Singing a different tune: Where Dolly Parton helps in media attribution

Attribution is balance of art and science -- and Dolly Parton might be a good example to follow.

This comes from Nicole Keiter, director of media strategy & optimization of Equifax Personal Information systems, who calls Parton “her fairy godmother for attribution.”

“While she is a singer and actress, she is also worth about a half a billion dollars,” she says, speaking at the MediaPost Brand Marketers Summit.  After being a successful singer, Keiter says Parton wanted to be an actress -- without having any idea she could do it. “It’s okay to act without knowing every answer to every question.”

A couple of years ago, Equifax, which for a long time had been selling credit monitoring and identity protection services, had a tough go of it with the rise of competitors offering services for free. Equifax was still getting sales but costing them more. So it moved from a low cost acquisition strategy to a value-based strategy.

What changed?  Just looking at last click wasn’t enough -- but the full journey for its all platforms. That’s where ‘fractional attribution’ comes in, which looks all digital media moving parts.  Key here is this attribution is based on algorithms that “removes all human bias. There are no rules that you put in. It’s all about the data,” she says.

And that made examining all touch points take on a different look. This kind of attribution helped Equifax for a “savings and reinvestment approach”.  Overall Equifax tallied $4 million in media savings with its attribution tool.

One unusual discovery came with looking at sales conversions. In the direct response category, which Equifax is in, it is assumed that a window to sale is short, maybe 48 hours, or a week -- possibly a month.  But Keiter say the company's average time to conversion was 60 days.

“That really blew our minds.”

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