Though the headline might suggest it, I'm not going to draw a tawdry analogy.

Simply, let's look at a few charts from Econsultancy's new report, the State of Marketing Attribution in the UK, France and Germany, published in association with AdRoll.

66% of companies undertake some form of attribution and analyse their results

The headline statistic is a heartening one. 66% of company respondents said they carry out attribution on all or some campaigns and analyse the results.

Though the agency sample size is a third of that for company respondents, a disparity is notable in the results, with agencies less confident of their clients' competence.

Nearly a fifth of agency respondents (18%) say their clients are carrying out attribution but are not sure how to effectively analyse results.

marketing attribution

UK companies not particularly confident of agency impartiality in attribution

24% of company respondents said they use their media agency to carry out marketing attribution.

Respondents could select multiple options here, with vendor technology the most popular (51%), followed by custom-built tech (44%) and spreadsheets/manual (42%).

Of those respondents that said they used their media agency for attribution, UK companies were particularly sceptical when it comes to impartiality.

32% of UK respondents said they were 'not very confident' of their agency's impartiality when it comes to marketing attribution, and a further 44% were only 'quite confident'.

This is quite startling, and speaks to the pressing need for transparency and accountability in media agency land (amid reports of overcharging and lack of strategy/skills).

trust in agencies

Display feels the wrath of attribution

When respondents were asked what channels they include in their marketing attribution, email (71%) and display (64%) were clear favourites.

These were followed by content (58%), paid search (55%), social (54%), affiliate (52%), paid social (42%), SEO (41%), mobile apps (25%) and video (24%).

And the result of this marketing attribution analysis?

28% reported they were increasing spend across all or some channels, 46% reported decreasing spend across all or some channels.

What is particularly striking though is that of those decreasing budgets based on attribution analysis, over half (54%) report doing so for display advertising (see chart below).

Again, this stat shows that companies are intent on gaining more oversight of channels such as display, which may have previously seemed like a black box to some clients or a line added to a media plan.

decrease budget attribution

This is just a taster from this new report, but there's plenty more revealing data to dig into and many tangential conclusions to be made about the state of measurement and media in digital marketing.

Subscribers can download the report now.

Ben Davis

Published 26 September, 2016 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

You'll be aware of the recent problem where, "Facebook has overestimated how much video people have watched for the last two years, the firm has admitted. One advertiser suggested that, in some cases, video viewing statistics had been overestimated by up to 80%" - BBC.

This went on for years, although any of facebook's clients could have detected and reported the discrepency by running a small experiment: simply targeting video to their own small test list, simulating engagement, taking their own measurements, then comparing these with facebook's. Although $billions were involved, it seems nobody did basic due diligence.

This example wasn't directly about attribution, but it is nevertheless instructive, because it's a case where lots of marketers with large budgets, who believed they knew how to analyze results, failed to reality-check their data.

So it seems likely that a lot of "confidence" is actually over-confidence.

Here's a related blog post about errors in marketing research:

almost 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Editor at EconsultancyStaff

thanks, Pete. Due diligence - couldn't think of a better term for it.

almost 2 years ago

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