Digital attribution is so 2009, says Google’s head of mobile ads
Google Australia’s head of mobile ads has said the way the marketing industry measures interaction in the online world is about four years behind the way consumers actually behave.
“We’re measuring online and digital interaction in, what I call, a 2009 frame. This is when you could get away with looking at products like last-click conversion, where there was more of a direct interaction between, for example, someone from a desktop site going to an ecommerce site and making a transaction,” says Jason Pellegrino, head of mobile ads, Google Australia.
Pellegrino spoke to Marketing on the launch of a new tool designed to help marketers begin the discussion of cross-channel attribution and better understand mobile’s impact, both online and off, on their bottom line.
The Full Value of Mobile initiative comprises case studies and educational material, as well as a tool that calculates, through simple equations, an estimate of the value mobile drives for businesses across multiple platforms such as apps, physical stores, phone calls and mobile sites, using data imported from AdWords and generalised data pooled by Google.
“What is happening,” says Pellegrino, “is rather than an individual moment that matters in acquiring a customer and driving them straight to a conversion, across the purchase journey there are a lot more ‘micro-moments’ that matter… abilities to engage with potential customers along the way and convince them to work towards your product or service down the chain.
“The world’s changed and in 2013 we need new measurement models and a much more complex understanding of consumer behaviour, because they’re not so much doing single interactions for an acquisition, they’re actually using the benefits they have of multiple screens and all these opportunities to continually research and refine and then work to a purchase.”
And despite the media discussion, Pellegrino says that mobile as a platform does not have an issue with conversion. “Mobile as a platform, and as a product that consumers are using to make decisions, doesn’t have a conversion problem… What its has is a measurement challenge.
“We know for example, that three out of 10 mobile searches lead to a conversion, but some of those conversions can be quite complex. For example a large number of those conversions are people walking into a store to purchase a product, so you lose some of that digital trail. A lot of marketers are waking up and moving on from having a hunch this is happening to start measuring it.”
Greater insight into cross-channel attribution is allowing brands to question prior assumptions and reframe their views on digital investment. “A great example in the US is Adidas, and iProspect, their agency, who knew this was happening and put a lot of resources into starting to measure this. What they found, for example, is a click on their store locator button on their mobile website was actually worth $3.20 to them because it led to a certain proportion of people walking into a store and then a certain proportion of those people making a purchase,” says Pellegrino.
The calculator focuses on and questions some of the data assumptions businesses should know but perhaps don’t, says Pellegrino, providing information and guidance on how to start measuring the myriad ‘micro-moments’ that occur along the way to a conversion. “What it does is really quickly gives you a structure to have think about attribution across different platforms,” he says.
“For example, [regarding] the people who walk into a store, businesses might calculate average basket size, because that’s quite an easy thing to measure. But probably what’s less measurable, but equally as important, is what proportion of people actually walk into the store and make a purchase, versus what proportion don’t.”
On the driving force behind the introduction of this tool, Pellegrino says that across the vast majority of industries people are using different screens sequentially and simultaneously to perform a variety of actions before they purchase products or services, and ‘last-click-wins’ measurement models aren’t giving the whole picture . “What this has created is a much more complex environment for agencies, business owners and marketers to really understand the value of individual interactions across different screens to making a decision around a product or service.
“We’re at ground zero, I think, of measuring online action and measuring the value of online action. This tool is one step towards it, but still is at the beginning.”