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Divergent views trail attribution technology, professionals urge multi-touch model

As more marketing channels and tactics emerge, it is becoming increasingly difficult for digital marketers to see real impact and calculate incremental reach of their digital campaigns.

Although digital marketing has transformed the way businesses promote their products and services by allowing them to reach a wider audience and track performance in real-time, defending ad spend, optimizing ROI, and avoiding last-click biases have topped concerns for marketers. 

“I see so many companies spending way too much on their digital ads – thinking this is the easiest way to drive more leads and ultimately, more revenue,” says Deanna Shimota,” CEO of GrowthMode Marketing. 

For Shimota, this thinking is flawed.

She continues: “A prospect isn’t buying an enterprise software solution from an ad impression. In reality, the buyer journey takes many more touches and much deeper connections than a few digital ad impressions can provide. I’m not saying digital ads shouldn’t be part of the marketing equation, but it most definitely should be approached with a smart strategy and a realistic expectation.”

Meanwhile, some other marketing professionals have argued that these measurements and tracking methods have prevented marketers from getting creative as it turns every campaign into a “dull direct-response lead generation machine”. In their arguments, they posited that companies have set up their attribution models in outdated ways that rely on trackable digital events that get measured by software based attribution, therefore making it hard for marketers to do anything other than direct response transactional lead generation.

Karina disagrees with the assertion that marketing automation kills creativity.

“All these creative directors these days go to Cannes Lions and see that all the awards are going to digitized marketing strategies – it is not enough to create one successful ad and launch it on national TV – we live in a highly personalized era where generation Z & Alpha are online and they no longer lean to brands that tell them what to wear and how, they choose brands that inspire creativity – that’s why brands like L’oreal are investing in VR and launching highly personalized campaigns in Snapchat.”

All of these require creativity, she said, adding that every marketer knows a good digital marketing strategy has to be based on solid numbers which cannot be achieved without attribution and media media channel audience analysis. 

For Karina Paramonov, senior enterprise customer success manager, modern advertising requires personalization and therefore marketers need to research their audience better, with a deeper understanding of their motivation and needs in order to design more creative and personalized ads.

This includes augmented reality campaigns, deep-linking and a combination of leveraging owned media as well as a carefully crafted influencer strategy in order to become a top brand in the consumers’ mind.

“All these things are very much digital and very much trackable, and attributable; and the only way to see the real impact and calculate incremental reach of each element separately and in a whole is by using unbiased attribution technology – otherwise a marketer will only be throwing his/her money in the air,” she added.

Helen Akue, a brands and marketing communications professional agrees.

Akue believes that an unbiased attribution model will help digital marketers to see the true value of their campaigns and optimize their strategy.

“One of the biggest advantages of using unbiased attribution technology is that it can help you avoid the pitfalls of “last-click bias”. This is where all the credit is given to the final touchpoint, even if it had little impact on the customer’s decision to convert. By using a multi-touch attribution model, you can see the true value of each touchpoint and adjust your strategy,” she adds.

According to Akue, an unbiased attribution technology can also help marketers to optimize ad spend and ROI. 

She notes: “By focusing on the elements that are driving the most conversions, you can allocate your budget more effectively and achieve a higher return on investment. This can help you get the most out of your digital marketing efforts and grow your business more efficiently. To calculate incremental reach using unbiased attribution, marketers need to use a multi-touch attribution model.”

“This means tracking and assigning credit to every touchpoint along the customer journey, from the first impression to the final conversion. There are several different models to choose from, including linear, time-decay, and algorithmic. Each model has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your business objectives and customer behavior.”

Micheal Zaitsev, Appsflyer managing director, Africa and CIS believes that the Nigerian market is working on the 25% potential of its abilities; however, from a standpoint of other emerging markets and particularly CIS, Nigeria is poised to achieve the same goals in a much shorter period.

“We are talking about education, guts, and global targeting. Achieving these goals without a data-centric mind and data approach is impossible,” Zaitsev notes.

Tony Flores, a B2B SaaS marketer thinks that cross referencing self-reported attribution with other forms of attribution is the entire premise of the Hybrid attribution model.

He said: “In B2B SaaS, there are hundreds of moments of influence across weeks and months before a purchase decision is made, both offline and off.

Even the most robust programmatic attribution models will only pick up a handful of touch points, but still won’t tell you anything about the touch points influence on the purchase decision. Adding one more data point – SRA – doesn’t address this broader issue with attribution and its role in strategic decision making.

Unbiased attribution technology is a way of assigning credit to each element of a digital campaign based on its contribution to the final outcome. This is different from traditional last-click attribution, which gives all the credit to the final touchpoint and ignores the impact of earlier touchpoints along the customer journey. By using unbiased attribution, marketers can see which elements are really driving conversions and adjust their budget and strategy.

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