Marketing Attribution Modeling Now Becoming Mainstream

November 26, 2012

Marketing attribution has moved past early adoption and into an “early majority” phase, according to [download page] Econsultancy’s Quartertly Digital Intelligence Briefing, released in November 2012 in association with Adobe. 26% of clients and 36% of agencies surveyed from around the world report that they (or their clients) typically carry out marketing attribution, and an additional 28% from both camps report using last-click attribution only. That leaves a minority – 46% of clients and 36% of agencies – reporting that they do not use some form of attribution.

Just months ago, in July, Econsultancy released a report with Lynchpin, which found that only 24% of company marketers were engaging in any kind of attribution modeling, while an earlier Adobe report (from June) revealed that only 8% of digital marketers were performing attribution modeling.

Behind the increased focus on attribution are two factors: the rise of mobile, and the impact of social media. About half of client-side respondents and two-thirds of agency respondents say that mobile has driven increased focus on attribution. Both groups also agree (43% and 58%, respectively) that social media has made them take a closer look at attribution.

Adopters Cite Key Benefits

Asked if their use of marketing attribution has had any benefit, 29% of clients responding to the latest Econsultancy survey report a major benefit and 60% a minor benefit, with just 10% claiming no benefit at all. A higher percentage of agency respondents (38%) see a major benefit, and 54% a minor benefit, with 8% reporting no benefit.

Respondents identified 5 key benefits to their use of attribution. Chief among them was justifying digital spending (cited by 70% of client-side respondents), followed by building an understanding of the customer journey (66%), and optimizing the media mix (58%). Agency responses were generally in line with those of the company marketers surveyed (72%, 60% and 61% respectively).

Among forms of attribution other than last click, first click is cited most by client-side respondents (44%), followed by a custom approach (40%) and first touch (21%). 16% use a position-based or time decay approach, and 13% a linear allocation. Among agencies, custom approaches (50%) are the most popular methods outside of last click, followed by first click (28%), linear allocation (22%) and time decay (13%).

Other Findings:

  • Among client-side respondents that don’t carry out marketing attribution, lack of knowledge is the top reason for not doing so.
  • Among company marketers using attribution, email (80%), paid search (76%), and SEO (67%) are the most commonly included channels. Traditional marketing channels such as direct mail (41%), print media (23%), and TV/radio (11%) are often left out of the equation. Indeed, less than 4 in 10 company marketers and agencies say that offline touchpoints are incorporated into their attribution models

About The Data: This seventh Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing is based on an online survey of more than 700 client-side and agency respondents, carried out in October 2012. 53% of respondents were from client-side, in-house teams, and 47% from agencies, vendors or consultant organizations.


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