Debunking 6 Myths Of Marketing Attribution

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heather-pidgeon-ddt“Data Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is by Heather Pidgeon, VP of Services at iProspect.

As most of us know, fear of the unknown often comes from a lack of understanding. Due to the many new and unfamiliar factors it introduces, marketing attribution -- software that allows advertisers to determine which marketing channels or campaigns drove a conversion -- often is misunderstood. Consequently, marketers make incorrect assumptions about the difficulty of application or the cost of maintenance involved with attribution. However, closer examination reveals that these concerns are unfounded and generally incorrect.

A study by Google found that 72% of surveyed marketers and agencies agreed that “marketing attribution leads to better budget allocations -- 63% gained a better understanding of how digital channels work together, and 58% had clearer insights into their audience.” With such positive feedback, why is attribution still underused?

Myth 1: Attribution is too fresh and not developed enough.

In actuality, professionals have been using attribution models and software for years. Many industry advisors, including Forrester Research, assign analysts to cover marketing attribution and, furthermore, encourage their clients to implement it.  Attribution is not an experimental idea used only by the courageous, but in fact, is founded in quantitative examination and a thoroughly tested method.

Myth 2: Attribution is complicated and adds stress on technical resources.

With terms like “aggregating” and “normalizing” being applied to performance data, it is no wonder attribution seems overwhelming. However, it is not as challenging as it sounds. On a day-to-day basis, professionals are accustomed to working with large quantities of data. But using the right tools is key to the process. In researching the pace of attribution adoption, the Google study also concluded that “marketers haven't yet found or mastered the right attribution tools.” Experts rely on collection templates, proven processes, and specialized software to handle data coordination. But guess what? These all already exist within most companies’ technical resources.

Myth 3: Attribution differs greatly from the current methodology.

Attributed metrics and traditional metrics can and should align with each other. They both affect marketing in terms of data analysis, decision making, and implementation of change. Attribution diverges when it comes to measurement and the metrics it produces. With more in-depth and accurate information to base decisions on, marketers are able to make more informed choices.

Myth 4: Attribution cheapens existing efforts.

Marketing attribution builds on established work by revealing undiscovered opportunities for marketers to go after. As a measurement tool, it provides insights into previously unexplored openings so that improvements can be made to a marketing plan. These insights only aim to provide continuous optimization to the marketing scope.

Myth 5: Attribution upholds technology at the expense of creativity.

While attribution does have a strong technological and mathematical basis, it is the creative decisions based on the provided metrics that make the difference. Attribution software analyzes vast amounts of data and provides optimization recommendations. But analysts then have to decide what to do with this advice. As a tool, attribution is an information provider. Experts remain in the driver’s seat.

Myth 6: Attribution disrupts workflow and organization.

We are used to looking at marketing through a traditional, non-reciprocal lens, and we need to change that mindset. Attribution measurement provides a unified and holistic view of marketing that encourages marketers to embrace convergence and a channel-agnostic strategy.

Though this may seem like an overwhelming change and disruption to incorporate into a current strategy, in the end, attribution simplifies everything. First, it consolidates goals and assembles the complete strength and expertise of a team by unifying them behind shared objectives. Second, attribution brings marketing teams into tighter alignment, encouraging collaboration and interdisciplinary support. Finally, it gives critical guidance and support so marketers can better navigate this evolution of measurement into a world of success.

Follow Heather Pidgeon (@heatherpidgeon) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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One Response to “Debunking 6 Myths Of Marketing Attribution”


  1. Jay Friedman says:

    Thank you Heather! Great to see a smart marketer/agency executive helping our community through education. The sooner we can get out of the last-ad-seen game, the better we are as an industry and more valuable we are to our clients.

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