Social Media’s Still Considered the Toughest Channel for Revenue Attribution

November 23, 2020

Ascend2 Most Difficult Channels Revenue Attribution Nov2020More than 2 in 5 (44%) marketing and sales professionals say they currently have a revenue attribution strategy in place, while a similar share either are currently rolling out such a strategy (17%) or plan to do so in the future (25%). And, while virtually all (97%) are seeing at least some level of success with a revenue attribution strategy, there are channels they find difficult to analyze, per a new report [download page] from Ascend2.

Social media was cited as the most difficult digital channel for which to attribute revenue, cited by almost half (47%) of the 270 marketing and sales professionals surveyed. This has long been an issue with social media, and could partly be explained by the fact that the most popular use of social media is in brand awareness and brand building, which tends to be more difficult to tie directly to revenue. However, revenue attribution for social media may become easier once businesses utilize the option to buy directly via social media.

Meanwhile, 4 in 10 respondents consider content marketing to be difficult to analyze for attributing marketing results to sales revenue, and is an area where marketers reportedly rely primarily on metrics such as engagement or website traffic instead of ROI.

Marketers and sales professionals also have some difficulties attributing revenue to display advertising (38%), video marketing (35%) and email marketing (33%), though fewer find it a challenge to attribute revenue to paid search (25%) and SEO (21%).

What’s Standing in the Way of Success?

Data quality (42%) is just one of the barriers to success for revenue attribution. Another 4 in 10 respondents say that successful revenue attribution is hindered by the inability to analyze marketing impact at each buyer stage — a similar challenge reported by B2B marketers earlier this year in regards to measuring the success of marketing campaigns.

Also standing in the way of successful revenue attribution are obstacles including obtaining budget and staff (36%), applying attribution technology (31%) and defining an attribution strategy (31%). To a lesser extent, some respondents report they are held back by a lack of buy-in across their organization (26%), siloed data (26%) and analyzing campaigns by channel (23%).

Revenue Attribution Leads to Alignment

Some 6 in 10 respondents indicate that their dedicated budget for revenue attribution is set to increase either significantly (25%) or moderately (34%) in the year to come.

There is good reason for the increase in revenue attribution budgets, with respondents pointing out some of the benefits of a revenue attribution strategy. By far the primary benefit indicated is an ability to make better decisions (59%), but others also point to increased campaign effectiveness (37%), increased channel effectiveness (32%), increased marketing budget (30%), attribution of ROI to marketing (29%) and executive buy-in (22%).

Although it was not the top benefit, some 43% say that implementing a revenue attribution strategy has led to better alignment between marketing and sales. And, while alignment between the business functions has been a bugbear for a long time, even as companies continue to alleviate the divide, Ascend2 found that 79% of marketers and sales professionals agree that an effective revenue program helps to eliminate friction between the two teams.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 272 marketing and sales professionals across B2B and B2C channels, 40% of whom work at companies with more than 500 employees.


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