We caught up recently with Tom Desaulniers, president and co-founder of Go2mobi, to talk about omni-channel attribution and how advertisers can get more out of their partners. Among the companies in the space are Adelphic, Verve Mobile, Opera Media Works and Ninth Decimal.
Let’s start with the basics. What is an omni-channel attribution model?
It’s a way brands and agencies can attribute the cumulative effects of their entire advertising effort — across devices, publishers, channels and media. An omni-channel attribution model first relies on understanding and uniting your consumers into a single anonymous ID. Ultimately, the goal of this model is to tie all these channels to a real-world purchase, so advertisers can understand and optimize their media mix to the extent to which they put $1 into advertising and get $2 (or $20) out.
How do you get there?
The fact is, there is currently no way to fully accomplish this holy grail of marketing. But, at the same time, we live in such a connected age that advertisers are constantly searching for reliable and actionable omni-channel strategies. In the meantime, steps can be taken to approximate a comprehensive system to derive true ROI from your digital advertising efforts.
If you focus on doing the simple things like providing your ad vendors with post-click metrics you want them to optimize toward, focusing on persona-based advertising, and testing out coupon tactics, advertisers can begin to understand the directly attributable ROI resulting from their ad spend.
How do you develop unique customer personas?
The first step is to focus on the medium that provides you with the best chance at understanding each consumer individually — and mobile is perfect for that. Enabled by device IDs, mobile advertisers can understand and contextualize each consumer’s mobile journey. A unique identifier can unite fragmented data from publishers and devices across mobile apps and the mobile web to provide a consistent canvas on which we paint our consumer personas. By understanding a consumer’s physical and digital mobile journey, you can compile unique and accurate consumer personas.
A foundation of cross-channel attribution involves
matching unique devices to location. How exactly does this work?
The easy answer to this is that every time a consumer sees an ad, the ad sees a little bit of the consumer. Ad impressions from mobile apps come appended with a unique device ID, geo-location, and several other valuable attributes. This makes it relatively simple to attribute a persona with location-based attributes for in-app advertising. For the mobile web, where a device ID is not passed, it’s more complicated and it involves matching up other attributes over time in order to link a persona to attributes generated from the mobile web.
The goal for marketers is always to follow the path consumers took to a completed sale. But how do you accomplish that?
Performance marketers have known for a long time that measurable ROI is possible through digital marketing. Agencies and brands are catching up more and more every day. Any purchase that can be made digitally can quite easily be tracked by a platform through the use of a straightforward server to server call. This call alerts our systems to the completed purchase and lets us track back the attributes that led to this particular purchase. So, then we can optimize towards this kind of consumer persona in the future. The more information an advertiser can pass on to its partner, the better the partner will be able to produce ROI. Advertisers who sell goods and services at physical locations have fewer options, but can still use tactics such as redeemable coupons and promo codes that link back to specific advertising campaigns to attribute sales and ROI to advertising efforts.
Is attributable ROI a realistic goal for all advertising?
Complete and cohesive ROI attribution is advertising’s highest goal — and it is one that we will likely see happen within our lifetime. That’s why it’s important for brands and agencies to continue to live on the cutting edge, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
Maybe not all the time, with all advertising efforts, but these companies should be testing out vendors who can provide guidance in these stopgap measures. It’s important they start to understand the power and limitations of omni-channel ROI attribution today so they’re ready to take full advantage tomorrow.