand the impact of various marketing channels on one another (for example, how does display impact search query volume or search conversions? How do various Web conversion tactics, like content personalization + retargeting, improve site revisits and conversion?)
b) Automated optimization based on these insights for better media performance -- Activate the insights achieved with cross-channel measurement and attribution through an integrated optimization system (for example, a system that can shift budgets across channels to maximize return against a singular marketing budget and goal).
c) See the value of your audience segments and media across the purchase funnel -- Understand how your target audiences react to your marketing messages and media campaigns depending on where they are in the purchase funnel. This allows you to tailor marketing messages not only to specific channels, but to specific audiences within those channels. In addition, marketers can look at which media exposure paths drive higher conversions depending on product interests or audience type.
Why does Connected Marketing matter now?
Digital marketing is at a convergence crossroads. Digital is the most easily measurable marketing channel, yet to date marketers and the industry have been mostly measuring online advertising in silos of search, display, Facebook, etc. With the rise of biddable media that's finally bringing at least some continuity to the way we buy and measure these channels, it's time to step up and figure out the best way to get the most out of all that we can measure. Data without insight and action is just noise. It's the way that you connect the data to improve marketing performance that matters.