Retailers Use Attribution Modeling to Measure the Touchpoints Driving Sales - eMarketer

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Retailers Use Attribution Modeling to Measure the Touchpoints Driving Sales

Modeling helps assign value to touchpoints

May 28, 2013

Today’s digital consumer is exposed to a huge number of marketing messages via display ads, search, email, mobile, social media and other sources along the path to purchase. But until recently, many retailers mainly paid attention only to customers’ “last click”—an approach that ignores all other marketing touchpoints that lead to a transaction, according to a new eMarketer report, “Multichannel Attribution: What Retailers Need to Know.”

Now, however, some retailers are deploying complex multichannel attribution solutions, with Big Data power, to measure the performance of their marketing efforts. But the numbers are still small. According to an October 2012 survey conducted by Econsultancy and Adobe, only 26% of companies worldwide used advanced forms of marketing attribution—ones that go beyond simple last-click analysis.

Agencies and Companies* Worldwide that Use Marketing Attribution, Oct 2012 (% of respondents)

However, retailers are under extreme pressure to better understand which marketing tactics are driving sales, so it is not surprising that more companies consider attribution modeling to be a priority.

A January 2013 survey by MarketingSherpa found that some 28% of marketers worldwide indicated that measuring attribution across channels is an important analytic objective in 2013.

Important Objectives for Marketing Analytics in 2013 According to Marketers Worldwide (% of respondents)

While sophisticated attribution modeling is complex, its potential benefits are relatively straightforward. Marketers can tap into advanced analytics to better understand the effects of top-of-funnel marketing activities; optimize their marketing mixes; gain insight into affiliate marketing effectiveness; and tune ad frequency.

Email and paid search are some of the easiest channels to include in attribution programs. But there are still a number of digital and offline channels that businesses are hardly tracking, such as TV, mobile and print media, according to the Econsultancy and Adobe survey.

Channels Included in Their Marketing Attribution According to Companies* Worldwide, Oct 2012 (% of respondents)

The challenge is not only finding ways to track hard-to-measure channels but also how granular to get when defining them.

The dream of retailers and attribution solutions vendors alike is to know every single touchpoint that influences a consumer on the path to purchase. Vendors are working to incorporate mobile data and offline ads into their engines. They are also complementing their media-centric data with external data sets that provide insights into customer behavior and intent.

The full report, “Multichannel Attribution: What Retailers Need to Know” also answers these key questions:

  • What can retailers worldwide learn from applying attribution modeling?
  • What are the limitations of attribution modeling, and how can retailers compensate?
  • What are the differences between rules-based and algorithmic modeling?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.


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