In a move that may lead the way for other consumer product goods companies, Del Monte will adopt an attribution model from Encore Media Metrics in the coming weeks.
Doug Chavez, director of digital marketing at Del Monte, hopes the strategy will allow the CPG company to gain better insight into ads and searches on publisher sites, social networks and search engines that lead consumers to purchase its products.
Del Monte will begin by testing the model with one or two brands, determine the difference between them, and then decide whether to add others to the process. One brand will rely more heavily on paid search, the other on social media.
Having the ability to track attribution becomes increasingly important, since management wants to know the ROI for each Facebook investment. Since zero transactions occur on Facebook, Chavez needs to quantify the time consumers spend with the brand.
"If a consumer is on our Facebook Milk-Bone, it's good to give the page, and then go to Milkbone.com. I know that person is spending between three and four times more on that site compared with someone who comes from organic search," Chavez told Online Media Daily. "Attribution continues to be a piece marketers need to figure out." Attribution, as Chavez describes it, becomes a "very tangled story to tell." Encore Media Metrics helps him untangle the Web without having to troll through pages of raw data.
Several years ago, Microsoft began talking up engagement, mapping the consumer's path from awareness to purchase. Gian Fulgoni, comScore cofounder, has also been an advocate of attribution, encouraging the ad industry to move past the last-click metric.
Display ads are effective in creating awareness early in the purchase cycle, but search and email have proven to be better channels for driving preference and action. Social media contributes to all, but because analytics platforms attribute credit for the conversion to the last click, they fall short in measuring the supporting role played by display, social and other media.
The on-demand attribution service from Encore, which emerged from "stealth mode" in February, tracks the source of the traffic and the time that lapses between impressions, visits and conversions, as long as consumers don't clear cookies from their browser. A dashboard aggregates the information, allowing companies to see the path in one place, explains Encore founder and CEO Steve Latham.
Latham's former company, a digital agency called Spur Interactive, began making the transition to Encore after acquiring an analytics platform from Austin in 2006, which focused on paid search and search engine optimization. Shortly after, the company began building out the platform to support attribution. "We were an agency that needed a technology," Latham says. "It lets us look at customer behavior and buying cycles by looking at the time lapsing between processes."