In the digital world we live in today, the average shopper uses at least three devices to access the internet. Across those devices, consumers encounter numerous types of engagement from retailers — promotional text messages, email offers, product ads, etc. The path to purchase has become so complicated that it's almost impossible to determine which touchpoint triggers a customer's purchase. As a result, attribution is an increasingly challenging feat for retailers, and many are relying on old-school models that simply aren't effective for omnichannel shoppers.
Attention to attribution is skyrocketing because in many companies reporting has been set up so that every channel claims 100 percent of the final sale, even when their efforts were only partially responsible. This "double counting" of converted traffic has led to inflated marketing channel reports and, more importantly, has companies overpaying for sales and leads.
The concept of attribution modeling isn't overtly sexy. It enables marketers to look at a variety of ads that contribute to a sale or conversion over an extended period of time and then attribute credit to each ad or "touchpoint" within the sales funnel. After I learned about how omnichannel men's apparel brand Bonobos uses attribution modeling to cut its marketing costs and double sales, the concept downright sizzles. I had a chat recently with Craig Elbert, the vice president of marketing at New York City-based Bonobos, and got the skinny about the company's attribution modeling program.
For brands selling and marketing to consumers in multiple channels simultaneously, attributing orders to the marketing channel responsible for generating a purchase is a problem that's been vexing retailers for years. In a session at this week's eTail East conference in Philadelphia, a panel of retailers (and one vendor) discussed how their companies handle the troublesome task of order attribution.