One of the holy grails for digital marketers is to be able to calculate the effectiveness of each stage of a customer journey and to optimise it to increase sales.

While some would have hoped that the often-cited quote attributed to Lord Leverhulme would become a relic of the past, unfortunately companies are still struggling to measure their customer journeys.

For Econsultancy’s Online Measurement and Strategy Report, published in association with Lynchpin, we asked marketers whether they had a framework for analysing customer journeys that cross online and offline.

Although having a framework in place doesn’t necessarily mean that a company will suddenly gain insights that have an effect on the bottom line, it is a sign that there has been some thought on what questions need to be asked, along with what data is to be collected, and how it will be processed and interpreted in order understand what is happening during the customer journey.

Disappointingly, the proportion of companies who state that they have such a framework in place has decreased from 22% to 19%

Following the question about analysing and offline journeys, we also asked companies whether they (or a supplier on their behalf) perform any attribution modelling.

With increasing device and channel proliferation and consumers researching their products in often non-linear ways, being able to attribute marketing efforts properly allows the effective targeting of marketing budgets across various media.

Unfortunately, the proportion of companies performing attribution modelling has not significantly increased in the past year, with just 25% of companies stating that they do any kind of attribution modelling.

In order to gain a better picture of what might be holding companies back from moving towards best practice, we asked respondents to state what their main frustrations in managing web analytics. As well as the ‘poisoned chalice’ of increasing data, resourcing (both in terms of staff and budget) came up as a common theme.

While finding the right staff has been also highlighted as a limiting factor in the report, one other issue that emerges after looking into the responses is that organisational issues are another common frustration.

There is one team in charge of web analytics - not a marketing team - so for the marketing colleagues it is a fight to try and extract data from the analytics team.

Huge and siloed organisations, complexity of aged infrastructure and sites, legal policies

Getting management agreement on goals.

Education of senior management in understanding the benefit of an integrated digital performance management process.

In order to track the customer journey across multiple channels (whether online or offline), and attribute a value to each stage of the process, different departments and stakeholders need to come together to identify what data needs to be shared and interpreted.

In large organisations with multiple brands and products being managed by different departments, all of whom may be using different combinations of channels and media, this task can easily become very complicated. Companies need to consider their organisational structures when it comes to gaining insights and making decisions based on data.

What are your thoughts?

Does your company or client have a framework for analysing customer journeys that cross online and offline? Do you or your clients perform any attribution modelling? What challenges have you faced, and what strategies and tactics can you recommend? Share your views below.

Andrew Warren-Payne

Published 11 July, 2012 by Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne is a former analyst at Econsultancy and is now Managing Director at Market2Marketers. Follow him on Twitter or Google+

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Comments (6)

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Stephane Hamel

Stephane Hamel, Director, Strategic Services at Cardinal Path

Couple of points on this topic:
- first off, an easy one... I'm not surprised by the organizational issues you mention!

- while presenting the topic of attribution to a marketer audience mostly focused on PPC campaigns, I was shocked when some of them said "this is a complex topic" - it is, but isn't attribution one of the core underlying concept of marketing, marketing mix and optimization?! It's easy to blindly "market", it's a lot harder to be a good marketer!

- the other aspect is the shiny object syndrome... it is tempting to venture in attribution modeling, but few people actually have the knowledge and intimate understanding of their business environment to be able to define a custom attribution model.

- Google is once again doing a good job at raising awareness with its Attribution Modeling tool in GA Premium - even those using a competing solution or who don't have Premium have probably heard more about attribution in the past few months then ever before.

Stéphane Hamel, MBA, CWA
Director, Strategic Services
Twitter: @SHamelCP | @CardinalPath

about 6 years ago

Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne, Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy

Thanks for your comment Stephane. Indeed, organisational issues seem to come up time and time again in these studies, which along with a lack of resources appear to be holding things back.

Brian Clifton summarised his takeaways from the report on his blog (see ), and one of the key points that he highlighted was that analytics as a process (i.e. what analysts are doing) is failing to keep up with analytics as an industry (i.e what analysts could do if they fully utilised the technology).

I would say that attribution is one of the victims here, particularly with companies showing no real increase in staffing over the past year.

about 6 years ago


Victoria Zhang, Director, Customer Insights and Analytics at Shutterfly

Thanks for confirming many of my observations in the report. One thing I would like to add is the lack of leaders with cross-discipline knowledge - tagging, data, web analytics, marketing analytics, advanced analytics, marketing operations, optimization, well as the political savvy to align goals and resources. The type of integration mentioned in your report does not organically happen.


about 6 years ago


Perry Braun

Attribution Modelling is scary to a lot of clients who have built up years of 'last click' channel data (such as PPC), to then move to a model where ROI is measure on consumer behaviour can through up some staggering insights. Media agencies should be concerned with how attribution modelling will affect their business or accounts because historically digital media has relied on the last click wins model. However, with a lot of marketers and brands concerned about how to measure the effect of social media and other untraditional ROI channels, attribution modelling allows all digital investment to be equally measured based on customer engagement. At last there is a fair playing field for all digital channels!

about 6 years ago

Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne, Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy

Thanks for your comment Victoria. Exactly the kind of issues that you mention we highlighted in our Organisational Structures and Resourcing Best Practice Guide. This spoke about the need for T-shaped people (i.e. those who mix a broad, cross-discipline awareness with deep knowledge in a core area).

I think the diverse skillset called for in great web analysts is not only one hard to find, but there seems to be not a great deal of focus on investing in web analysts to grow them into T-shaped people, let alone putting them into positions where they can start to command influence and make the changes that insight shows are necessary. Unfortunately I think it will be some time before companies get to this stage.

Neil Perkin wrote a blog post on this topic, as well as writing the organisational structures report.

about 6 years ago

Dave Trolle

Dave Trolle, Head of Performance Marketing at Summit Media

The primary issue that our retail clients are facing is accuracy of data. With multiple tracking systems being used to track marketing efforts and site performance, validating which data source is correct is the key initial step. A key second step is to ensure all sales are de-duped, ensuring that a sale is not paid for twice. Although these may be seen as trivial hygiene steps, moving to an alternative attribution model cannot be done without this being carried out.

Summit has developed a framework to guide clients through these painful steps, enable additional metrics such as offline sales to be tracked and ensure that multiple stakeholders understand the impact of moving from a last click wins to a bespoke weighted model.

about 6 years ago

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