• Multi-touch attribution isn’t just a box to be ticked. Part art, part science, it’s essential to constantly evaluate and evolve attribution methods.

    In a recent webinar from RampUp’s Virtual Summit, David Cole, Chief Analytics Officer at Acxiom, and Scott Richardson, Principal Consultant at  Acxiom, explain and demonstrate the latest evolution: people-based multi-touch attribution. For the basics, continue reading—and for the complete experience, watch the webinar.

    The Evolution of Attribution

    Historically, there have been two different approaches to attribution. Marketing mix models, the first approach, have been around for 20 years, and look at media spend and impressions from a top-down, aggregated level.

    This is great for assigning value to specific channels in the traditional, non-addressable media landscape, but it doesn’t offer marketers the benefit of knowing whether or not any given individual saw a specific ad.

    As digital marketing spends have drastically increased in the last ten years, advanced measurement techniques have emerged that leverage the wealth of online and offline data available to marketers.

    Attribution techniques are a bottom-up approach for addressable media that look at individual interactions—not only that an email was sent to an individual, but whether it was viewed, opened, and clicked-through—in conjunction with additional consumer touchpoints. This approach is much more granular and can uncover the customer journey at the individual level, as opposed to only seeing activity on the channel level.

    “In multi-touch attribution, we should be striving to identify individuals as opposed to looking at cookies and devices. By looking at only cookies, devices, or IP addresses, you’re missing a big part of the story—we don’t just use one device,” explains Richardson.

    People-based multi-touch attribution is the latest evolution that achieves just that, using CRM data to identify and track consumers beyond cookies and device IDs. This method is omnichannel and cross device, making it the most powerful and accurate attribution method available to date.

    How To Approach It

    “If somebody tells you that they have the perfect multi-touch attribution approach that handles every single use case, it’s just not possible. In three to five years, there may be an industry standard, but even that gold standard will potentially have downsides,” says Cole.

    Given that, best practice today is to have multiple approaches in your pocket.

    Every process is a little different, but there are always similarities. After establishing goals and assessing the current state of marketing affairs, the bulk of the work comes in gathering and analyzing all the available data from the CRM database, devices, display logs, promotion history, and any other available sources.

    As is the case with anything involving optimization, segmentation makes it better. “By first leveraging what we know about the actual consumer to develop segments, we can then create multi-touch attribution models that are more accurate,” says Richardson.

    This allows marketers to see a specific customer’s personalized experience, starting from the very first marketing touchpoint and ending with their ultimate conversion.

    What You Can Expect To Get

    At the end of the day, whichever attribution model you use will allow you to compare actual marketing performance to your projections and see optimal media spends as well as projected revenue. From here, you can adjust budgets to optimize impact.

    That insight is the sole reason we do attribution in the first place. Brands that know which of their marketing efforts are driving the most impact for, or which sequence of touchpoints is most likely to lead to a conversion, will win over more prospects and keep customers engaged throughout their journey. To learn more about people-based multi-touch attribution, watch our webinar for an in-depth introduction.

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