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Attribution: how leading marketers use campaign results to plan new strategies

Technology & Data

Attribution: how leading marketers use campaign results to plan new strategies


At a recent Marketing breakfast panel, industry leaders discussed first- and last-click attribution, online campaigns and how they measure successes and failures.

Earlier this year, Marketing and event partner AdRoll hosted the ‘Retail Rising’ breakfast Q and A. Guest panellists Jonas Katzellenbourg, head of strategy at Urban, Alexa Lundin, head of marketing at Specialty Fashion Group and AdRoll CEO Ben Sharp discussed attribution models, and how they measure campaign results and use them to better understand consumers. Read their response to the question ‘are discount sales still relevant or have they lost all value when engaging consumers?’ Here »


How do you measure the results of online advertising?

Jonas Katzellenbourg, head of strategy, Urban

jonasOne of the things we need to start doing is to stop thinking like marketers, who have very basic tools when it comes to actually measuring things. It’s ‘how many sales did I get through the door? How many footprints in the store?’

We need to be thinking more like economists. There are so many sophisticated models out there that can actually tell you exactly what the value of your TV is, what your digital assets are. If you look at them in comparison together, it’s really helpful in understanding the value of the customer that you have now, the value of the channel it came through, but it can also help you find your next customer.

I’m going to jump ahead on this point. The most frustrating thing that I hear every day is ‘we know who our customers are.’

Great. Who is your next customer? And the customer after that? And the customer after that?

You need to be thinking as much about tomorrow as about today. The maths is out there for you to do this. It just requires finding a partner to help you and do that for you.


Alexa Lundin, head of marketing, Specialty Fashion Group

AlexaWe at SFG don’t do a large amount of advertising. We do some TV and predominantly it’s digital. We play in that space.

Really, for us, it’s more about last-click attribution. It’s not all about first-click attribution. That’s the easiest way for us to manage it internally. In terms of advertising overall, and gaining new customers, we see a really good benefit from social. We’ve seen better conversion rates than we see on traditional PPC media. It’s a really hard time for us in terms of juggling media budgets, versus retention budgets, versus acquisition. New customers are really, really important. For us, what we’ve done is try to build lookalike models together with our CRM team.

Who are our current customers and how do we actually try to find some of the like-minded ones? We use that through Facebook and so forth. I think there is definitely a place to be building and thinking about who a new customer is, because ultimately, when you get a target of another 20% year on year growth, with a similar budget, everyone’s being squeezed. You have to think differently.


Does the focus on last-click attribution influence your marketing in any active way?

Alexa Lundin: Not hugely. For us, it’s just about ROI and the different channels that it brings. We are definitely a more traditional retailer. Emails are still a huge part.

Customers still don’t want to hand over an email address, which I think is daft. I still look at our reports on Autograph, and we get new members every week, but only 40% of them give us an email address. Actually, it’s really challenging from that perspective, because you’re driving new people, but how can you talk with them and build that relationship with them?


Ben Sharp, managing director, AdRoll

BenAttribution is challenging for everyone. It’s really interesting to hear that you measure a lot of your success on last-click. We’ve done a whole heap of research at AdRoll on our customer base in the industry, which actually shows that the vast majority of marketers do still measure success for their campaigns on a last-click basis, but, as many of them that use last-click also say it’s an outdated and inefficient metric for measuring success.

Why is that?

Do people not know what the other alternatives are in the world of attribution? Is it a really difficult concept to try to sell further up the chain inside your businesses? Is it laziness? Not to be critical of anyone, but how can one actually figure out how to think about attribution in a really different way?

There are so many ways of thinking about attribution, because when you run a campaign, or a multitude of campaigns to engage an audience to attract people in the first place, not many people actually click on an ad. We know that only about 16% of consumers online actually click on ads. If you’re measuring and then optimising your campaigns based on those people who are actually clicking on ads, you’re probably doing your campaign and overall strategy a complete disservice.

On the other elements of attribution – if I tie this back to how we think about things at AdRoll – it might help re-think part of your strategy. We offer the opportunity for people to look at both post-view conversions, in the AdRoll platform but also pure conversions. It’s really important to think about those people you’ve influenced on the consumer journey, to engage with you in some form that may not ever click on an ad but they still convert as a result of campaigns that you’ve run.

They’re really important consumers to measure. Attribution is really important. View focus, click focus, but also, think about what the different platforms are, or partners that you’re working with in the marketing space, so that you are treating all of them equally and optimising your campaigns for the right level of success.


Alexa Lundin: To add to that, it’s challenging when you’re using multiple agencies and platforms. I know I certainly don’t have the knowledge: I’ve studied marketing, I’ve learned e-commerce over the years. It does come back to knowledge of how to do it differently. Which agency do you trust? I’m using one for my PPC, I’m using one for retargeting, I’m using this one for… Far out! This one says that, that one says this, and it’s like ‘OK, well I’ll go to Google and try and figure it out.’

It’s OK, to be honest. Maybe there is something within the industry that they need to be helping us with and teaching us, and creating a tool. Maybe there is the space, something a tech company can provide, something that marketers can actually use.

It is really, really challenging.


Ben Sharp: Challenging and expensive. If you look at the new Google Audience product it’s initially free. But the cost of that scales astronomically. These are not enterprise-level products that are available for every retailer.

It’s not just the price point of buying it off the shelf and putting it into place. It’s basically going ‘if I get all this extra data, what do I need to do with it?’

Inside a relatively small retailer, what’s your focus? Your focus is probably not crunching a whole heap of data. It’s going ‘OK, I’ve got sales staff out there, I need to drive footfall into store or people to my website, and I need to convert them.’

So, that data science compartment is almost like a completely different part of business. It’s very important. Lots of challenges there.


Jonas Katzellenbourg: The size and scope of marketing teams has to change. Whether you do it internally or externally with a partner, like what we do, the whole goal now is to really be able to look at the data in brand new ways.

If you can’t do it yourself, then you are doing yourself a disservice by not bringing someone else in to really make it happen and to really understand what that data tells you.

It’s also often an objective point of view that gives you an entirely different understanding of what is going on and why, what those causes are. Sometimes someone else applying a slightly different model or having a comparative data set to really run it can fundamentally change the way you go about your business and why.


Marketing‘s next Q & A event, ‘Avoid the Holiday Horror’, will ask top B2C marketers how they plan for the December season. It’s free, register now!



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