While marketing attribution offers many benefits for businesses, common mistakes can take place that could skew the understanding of marketing outcomes. A survey by CallRail reveals that 39% of marketers lack insights into the effectiveness of their campaigns.
Marketing today is more complex and broader than ever before. Marketers face more choices, more channels, and more customers. Attribution helps estimate the number of ad dollars spent on the number of conversions gained. This in turn helps in determining the success of advertising campaigns. Simply put, attribution helps to quantify the influence each advertising impression has on a consumer’s decision to make a purchase.
Typically, attribution data is used by marketers to plan future ad campaigns and inform the performance of previous campaigns. This is done through analyzing which ads were the most impactful as determined by metrics such as return on ad spend (ROAS) or cost per lead (CPL).
The survey indicates that 96% of marketers agree attribution is critical to informing and optimizing marketing decisions. However, with the proliferation of marketing platforms, marketers are struggling to prove which channels are effective.
The survey for the report represents 300 marketers, including 75 marketers working in agencies that serve multiple clients. Along with the marketers, CallRail also includes the participation of 1,000 U.S. consumers. These consumers researched and purchased products and services across many industries.
The goal of the survey is to determine expectations customers have when they engage with a brand across conversion points. And ultimately shed light on what marketers need to do to meet customer expectations and identify their weak points.
In the press release for the report, Mary Pat Donnellon, CRO of CallRail, explains the role attribution plays in marketing. Donnellon says, “While many marketers have attribution solutions in place for some customer journey touchpoints, we found that few have a truly holistic approach.”
Adding, “It’s important for marketers to address this gap so that they can focus attention and resources on the marketing tactics that are most valuable to their revenue growth. With every digital marketing platform offering its own set of performance data, it’s easy to understand why marketers feel overwhelmed when tackling the attribution challenge.”
Marketing Attribution Challenges
The survey found that 76% of marketers having configured attribution for online form submissions and 71% support email attribution. However, fewer marketers say they support attribution for other channels. Of these, 64% have attribution for social media conversions, 57% for phone calls and 56% for online chat. This points out massive amounts of data aren’t being looked at which could be used to improve the customer journey. In addition, 81% say their companies spend at least some of their budget on ineffective marketing tactics.
According to the survey, marketers report they are already using attribution modeling for at least a few conversion points. However, more than a third don’t have attribution capabilities for social media. Also, more than half say they don’t use phone call tracking tools. This means marketers lack attribution capabilities across conversion points, instead, they are relying on inaccurate or incomplete data to make decisions.
Final Click Attribution
The last interaction model refers to relying heavily on the go-to or final click attribution setup on web analytic tools. This only shows the final step a customer makes before making a purchase. It ignores the multiple touchpoints a customer may have had with a brand in the past. And in the end, it could misinform the way marketers allocate funds.
Say for example due to final click Facebook receives credit for a conversion that actually occurred as the result of an effective phone call or TV ad. This could prompt marketers to invest more money in Facebook ads.
Conversely, marketers might use a first interaction model crediting conversions to the first interaction the customer has with a brand. For instance, a customer might originally interact via organic search and then engage on social media and converted via a pay-per-click ad. The credit would then go to the organic search. Other mistakes, like double-counting conversions, may also result in misleading insights.
Strong Attribution Model is Incomplete Without Conversion Points
The survey advises that if businesses are not tracking calls, they should be. Across industries, phone calls are the preferred method of communication for both low-value (61%) and high-value (72%) transactions. This is because 91% of consumers are more likely to trust a business if they can easily reach a person on the phone. However, only 57% of marketers have phone call tracking capabilities enabled. Without call tracking, marketers stand to lose key opportunities to measure the pulse of their campaigns.
Another insight from the survey indicates that customers expect prompt responses. More than a third or 39% say they would abandon an attempt to contact a business, if it takes too much to respond after an initial contact.
Businesses are also suffering from tech overload. Fifty-one percent of marketers use four or more marketing platforms. And 75% of them say they spend too much time reporting on performance. Marketers with five or more solutions are even more likely to say they spend too much time reporting performance (84%).
The culprit behind the marketing attribution challenges here are multiple, incompatible platforms with often don’t integrate correctly with each other. In addition, they might be using different attribution models that provide conflicting narratives.
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Unfortunately I’m not surprised. I always tell people to get the tracking in place before spending any money.
As for the statistic that 81% spend money on marketing that wasn’t effective, that’s okay as long as you’re learning WHY it wasn’t effective. Even a failed test should have value.
Campaign tracking is important. But making sense of the data is equally important and it must be done on a continuous basis for you to know if your campaigns are getting positive results.