Attribution Could Get A Bit Sticky, But Worth It
Attributing data from cross-channel marketing strategies will become the next hurdle for marketers, especially as some search engines began withholding information from marketers. Yahoo last year shuttered Site Explorer, a link index. Microsoft removed support of the "link" command in its search engine Bing. Google continued to conceal link data, and said it would discontinue sharing logged-in user data.
This trend marks a departure from traditional search engine policies, according to Rimm-Kaufman Group's Digital Marketing Report Q4 2011. Interestingly, SEO data in the report appears to identify the point in which non-branded and branded keywords are affected by Google's beginning to block referrer data for some queries during the fourth quarter.
Although the report highlights developments during the holiday season, it also points to trends like the importance of collecting, analyzing and acting on cross-channel data. It doesn't suggest, however, an inability to analyze cross-channel data based on the changes search engines recently made. It does suggest alternative methods and the type of data to collect.
For instance, consider click data on social sites. Engagement rates with click data seem to support the idea that a focus on content does improve engagement, as well as ad performance. When it comes to comparison shopping engines (CSE), Google Product Search drove 35% of RKG clients’ CSE traffic, with more than double the clicks of any other engine.
Those who can assign attributes to events and analyze the data, putting it to good use, win -- not only in online marketing, but in sports, too. For instance, Billy Beane, general manager for the Oakland Athleticso major league baseball team, relies on KPIs, assigning each player's attribute, such as base hitter, or event, such as bunting or stealing bases, a percentage.
When percentages are added (across channels) the total can predict the outcome. Analyzing the events that led up to the win or loss of the game can identify the event contributing the most to success or failure. It's all in the numbers, Beane explained Tuesday at a Covario digital marketing conference. "Outs in baseball were far more valuable than taking the risk of advancing the base," he told MediaPost. "At the time, you can take these numbers, place them into any situations, and decide how to play the game."