Don’t Be Afraid of Multichannel Marketing Attribution

Marketing attribution can be a little intimidating.

Should you rely on first, last, or multi-touch attribution? How do you measure across multiple channels? How should you weigh your attribution model? There are so many choices to make it can be overwhelming.

If you’re feeling stressed by the complexity of multichannel marketing attribution, you’re not alone. According to eMarketer, 58% of marketers spent time trying to understand cross-channel measurement and attribution in 2016 — a number that’s on the rise — and more than 80% of senior-level marketing professionals are interested in learning more about multi-channel attribution.

There’s a reason so many marketers are focused on multichannel attribution today: it’s incredibly important. Marketers are using more channels than ever to engage with their customers, including email, social media, paid ads, and push notifications to name just a few. Factor in the number of unique devices the average consumer uses on a daily basis and it’s easy to no wonder why marketers are struggling to understand why and how their customers shop.

So what should you do? Get a better handle on multi-channel marketing attribution for your own brand and you’ll see huge improvements in how you define the true ROI of your marketing.

You Have to Measure Across Multiple Channels

Every B2C marketer today is already investing in multiple channels, doing a million different things to drive revenue with creative marketing campaigns on Instagram, Google, Facebook, traditional email marketing campaigns, and more. It’s obvious that you can’t ignore one of these lucrative channels when it comes to your ecommerce marketing, so how can you ignore it when it comes to analytics and attribution?

You really can’t rely on simple vanity metrics like clicks or opens — in order to drive more revenue, you’ve got to measure your campaigns’ impact on revenue. In the past, marketing leaders knew that they influenced X amount of revenue, but it was much harder to pin down exactly which campaigns influenced sales and how to attribute revenue to specific channels. Now, you have the tools to understand which campaigns work on which channel, so you can truly optimize and continually improve your marketing.

Centralize Your Marketing Data

The first step to achieving multi-channel marketing attribution is to unify all of your customer data in one place. You have to understand every action of your buyer — from the moment they first visit your site anonymously, to when they first share their email address, to when they make their first, second, and third purchases. By using identity resolution, you can better understand who your buyers are and what they care about most.

With a 360 degree view of the customer, you can see vital data like:

  • The campaign and channel that first engaged the buyer
  • How often the buyer returned to your site or viewed your content
  • Which channels they engaged with and in what order
  • Exactly how many campaigns impacted their shopping behavior
  • Which channel or campaign finally drove a conversion

With this aggregate data in hand, you can understand your marketing down to the most granular level. You can actually do the math and say that Campaign X had a specific dollar amount of contribution to your bottom line based on first, last, or weighted attribution models. You’ll understand not only your acquisition costs, but also the ROI of your campaigns to drive long-term customer loyalty.

Analyze Performance By Channel and Campaign

That all sounds great, but how do you actually use this valuable data? With tools like B2C CRM, you can now analyze exactly how much revenue each campaign and channel is bringing into your business. For example, you can generate reports that tie revenue directly to the last campaign a buyer interacted with before making a purchase, helping you determine which campaigns are the best at leading to a final conversion for your buyers.

Drilling down further, the data also allows you to understand what campaigns are generating the most revenue for specific segments or lifecycle stages. Other insights can directly tie your revenue to specific channels, like email marketing or search ads, giving you visibility into  not just the overall open and click-through rates for an email campaign, but also the actual revenue ordered that is tied directly to a specific campaign.

Once you know which campaigns and channels drive the most revenue, you can also get data on the products that drive the most revenue for your brand. A multi-category merchant, for example, could learn that shoppers who purchase from the electronics category first are very likely to then purchase from the accessories category and have a high lifetime value, whereas toys and fitness items are lagging behind. All of these powerful insights are only possible if you unify your customer data and carefully track your marketing interactions at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Learn From Your Failures

This data is all interesting, but what do you actually do with it? As a B2C marketer, I’m sure the possibilities are immediately obvious. If you understand your best campaigns, your best channels, and your top-selling products, you can quickly optimize a high performing campaign almost guaranteed to engage your buyers.

But even if your first optimized campaign doesn’t immediately work, this data can constantly inform your ecommerce marketing strategy. You can automate your reporting to get these exact reports on a weekly basis — constantly keeping an eye on your marketing. You’ll always have a pulse on which channels perform the best, which campaigns are working great, and can even catch issues before they become problems for your team.

With a better understanding of multi-channel marketing attribution, there’s so much you can do. With the detailed revenue attribution information data aggregation gives you access to, you’ll be a star on your marketing team for sure.

Eric Keating is Vice President of Marketing for Zaius

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