The second edition of Econsultancy’s Marketing Attribution Management Buyer’s Guide has just been published, highlighting the latest trends in an area which is proving its worth in an increasingly multichannel and data-driven world.

The buyer’s guide includes profiles of 23 vendors of attribution technology and services, from those with a heritage in web analytics, paid search, tag management and ad serving, to agencies and consultancies offering attribution modelling for their clients.

The common ground between these companies is the desire to equip their customers with a better understanding of how different channels interact, and the role each type of marketing plays in effecting desired behaviour.

Crucially, companies can then attribute the right amount of credit accordingly.Attribution has historically used the ‘last click wins’ methodology, where only the last click before a sale is assigned value. For any company with a reasonable marketing budget and varied digital strategies, this approach only provides a tiny part of the story.

This is where the key strength of attribution lies; in its ability to understand the impact of multiple touchpoints along a customer’s journey, including those more immature channels like mobile and social. The growth of e-commerce and multichannel marketing means that the stakes are higher, and companies want a greater understanding of which marketing channels are driving value.

In addition to explaining some of the latest trends and strengths in the industry, the guide also highlights some of the barriers for companies embracing an attribution technology. The technology in itself is not a silver bullet, as neatly explained by Mike Teasdale, founder of Harvest Digital:

“The analogy I like is that this technology is like GPS – it can get you to your destination but you still need to decide where you want to go.”

Although attribution has been accepted as a necessary tool by many marketers, the industry is yet to settle in terms of standardisation of measurement, and this may not be possible in a world where one size doesn’t fit all.

With increasing demand comes a growing number of vendors, with each providing its own approach. This is contributing to marketers’ confusion over which solution, if any, is right for them. As highlighted by Google’s Bill Kee:

“Creating standards around attribution is the biggest challenge in the industry today. Last click provides a common language everyone can speak. The lack of consistency and consensus on approach threatens to prevent wide-scale adoption.”

Econsultancy research has identified inertia within some companies to adopt an attribution solution. However, with vendors competing to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace, attribution technology is improving and increasing adoption is likely over the next few years.

Lori Goode, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Atlas, said:

“The most basic challenge with attribution continues to be slow adoption by marketers. Most marketers understand that the last click methodology is flawed, and yet making the leap to advanced attribution remains difficult. There are a host of reasons for this, including finding the right models, the lack of a standard for measurement, time and resources allocated to analysis, and justifying an upheaval from current performance metrics.”

Another barrier contributing to slow uptake of attribution is the prospect of tackling big data. Love it or hate it, big data is a term that is everywhere at the moment, and though advances in technology have allowed the handling of this amount of data, its organisation and understanding of the picture the data produces, presents a hurdle for many.

We explore in more detail these trends and other market developments in our Marketing Attribution Management Buyer’s Guide. The guide aims to help companies to quickly evaluate vendors, and provides tips (and pitfalls to avoid) to help you find the right attribution management vendor.

The following vendors are featured in the guide: Adobe, Adometry, Aggregate Knowledge, Atlas, Channel Advisor, ClearSaleing, DC Storm, Encore, Google, IBM Coremetrics, IgnitionOne, Intelligent Reach, Kenshoo, Lynchpin, Marin, Mediaplex, Media Contacts (Artemis), PwC, QuBit, Rimm Kaufman, Shomei, TagMan, and Visual IQ.