How Attribution Modeling Helped Bonobos Cut Marketing Costs and Double Sales
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.
"When it comes to attribution modeling, we really think of it as a story or a narrative," says Elbert. "It helps us learn how new customers discovered our brand and what were their interactions along the path to making their first purchases. For existing customers, it helps us learn what brought them back and pushed them over the edge to make additional purchases."
Bonobos had been using a form of attribution modeling since it was founded in 2007, but it relied on Google Analytics, which measured attribution on "a last-click basis," says Elbert. In the summer of 2012, however, after the company increased its media spend with more display and other types of online advertising, it decided to take a more proactive approach to attribution modeling and began working with Convertro, a marketing attribution software provider.
"We would get results back from specific online advertising campaigns and find that our cost per acquisitions weren't hitting our target," recalls Elbert. "So we'd go back to the content provider, media provider or whomever we purchased media from and let them know, but their retort was always, ‘You exposed yourself to a lot of new customers who may not have converted immediately, but they will convert eventually.’ We wanted to test that hypotheses. We wanted to have data to show them we didn't think this was happening."