One Question: Why Is Cross‑Channel Attribution Important To The Marketer?

One QuestionOften, a question doesn’t have an easy answer in the digital advertising business. This is a column devoted to an answer to a single question – and providing a bit of space for it.

Today’s participant is David Skinner, SVP Client Solutions / Account Management at [x+1], an online targeting platform. He recently answered the following question during a conversation with…  Why is cross‑channel attribution important to the marketer?

DS: It’s important for several reasons. 

One is just from the accountability standpoint. It’s the expectation that your marketing is going to be measurable and you’re going to be able to associate an ROI with it -certainly in digital –and, ideally across other channels. It’s the “executive mandate,” if you will, that you’ve got to put an ROI around the marketing you’re doing.

Another reason cross-channel attribution is important is because media channels all interact. As a consumer, we know how we consume media. You can be watching a commercial during a TV show and then you’ll do a search on it. Or, you may do a search and then come upon a display ad -and then come back to the site.

Now, marketers know all these channels interact, too, but what they haven’t had is a way to really understand how and what are the synergies, -and how to run a TV with online display or TV with search at the same time so that they help one another. Most measurement, at least today, is really by channel. And that’s not an accurate way of looking at things.

Finally – and this is particularly relevant to the direct marketing folks – in competitive environments, better attribution will given one marketer an advantage over another. Let’s say a Verizon and a Time‑Warner are both trying to sign you up for their cable TV business. Or, a Chase and a Citibank are both trying to get you to apply for their credit card.  To perform well in the market, the marketer is going to need to be able to see what’s working out across all channels. That’s attribution at its core.

One more thing I’d like to add is that the consistency of message is critical. Whether the marketer sees the consumer in their retail store, or on their website, or even via an incoming call, all of these messages need to be consistent. The marketer needs to be able to give the consumer that same offer, that same message across channels.

The consistency of customer experience cross‑channel is as important as the measurement side of it.

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  1. Thanks David. Looking forward to more insightful posts on here as we all finally realize that Last Click is Dead!I’ve said it before – Attribution is something everyone will be talking about in 2011 or slapping the sticker on their product offering to keep up. However – ‘what’ we are talking about needs to be unified ( EG – calling it ‘multi-TOUCH attribution’ not ‘multi channel’ attribution) and Im looking forward to more articles on this in the near future. Your example, of Verizon / Time Warner is a great point. To look deeper – what search agency, marketer or even DSP looks at any competitive action going on at the same time or prior to their campaign is being optimized? Truly? EG- Was there a great uplift in SEO/SEM activity for Verizon in online channels, simply because TimeWarner was spanking lots of cash on TV that week creating competitive research? Do you fly blind and congratulate the Search Agency on job well done – or look deeper to see ‘why’ this happened and then unearth that competitive activity? Beyond advertising channels – what about onsite activity/touches? LivePerson for example? If there was not someone online for Live Chat after hours, did we see a drop in conversions because that ‘assisted part of attribution’ was not available. Chris Brinkworth CMOTagMan IncTag Management System with real-time attribution

    • David Skinner

      Hi Chris, thanks for the comment. I like the ‘multi-touch attribution’ label. I agree — we are in very early days for attribution as far as marketers’ own data all being in one place… much less being reported on… much less being used to make a decision. But I have a few examples of Fortune 100 marketers getting the data in one place. And thats the starting point. Now to make it relatively easy and economical to do something with. It won’t go anywhere without that. And true, I’ve seen competitor activity tested in econometric models but not in any campaign planning or measurement. Though it should be, its pretty available.