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At Digital Cream London we hosted the attribution management roundtable where we were joined by marketers from some great brands.

The brief was to share experiences and to discuss the issues surrounding attribution and path to conversion analysis.

The day highlighted some consistent themes that are key to many industries and in the interest of continued learning and development among both brand peers and experts, it seemed like a useful idea to document the hot topics and to begin to answer them.

So with ‘Chatham House Rules’ firmly in mind, here we go...

I want to move beyond last click attribution, but where do I start?

Multi-attribution modelling is all about implementing a model that fairly reflects the value of the marketing activities that are driving conversions.

The starting point is to get a clear understanding of the paths to conversion that the model needs to address. It is a straight forward task to visualise a single path to conversion, but summarising the attributes of thousands requires a more specialised analyst.

Attribution is often seen as technical challenge, but this shouldn’t be the focus. The technology you choose is important but the starting point should be clear business objectives – the technology choice should reflect the goals.

Which part of the business should be in charge of attribution?

Attribution has often been owned by marketing channel managers or agencies. Whilst some have approached the task with the right objectives, others have taken the opportunity to design a model that favours their channel (an inevitable outcome of marking your own homework).

The ideal scenario is that attribution and performance measurement are owned by the Marketing Director. All of the data is shared with channel managers and agencies but the rules on measurement belong at the top.

If attribution across online and offline is a key issue for the business then the attribution owner needs to have responsibility for both.

How do I integrate online and offline channels?

Understanding the interaction between on and offline marketing and conversions poses a difficult challenge, but also offers the biggest rewards.

There are few generic solutions but most businesses have attributes that provide opportunities, such as using data collection online to match offline conversions to the online user journey by using identifiers like a postcode or unique voucher code.

Once I have the data from attribution, what do I do with it?

The right attribution model enables all marketing activities to be accurately valued. Whether the valuation is at a high level (e.g. what is the value of an email campaign) or at a low level (e.g. what is the value of a particular keyword), the decisions are similar – do more of the activities that work and tune or stop the activities that don’t.

A recurring theme that was apparent throughout the day was that whilst some marketers had dabbled with a one-off attribution project and some of the results were ‘interesting’, they weren’t sure what to do with the insights so it ended up being of little or no value.

I firmly believe that Actionable Attribution is the goal, and that, although while building the tailored attribution model some key and actionable insights are likely to be gained, the real value is the long term campaign and budget optimisation benefits.

This enables the value of all activity to be the consistently and coherently measured and makes the data readily available for multichannel reporting and automated optimisation tools.

Seth Richardson

Published 26 March, 2012 by Seth Richardson

Seth Richardson is CEO at DC Storm and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can also follow him on Twitter.

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