Attribution Management: A Direct Response & Brand Marketing Tool
Marketers and their agencies typically look at attribution management and the value it provides an organization in direct response terms. Focusing on accurately attributing metrics like conversions, revenue, CPA, ROI, and ROAS makes complete sense when a marketer has responsibility for producing some type of measurable conversion. But a growing number of professionals responsible for moving the needle on brand metrics -- like awareness, preference, consideration and purchase intent not linked to a “hard” conversion -- are also using attribution as a valuable analytics and optimization solution.
Linking Brand Metrics to Media Metrics
However, attribution modeling can be applied to brand metrics to produce insights and recommendations for optimization just as effectively as it can be applied to direct response metrics. One way to accomplish this is to use user-level data collected through surveys, the traditional means by which most brand marketers establish their metrics. Specifically, this methodology requires marketers to link brand survey data with marketing performance data using the cookies that are collected during both processes (taking the survey, and being exposed to marketers’ various media tactics).
How It Works
As an example, let’s say that Michelle is surveyed online by a particular brand, either directly or through a third party such as comScore or any number of other panels/researchers. She is asked a series of brand-related questions to which she provides a score of 1-10. These responses produce Michelle’s unique brand metrics for awareness, preference, consideration, and purchase intent (or any other metric that can be numerically scored in the same fashion). She completes the survey and hits “submit” – thereby transmitting her scores, along with her unique cookie, to the organization fielding the survey. Marketers, along with their attribution solution provider, then use Michelle’s survey cookie to link her brand metrics to the identical cookie associated with the touchpoint history data of all of the organization’s marketing initiatives she has been exposed to, and all the behaviors she has exhibited as a result of those exposures.
Once this linkage is made, the marketing attribution modeling process is applied and the appropriate amount of credit earned by every dimension (channel, publisher, keyword, creative, size, placement, click, impression, etc.) of every marketing tactic experienced by Michelle can be calculated and applied to her brand metrics. Multiply this process by thousands of users like Michelle, and marketers can quantify the impact of their various marketing tactics on their target audience as a whole.
Applying The Findings to Optimization
As these findings are analyzed, optimization strategies quickly become apparent. What combination of channel, creative, offer, size and placement produced the highest awareness scores? Which keywords, engines, day-parts and calls to action produce the best purchase intent scores? With questions like these answered, brand marketers are suddenly on equal footing with their direct response colleagues and can now adjust their spending levels to map to the combination of tactics that produce optimal results.
This is just one of several methodologies that exist for utilizing brand metrics in the attribution process and then optimizing based on the insights they produce – but it’s one that brand marketers who regularly work with survey data can easily understand. And just as with direct response, utilizing attribution management to calculate the true impact of every channel, campaign, and tactic on your overall brand success will ensure the accuracy and predictability of your brand optimization efforts.