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Only 58% Of U.S. Companies Use Multichannel Attribution Despite Last-Click Being Proven Inefficient

February 22, 2019 Kathy Bryan

Only 58.3% of U.S.-based companies are using multichannel attribution, based on recent eMarketer data measuring companies that deploy digital marketing on at least one channel and have 100 employees or more. Up from 48.6% in 2017, last year was the first year more than half of companies surveyed claimed to have multichannel attribution systems in use.

attribution models US companies

In 2018, Lauren Fisher, Principal Analyst at eMarketer noted about the transition to multichannel attribution, “There’s little argument across the industry that companies need to have better insight into how their marketing dollars are being spent. But shifting from a simplistic model to a more advanced, multichannel attribution approach remains a significant undertaking for companies.”

Moving into 2019, the hurdles of shifting from last-click to multichannel attribution continue to be insurmountable for some companies for a number of reasons, including organizational silos and compensation structures. But marketers recognize the need to focus more on ROI and less on vanity measurements. In a survey of CFOs last year, more than one-third showed concern about digital marketing results being measured based on “metrics that make them look good.”

Time And Time Again, Last-Click Attribution Has Proven Ineffective

Last-click attribution has been proven ineffective at providing data to successfully optimize performance. When deployed, last-click attribution only focuses on the very last interaction with a consumer and ignores all prior touches. As a result, bottom-of-the-funnel lead generation channels benefit from last-click attribution measurements, while top-of-the-funnel awareness channels suffer from insufficient data points.

Last-Click Attribution Optimizations Often Pull Spend From Non-Branded Campaigns

In paid search, non-branded campaigns are almost always more expensive than branded campaigns because there is more competition for non-branded keywords. But non-branded campaigns help prospective customers early in their journeys and often lead to later clicks on branded keywords. Last-click attribution tracking does not show this pattern, and optimization based on last-click data may reduce the budget for non-branded campaigns.

Optimization based solely on last-click attribution can result in research days (when prospective customers search non-branded terms to learn more about purchase options) being removed from campaigns. But when this happens, the research day traffic goes to other brands, and the brands winning research traffic are then more likely to receive the future conversion traffic.

Multichannel Attribution Provides A Holistic View Of Digital Marketing Performance

Multichannel Attribution Provides A Holistic View Of Digital Marketing Performance

Multichannel attribution evaluates every touchpoint throughout the customer journey, from impression to conversion, to determine whether or not a path supported a conversion. As a result of multichannel attribution data, which should include both branding and demand-generating marketing efforts, the most popular paths to inquiry are identified.

In addition, multichannel attribution shows how significantly each component of a marketing campaign is contributing to the success of the global campaign. Data from multichannel attribution tracking allows for effective optimization of marketing efforts and ultimately leads to higher conversion rates at lower cost.

Multichannel Attribution Doesn’t Require In-House Data Scientists

When researching multichannel attribution solutions, many marketers look to in-house experts, including data scientists. But according to Brian Baumgart, CEO of Conversion Logic, a marketing analytics company, “Building attribution solutions internally by hiring data scientists will be possible only for companies that have had success building large-scale data management and science teams and are able to invest a lot more in the attribution solution than what they would have to pay if they go with an external vendor.” Sparkroom, an award-winning SaaS lead management system (and a proprietary technology of Digital Media Solutions), has solved the cross-channel attribution challenge for their users. Sparkroom connects pre-lead to post-conversion data, enabling marketers to view the full customer journey, visualize the most common customer journeys across digital channels and understand which combination of marketing channels leads prospects to inquire and convert.

Still Using Last-Click Attribution To Track Your Marketing Results?

Request a Sparkroom demo to learn how cross-channel attribution can help you optimize campaigns and maximize marketing ROI.

About the Author

Kathy Bryan

Kathy Bryan is the Chief Marketing Officer at Digital Media Solutions (DMS). In this role, Kathy is responsible for all aspects of marketing and communications for DMS, the leading global martech company leveraging innovative, performance-driven brand and marketplace solutions to connect consumers and advertisers.

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