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GUEST COMMENT Attribution for all: advice for choosing the right tracking model for your business

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by Jon Baron

Make sure attribution management is the right thing to do for your business

It’s worth checking your analytics tools for measurable metrics, before investing in a complex attribution solution. Whilst there has been a move away from last click analysis as the absolute default, it is still commonly used among retailers, indicating that it’s important to trial various attribution models to ascertain which is best for each individual business. When it comes to attribution one size doesn’t fit all.

Get buy-in from all levels of the business

Actively gaining support and endorsement throughout the company before investing in any attribution management system is crucial to its successful working in the long run, as some tools are now aiming at usability across all levels of the organisation and not just the IT department.

The increase in understanding of the impact big data, and its importance for businesses makes mastering marketing data complexity and attribution a necessary skill for marketers looking to unlock and utilise greater amounts of data for actionable insights. Increasingly understanding of big data and its importance for businesses makes mastering marketing data complexity and attribution a necessary skill as marketers look to unlock and utilise greater amounts of data for actionable insights.

Be aware of your attribution management options

In my view, attribution management solutions fall into two categories: a tactical, point solution (for project-based, high level attribution) or a full platform solution (for operational, day-to-day attribution). With an increasing number of solutions on the market, it’s important for marketers to have a clear understanding of their own requirements and ensure they partner with a vendor that suits their needs and one which can help them solve their challenges rather than creating more.

As the very first tag management system company, it has been great to watch the impressive growth within the sector. In the near future, we will likely see increased competition with potentially aggressive claims by vendors trying to grow their market share.

Plan and get a grip on the most important, trackable variables

Once you have decided that marketing attribution is an area that you need to explore and you have a clear roadmap, choose an existing attribution framework as a starting point (e.g. commonly used attributes include recency, frequency, time on site) and identify additional factors that are relevant to your organisation and marketing efforts.

Beware mis-attribution

The percentage of the conversion value you attribute to each marketing channel can skew results. Some companies tend to over-assign credit to the last channel users interact with before making a purchase. However attribution isn’t just about taking action based on how channels contribute, it’s about learning how they contribute in the first place. That comes down to accurate tracking of where and when each channel appears in the path to conversion. Your attribution partner should help you through this initial process and provide best practice.

A continuous cycle of testing and improving is also vital to ensure any changes in your business or indeed the customer journey are taken into consideration.

Tap into your supplier’s experience

Your agencies and technology partners represent some of the best resources that you can tap into when looking for an attribution solution – they will have a good understanding of your business and have probably worked with a few attribution vendors with other clients. But be aware that some agencies have a vested interest when recommending a vendor and may not be entirely neutral.

Choose your vendor carefully

In the long term, differentiation will be important for marketers needing help to identify vendors who can provide enhanced data visualisation capabilities and the flexibility to integrate with customer platforms. Once you’ve got a feel for what’s out there and the different types of solutions available, send an RFP (request for proposal)out. Make sure that everyone’s got a good brief to work from and await their proposals. Keep in mind that it’s one thing to have great technology but when combined with proactive service and expertise, the right attribution partner can add value far beyond their cost.

Jon Baron is chief executive of TagMan

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