Almost half (46%) of businesses don’t carry out any type of marketing attribution.

This is despite the fact that 89% of those that do measure attribution say it has benefited their business, with almost a third (29%) saying the benefit has been ‘major’.

The statistics come from Econsultancy and Adobe’s new Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Making Sense of Attribution.

The report, which is based on a survey of more than 700 companies and agencies carried out in October, looks at the extent to which businesses are using and benefiting from marketing attribution.

Of those that do measure attribution, a large proportion still relies on a last-click model.

The last-click-wins approach has served the digital industry well, but in an increasingly multichannel and data-driven world, a reliance solely on last click now represents a major gamble when more granular (and actionable) information is readily available.

What is holding businesses back?

So if the vast majority of businesses stand to benefit from measuring marketing attribution, why do so many companies neglect to do it?

The main reason is a lack of knowledge around what is involved and can be achieved, and technology limitations (particularly among the largest companies).

Common attribution methods

Like any marketing performance analysis tool, attribution is most effective when you define marketing goals and closely examine the typical customer journey (including the average number of touch points and time to conversion).

However, most organisations get stuck with the most common attribution models because they’re satisfied when these methods validate their current theories.

As our new report shows, last-click is still incredibly popular among businesses, however separate Adobe research showed that, for search, there is a 38% increase in the value per visitor when moving from a last-click model to first-click attribution.

This suggests that last click attribution undervalues those channels that are more influential in generating awareness rather than in triggering a purchase decision.

Our new report also looks at which methods businesses use for attribution other than last-click.

The results are quite varied between client-side and agency respondents, however first-click and custom approaches are the most popular.

David Moth

Published 28 November, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (3)

Chris Quelch

Chris Quelch, DC Storm

It’s really positive to see a comprehensive study validating the stance taken by early adopters of marketing attribution. To complement the insight into the types of model most frequently employed, we think it would be interesting to discover how many businesses attribute measures, aside from sales revenue, across their marketing channels. Over the last 2 years we have seen a definite shift away from clients attributing sales revenue to more ROI focussed measures. Integration of data sources like CRM systems, order processing software and product feeds into attribution technologies enables businesses that may have notable return rates, volatile profit margins and a focus on repeat business to attribute metrics including realised revenue, profit margin and customer value across their marketing channels.

over 5 years ago


Davina Lines, managing director at Mixing Digital

Another new method of measuring marketing attribution or the effectivessness of your online ad spend is EyeTrackShops's new realCPM biometric eye tracking tool that works through built-in webcams to create heat maps of whats actually being looked at on the page. An incredibe amount of marketing spend is wasted on ads that are never actually seen!

over 5 years ago


Jonathon Neil

I'm trying to push my employer to a more sophisticated attribution model. Currently we apply a haircut rate for each channel based on an overlap analysis of sales. However, taking it a step further and building out a full conversion path to analyze all of the touches is the big opportunity. Currently we don't know the sequence or number of touches by channel, or at least, we don't use that data. I think there are more insights hiding.

over 5 years ago

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