80% of Marketers Now Using Attribution on Some or All Campaigns

BY Kathy Crosett
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The marriage of big data and digital advertising should be able to deliver accurate attribution statistics for media buyers. With so many digital channels now available, your clients want to know if they should put more money into email or if they would reach more consumers with a video ad campaign. Good attribution modeling can give them answers. In Adroll’s second State of Marketing Attribution report, analysts reveal the state of the attribution industry. This information is worth sharing with your clients.

Eighty percent of North American marketers say they are collecting information and assigning attribution on all their campaigns. They’re making this investment in order to improve performance. This year, the top goals for North American marketers who use attribution tools are:

  • Optimize media mix 64%
  • Understand customer journey 55%
  • Justify digital spending 66%
  • Determine affiliate payments 44%

Marketers definitely use the information they collect in specific ways. In the past year, analysis of attribution information led 13% of North American marketers to increase spending on all digital marketing channels, while 12% decreased spending on these channels. Marketers also more carefully scrutinized specific digital channels with 32% of companies boosting spending on some digital formats, and 15% cutting spending on specific digital formats.

Here are the channels which benefited (had budget increases) from marketer analysis of attribution data:

  • Display ads 41%
  • Paid search 38%
  • Content marketing 34%
  • Social media marketing 33%
  • Social media advertising 28%
  • Email 28%
  • SEO 24%
  • Affiliate marketing 23%
  • Mobile apps 22%
  • Video 11%

While it’s important to engage in attribution modeling, marketers should regularly analyze and update the methods they are using in response to the rapidly changing digital advertising industry. The Adroll study does a great job of  reporting on current trends. In the past year, the top attribution methods were last-​click (44%), first-​click (39%), and first-​touch (27%). Some critics point out that using only one attribution detail is too simplistic. In fact, Adroll analysts point out that 66% of North American marketers are using multi-​channel attribution in models that account for both digital and offline marketing formats. At least 18% of marketers employ algorithmic models. Another 25% use custom models, presumably to account for the multiple influences on a consumer’s journey to purchase.

Marketers are turning to a variety of sources for their data collection efforts for attribution. Custom-​built technology is in place for 43% of marketers. Vendor technology and spreadsheets also work for 43% of marketers, respectively. This information suggests that marketers may be using more than one product for this purpose.

Developing an accurate attribution model remains the holy grail for many marketers. The largest issues they struggle with include defining the online customer journey (35%), complexity of data (32%), disparate tech platforms and data sources (29%). If your clients are considering adjusting their attribution models for next year, discuss the findings of this report with them. They may be able to increase accuracy of their results and buy more media from you.