How Attribution Provides Transparency into Social Engagement & Revenue

@Wendy | Strategy

In a world where social media drives the integration of offline and online channels into a single marketing mix and every dollar of media spend needs to be maximized against this shift, measurement has to evolve. Marketing attribution, a tried and true approach to marketing analytics that illuminates how prospects and customers engage with a brand — across all channels — from the top of the funnel to conversion, can provide a complete picture of these interactions, and, more importantly, what is successfully driving that activity.


As a marketer, your success depends on gaining visibility into your customers’ preferences and motivating behaviors. Leveraging attribution methods to measure customer behavior — and to apply this insight into integrated marketing campaigns is what differentiates effective marketing in today’s multi-device ecosystem.

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.

Transitioning from Traditional ‘Last Click’ Measurement to Attribution

Attribution modeling can be complex and when applied, marketers delve into the effects of top-of-funnel marketing activities to:

  • Optimize their marketing mixes,
  • Gain insight into affiliate marketing effectiveness, and
  • Tune ad frequency and creative.

Digital channels such as search, social apps, and email tend to be data rich and therefore lend themselves to attribution modeling but offline channels such as TV and print are harder to track. Alas, there is no one right way to marketing attribution and the analysis is subjective in nature. The ultimate goal is to look for patterns in behavior and channel usage that can be done without enormous complexity if broken down into these four steps:

Analysis & Strategy: Collect the available data, configure channel interplay, map to campaign objectives and formulate a strategy for optimization.

  • Outline your campaign marketing goals.
  • List and collect the different sources of performance data and rank it for quality and accuracy.
  • Identify links between offline and online data sources.
  • Map the channel interplay as they align to campaign objectives.
  • Develop a strategy that includes more than one channel, targeting a specific audience, a desired outcome or business objective, and within a specific time period.

Align & Experiment: Begin to experiment with phased campaigns that are configured to test the performance of a specific strategy to see initial results and allow for continual refinement.

  • Audit your technical method for collecting, aggregating, and normalizing data (where and how to source the relevant data)
  • Identify roles and team structure, workflows, performance and goal setting and training where needed (attribution mindset, software use, approach to analysis, and applying optimization strategies).

Measure & Optimize: After the campaign runs and the data is collected, attribution results are compared with last click performance metrics to determine if the predictions were accurate.

  • Measure the efficiency and performance benefits of attribution’s depth and accuracy.
  • Refine the attribution model (e.g., campaign channels, time periods, etc.) based on the results and re-cycle the campaign to creating ever-more accurate predictions.
  • Make the case to develop and allocate budgets to support integrated marketing campaigns based on the the analysis and recommendations for maximum ROI.

How Transparency Drives Social Business

Being transparent enables a brand to pro-actively position itself in the marketplace. It takes deep analysis to understand your customers and takeholders and build a relationship based on trust — but its an investment that pays huge dividends in customer acquisition and retention if there is a concerted effort to maintain it. It’s a competitive advantage that can’t be ignored and must be considered given the availability of data and the imperative to reach your audience. You can asses your social business readiness and take the first step towards consistent and responsive customer engagement.

Additions & Feedback

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