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September 9, 2014, Article

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The Wall: Why brands should take a stand against last-click attribution

The digital marketing ecosystem is experiencing an attribution evolution. For too long, the industry has relied on the simple metrics of last-click attribution, regardless of the ability of this approach to measure the contributing factors leading to a sale or conversion.

A consumer’s path to purchase is typically formed from a number of touchpoints including display and search engine ads, online videos, and social media interactions.

Although each touchpoint has its own distinct role to play in the conversion path, last-click attribution only measures the final conversion, and the last-click approach typically allocates far less importance to prospecting type activity than to re-targeting.

However, investing in re-targeting without prospecting is the online equivalent of a brand relying on in-store promotions without advertising outside of the store.

As the industry accepts that last-click attribution is fatally flawed, what benefits can brands gain from adopting a more sophisticated attribution solution?

Measuring the success of marketing strategies
More advanced attribution solutions enable marketers to understand the contribution that online and offline marketing activities make to the sales process. An effective attribution solution can help drive direct sales by giving brands greater visibility into the influence that each activity had on the consumer’s decision to purchase, which helps to increase brand awareness and consumer engagement.

Clearer visibility of the entire conversion pathway
Sophisticated attribution solutions provide brands with an overview of the entire conversion pathway and work to move consumers along the path to purchase. This visibility allows brands to understand how different media channels are interacting with each other and, in turn, enables the attribution of conversions occurring on one device and impressions delivered on another device to be monitored through advanced device recognition, providing a more accurate view of the value of each channel.

Real-time decision making and media buying
A sophisticated attribution solution can determine the fractional credit that any touchpoint within the conversion path deserves, regardless of the phase at which it occurred.  Armed with this knowledge, brands can understand how best to allocate marketing spend. The insights gained from advanced attribution can feed real-time media buying, which allows an assessment of the value of a particular impression based on its role in the conversion path, and determine whether to bid on it as well as how much to bid.

In every consumer journey there are multiple touchpoints between awareness and acquisition, but these are not recognised when using last-click attribution. With an advanced attribution solution, brands are able to more accurately identify the media partners and channels that are performing well and adjust their marketing strategy accordingly.

Using attribution insights to drive business decision making and utilising cost-effective media buying, companies can make a stand against last-click attribution to deliver greater ROI and business success.

By Damon Combrinck, vice president platform solutions, EMEA, MediaMath

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