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Closing the Mobile Attribution Gap

Marketers must avoid ‘analysis paralysis’

September 10, 2015 | Advertising & Marketing | Mobile

Cross-channel attribution has been a tough nut to crack for marketers, who hoped digital media would bring them a more trackable, more ROI-focused future. And with today’s often-circuitous path to purchase, quantifying the value of mobile marketing and media is complex and difficult. But it's not impossible, according to a new eMarketer report, “The Mobile Attribution Gap: Five Missing Links in Mobile That Make Attribution Harder.”

US Marketers Who Would Increase Investment in Select Media/Advertising Channels if Their Ability to Track ROI Improved, April 2015 (% of respondents)

A March 2015 study by Econsultancy in association with Adobe indicates that a large number of global marketers and agencies are stuck, with many not measuring the performance of their mobile marketing and media campaigns, let alone tackling attribution. The report found that 49% of the client-side marketers and 53% of agency executives polled said they did not measure mobile user engagement and mobile return on investment (ROI) at all.

Other research shows that the limited ability to track mobile ROI is holding many marketers back from increasing their mobile budgets. Seventy-nine percent of the US marketers polled in April 2015 by Millward Brown Digital said they would spend more on mobile marketing if their ability to track ROI improved.

"The way people transition between devices and mediums really puts a strain [on resources]," said Gabriella Weinstein, senior mobile product marketing manager for fashion retailer Rue La La. "We've done some internal analysis that shows consumers have to see something four times before they take action on it. So what does that mean in the paid media world? What does that mean outside of it? And how do we value each one of those engagements? It's just increasingly difficult [to answer these questions]."

The pitfall to avoid is believing there is a perfect methodology, tool or answer. "When you start going down the attribution route, you can end up in analysis paralysis," said Visual IQ's Phil Gross, vice president of product management. "Marketers can get so wrapped around the axle of 'Is the model perfect?' that they're afraid to make a decision or change the way that they market. And that's definitely a trap, because no model is perfect."

The best way to approach attribution, Gross added, is to think of it as increasing the focus on a camera. "If you're completely blurred and out of focus now, any move towards better focus is going to give you better results," he said.

eMarketer corporate subscription clients can view the full report here.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “The Mobile Attribution Gap: Five Missing Links in Mobile That Make Attribution Harder.”

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer corporate subscribers.

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