A Marketer’s Guide to Optimizing Multitouch Attribution for Long-Term Growth
The journey a consumer takes to make a purchase is just that, a journey. This is a result of the expanse of media outlets marketers have at their disposal to reach prospective customers at the right place and time with the most relevant messaging. That being the case, it raises the question of, which interactions contributed to the final decision? Was it the most recent paid placement, the first, or some combination of them all?
Understanding this journey and the contribution of each step in the process is vital to assessing performance as a collective effort across all channels. Marketing leaders can use multitouch attribution to track each step on the path to conversion, gaining critical insights needed for optimizing their marketing investment.
First, What is Attribution?
Marketing attribution is the process by which advertisers assign the value of conversions to their marketing investments. The objective is to identify the most impactful attributes (i.e., audiences, channels, and messaging), leverage this insight to maximize performance, and develop a strategy toward sustainable growth. Marketing attribution informs your budgetary decisions, showing which tactics and touchpoints are worth higher investment and which ones should be eliminated.
Two common approaches to attribution are single-touch and multitouch, with multitouch attribution (MTA) offering the most holistic view. Single-touch approaches typically assume either the first or last interaction with a customer was the sole contributor to the outcome and has been in place since the inception of measuring marketing impact. Modern-day marketing strategies have a need to understand the complexity of a customer journey, and multitouch attribution is the solution.
A multitouch attribution model ingests data from touchpoints throughout the customer journey across a variety of platforms, tactics and channels. These observations are used to determine the probability each touchpoint involved in the journey had an influence on the outcome. The result is a view of how each marketing effort contributed and offers an unduplicated perspective on performance across media platforms and vendors.
Empowered by this insight, a retailer's entire marketing mix can be optimized toward a common goal.
MTA Drives Long-Term Growth
Although multitouch attribution provides visibility into short-term marketing performance, its impact on your long-term bottom line is undeniable. In addition to attributing value across channels, it offers insight into the role that different channels play in the purchase journey. Marketers will often find that certain channels serve the purpose of starting the conversation with prospective customers while others nurture the consideration phase of the journey and aid the final decision-making stage. While this is widely accepted as a theory, the multitouch approach can illustrate this through data and give marketers the confidence to decide where in the journey they need to invest based on whether business objectives are calling for short-term impact or long-term brand and revenue growth.
In closing, switching to a multitouch attribution approach can be a game changer for a business. A critical step in the process will be ensuring a commitment to the process across the organization. This change can completely alter the perspective of a marketing mix, and having everyone prepared will offer the greatest chance of long-term success.
Jared Harrington is chief operating officer at Media Culture, a multichannel brand response media agency that drives growth for global clients with innovative and performance-driven media campaigns.
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Jared Harrington is Chief Operating Officer at Media Culture, a multichannel brand response media agency that drives growth for global clients with innovative and performance-driven media campaigns. He oversees the daily operations of the agency. Throughout his 14 years of experience in the industry, Jared has built and led teams of Analysts, Data Scientists and Software Developers to support the pursuit of providing the latest measurement solutions to businesses across all major categories.