Why I have high hopes for attribution and predictive modeling this time around.
The classic statement and question, “half of my advertising is wasted…but I don’t know which half?” This quote is commonly credited to John Wanamaker, a retail merchant and today is hailed as one of the founding fathers of retail. It really does not matter who said it, rather that marketers are able to answer this question.
For those not so familiar with the concept of attribution, below are a few general approaches from simple to advanced:
- Last click/action – this is probably the most common and easy to calculate (except it really doesn’t provide value to answering the question of waste)
- Rules based – picking a weighting level or scheme across touch points (even, position based, time decay)
- Algorithmic/Probabilistic modeling – defines weighting across touch points at each individual event level, completely data driven
Back in 2008-2009, the rage was attribution and that it would be able to answer this simple yet complex question. The idea of giving credit to each touch point along the consumers decision path to making a purchase would allow us as marketers to invest appropriate to lead to stronger conversions. Unfortunately many tried and failed (especially in digital channels) or found that these models were not very helpful.
Fast forward to 2011-2012 and the landscape has changed dramatically and this is mainly due to advancement in cookie technology and our ability to collect large amounts of data quickly and leverage algorithms to analyze this information quickly.
A few weeks ago Forrester issued two new wave reports that map out the landscape of both digital and cross-channel (digital and offline) attribution providers.
Over the past several weeks I have been involved in investigating a wide variety of partners for attribution for my clients. I believe that with the advancement in technology and the speed and data connections that were not available 3-5 years ago, this time around marketers will actually be able to answer this question. I suspect that brands will also turn to their agencies and expect leadership and competency in this area.
Have questions about attribution, comment on this post and let’s start a conversation. You can also find me on twitter @drewmckenzie.