Marketing Attribution: From Silos to Synergy

A marketer who recently implemented marketing attribution in his organization asked me an interesting  hypothetical question: "If we don't see a huge difference between the last-click-based metrics  and attribution-based metrics of our campaigns, can we assume that our organization does not require attribution-based measurements?" 

The answer is that his organization probably will benefit the most by utilizing attribution-based actions. The reason his first set of measurement shows no attribution is because the entire marketing organization is running on silos. No channel gives any assist to other channels. No campaign gives any assists to other campaigns. No business units give any assist to other business units.  A lot of money is getting wasted. His marketing team is like a basketball team with players who won't pass the ball to anybody; all want to score by themselves. 

Apart from producing attribution-based metrics and showing how much each assist one entity gives to another, a true attribution system provides a lot of actionable recommendations that "increase" the assist. The more assist between channels or publishers, the better for the efficiency of the marketing organization.  By increasing the assist, teams can utilize the media dollars that otherwise would have been wasted.



A true attribution system provides recommendations to increase synergies between two or more entities. For example, take two channels: online display and paid search. The attribution system finds the affinities between certain display creatives and search keywords. Spending money on these creatives and then buying those search keywords with appropriate time lag produces a high conversion rate on search. With limited media-spend both on the display and s channels, you have produced a good amount of conversions. This can be extended to any number of channels. It could be the placement to ad-group synergy or an email offer to keyword synergy.    

Once such attribution-based recommendations are implemented, marketers will see a great difference between last-click-based metrics and attribution-based metrics. There will be greater assist between entities of the marketing ecosystem. Most importantly, it creates more conversions or engagements at lower CPAs. Whether branding campaigns or direct response campaigns, the synergy between previously silo'ed entities would give greater return on marketing investments. 

In other words, the variance between the last-click-based metrics and attribution-based metrics is an important indicator of the effectiveness of the marketing organization. Low variance means more silos and high variance means more synergy between the entities of the marketing ecosystem. For example, if the campaign attribution variance is too low (say, less than 2%), then campaigns are not helping each other. If the channel attribution variance is too low, then channels are not helping each other. This can be further extended to product attribution, business-unit attribution, creative attribution, keyword attribution and so on. A true and actionable attribution system provides enough recommendations and other tools to increase the variance between last click and attribution based metrics.   

A true attribution system will provide recommendations that have an execution plan with order and the time lag between tasks. The order and time lag between them are important. If you take the previous example of the affinity between display creatives and search keywords, you know that both the order and time lag are important because presenting them in the recommended way delivers greater conversions at a lower cost.

Once the silos break down and synergy takes place within organizations, most advertisers utilizing the attribution systems are seeing double digit growth on their KPIs with same or lower spend.

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