Garth Harris, VP client services at Cake, considers the attribution challenges that face digital marketers today.
Today’s consumers exist in a multi-screen world where everything is made available to them at the click of a button or the touch of a screen. Consumers have unlimited access to product reviews, and multiple avenues to make a purchase. In the ever-evolving digital marketing ecosystem, these same consumers often interact with more than one digital channel, such as search, social, mobile or email, before they ever complete a transaction. Customers may be scanning social media feeds on their morning commute to find something that piques their interest to then later return to that same product through a different marketing channel.
In the UK alone, more than 60 per cent of adults use at least two devices every day to access the internet and nearly 25 per cent use three devices. This adds another layer to the already complex customer journey. So how do digital marketers utilise real-time insights to make smarter investments that ultimately increase their return on ad spend?
Leveraging a multi-touch attribution strategy, digital marketers gain an understanding of the events that influence individuals to engage in a desired behavior.
As a result, marketers are faced with more choices than ever about where and how to invest their digital advertising dollars to reach their customers. Making smart decisions require accurate, real-time insight about the customer journey – specifically, how the mix of channels and device engagement strategies move consumers through the marketing funnel. With digital ad spend in the UK expected to increase by 11 per cent this year, fuelled by mobile and search, marketers can’t risk missing out on this growing market share.
Determining attribution along the winding road of the customer journey is no easy feat – especially when it comes to cross-channel and cross-device efforts. According to Econsultancy and AdRoll’s “State of Marketing Attribution” report, optimising the digital media mix is still an imperative goal for 2017, but the main struggle is the interpretation of data through a lack of knowledge and technology limitations.
In addition to these limitations, digital marketers are constantly faced with three big attribution challenges.
As consumers switch across devices, most analytics platforms that rely solely on cookie-based tracking will be unable to identify users as they move from one device to another, making it near impossible to view the entire customer journey. With missing cross-device data points, insights derived from your analytics will be fragmented and inaccurate. To overcome this issue and gain accurate customer journey insights, digital marketers should utilise an analytics platform that supports cross-device user identification that connects to the touchpoints across all devices, even offline ones.
Measuring in-app activity
Digital marketers find it difficult to attribute mobile installs and connect user engagement insights from in-app activity back to multichannel marketing campaigns. To overcome these difficulties, digital marketers need to leverage an analytics platform that can measure mobile app interactions as a part of the overall customer journey, from the initial social ad to mobile app install and account creation, back to the end conversion point on the website.
Outdated last-touch attribution models
Many marketers still focus on just “last touch” attribution, but advertisers today need to consider how their digital marketing campaigns perform on multiple digital channels. Only multi-touch attribution modeling can further pinpoint every action a customer takes before downloading your app or purchasing your goods or services, and provide you with a myriad of insightful analytics and optimisation opportunities.
As a result of multi-touch and cross-device attribution challenges, marketing technology has had to evolve to provide solutions to these common challenges which includes real-time insights about the customer journey across all digital channels and devices.
Garth Harris is VP client services at Cake