Better Tech Won’t Always Improve Measurement – But A More Unified Attribution Strategy Will

Rudy Grahn, attribution and measurement global strategy lead at Prohaska Consulting.

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 written by Rudy Grahn, attribution and measurement global strategy lead at Prohaska Consulting.

For more insights from the Prohaska team, join us at Programmatic I/O, taking place in Las Vegas from May 23–25, where they’ll be presenting on “Winning The Game Of Online CPG Attribution.” Click here to register.

Recent IAB research suggests that marketers know they need to update their measurement strategy, but 66% are not taking any meaningful action to do so. Many expect new technology to come along and provide the answers they need. But waiting for someone else to fix things isn’t a worthy strategy when you still need to optimize and grow.  

Technology has historically been a big catalyst for change. However, tech’s ability to drive change is often stronger than corporations’ ability to absorb it.

More tech isn’t always the answer – better strategy is.

Having one model for assigning credit to outside marketing partners and a separate model for earning credit within your organization is a no-win for marketers and their enterprises – you need a single attribution and measurement strategy. The key is to deploy a unified strategy that works both within your organization and across your mix of media partners.

Stop over-crediting and under-crediting conversions

How many teams across your company can claim at least partial credit for conversions? Let’s say an order comes in through the website…just within the marketing practice, how many specialists can claim all or part of the credit? Most of your campaign leads, brand managers, channel teams, commerce partners, IT folks, affiliates, CRM teams, agencies and publishers have some line of sight into that converter pool. Mastering the de-duplication and attribution across media channels is crucial to getting your channel mix optimized and your budgets spent properly.  

Are you paying the same attention to how your productivity gets credited within your company? Can your budget levels be optimized and spent well if your contribution isn’t accounted for and optimized properly internally, too? Many of your claimed orders are also claimed elsewhere internally: logistics, sales, customer support, suppliers, etc.  

Most marketers simply do not put as much effort into mastering internal attribution and measurement (A&M) as they do into the mastery of attribution across marketing channels alone. This hurts all productivity. Operating two attribution models makes no sense.

Eliminate division between “us” and “them”

You should not be buying anything externally that you can’t get fair credit for internally. If making “your numbers” and getting accurate internal credit aren’t part of the same goal, then make the case for change. Holistic A&M output can provide the needed receipts to lead this process, but you need to do some digging first.  

Does everyone use the same definitions internally? Is an order driven by a video seen on a mobile device credited the same way universally, or does one group internally call it a “video” order while another calls it “mobile”?  

You can’t get fair credit – nor can you drive optimal value holistically – without such alignment. Synchronizing channel definitions across internal and external reporting is just the first breadcrumb on a trail worth following. Keep going!

Are your data scientists, or those at your publisher partners, teasing out the traits of the orders that get you the most internal credit? In the same way that certain trait combinations make one audience better than another, certain traits make one conversion type better than others for internal credit. Have you tested outcomes when you train your bidding algorithms to specifically go after the conversion types favored by your internal A&M?   

Standardizing definitions and using the same A&M model externally and internally can unlock significant opportunities today without the addition of any net new tech. Adopting a more standardized, holistic A&M strategy conforms to best practices while using your existing tech and talent. It simply requires a strategic plan and immediate action.

Follow Prohaska Consulting (@TeamProhaska) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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