In this blog we focus on the often-overlooked topic of “attribution”. Attribution is the process of identifying the events that lead to a desired outcome. Marketing attribution enables us to understand the chain of events in the process that leads to conversion.
A common misconception is that the most significant step in this process is the “last click” or “brand touch point” . Last click attribution gives all the credit for a sale of conversion to the last step in the process. For example, a consumer may be influenced to buy a particular product by advertisements and research and reviews, but if a special offer email is the final step in the process then last click attribution would credit that email campaign with the conversion.
However, research shows that an average consumer engages with 18 types of content before making a decision! We will look at this in more detail in a future blog, but for now let’s explore some alternative attribution models.
This is a more experientially-based system of measurement, where credit is given to several touch points in the process, according to how much they are perceived to have contributed to the conversion. In this attribution model, various events in the consumer journey can then be evaluated, although this evaluation could be seen as somewhat subjective.
As more data is constantly becoming available about consumer behaviour, it is becoming increasingly possible to use algorithms and statistical models to quantify steps in the conversion path. This enables credit to be more accurately apportioned to the appropriate touch-point and provides invaluable insight – albeit usually after the event. Statistical attribution is also a significant investment in terms of both time and money.
GAME THEORY ATTRIBUTION
The Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour – by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern – was published in 1944. It laid down three principles of game theory:
rules that govern conduct
pay-offs such as win, lose or draw
strategies that influence the decision-making process.
Game theory attribution adopts these principles and uses a mathematical model to measure the true relative contribution of different events in the conversion process.
We have looked at several methods of attribution. How should you choose which one(s) to incorporate into your digital marketing strategy? You need a method that is functional and provides you with insights that are as accurate as possible to inform your digital strategy plan. A model that works mathematically and is also software-based will likely be the most effective as they enable data to be easily stored and accessed, a distinct advantage. You also need to decide what level of heuristics you want to include in your evaluation process.
Whilst the choice of attribution method is yours, there is little choice about the fact that you do need to undertake some method of attribution if you are to maximise the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy.