Joined-up data as an alternative to attribution

Alex Blaikley,

2019 saw the US and UK Martech (Marketing Technology) market grow by 22% and worth $66 billion. However, ‘stack utilisation’ remains a challenge. Marketing leaders have acknowledged they use only 58% of their Martech capability, and 30% of marketing leaders have begun to overhaul their stack – with many facing budget challenges in light of 2020 (see Gartner Marketing Technology Survey, 2020).

Couple this information with the sunsetting of third-party cookies in Google Chrome and Apple’s IDFA, along with the implications for current measurement and attribution modelling in digital marketing – there’s some complicated investment decisions coming. To be clear, attribution across ecosystems such as Google and Facebook have been complicated up until this point.

Whilst doubling down on your audience data strategy and collection of first-party data is mission critical, so is deciding what and how to attribute in a digital marketing mix. The ISBA Programmatic supply chain transparency study highlights the challenges faced in delivering a joined-up programmatic campaign across ecosystems.

However, whilst there are a lot of grey areas and big decisions, it is really important to accept that attribution and measurement will never be perfect, despite what the industry wants brands to believe. It’s also only useful when supporting decision-making - whether that’s customer or investment focused.

Finding the ‘right-size’ solution for your business to join up data should start with the following:

  • Ensure a transparent media buying process whether in-house or agency.
  • Understand and apply realistic objectives across your marketing mix – by channel.
  • Make sure your current Google Analytics and Google Tag manager are as trustworthy and accurate as possible – utilising the upcoming Google Analytics 4 (GA4) release. Find out more about GA4 here.
  • Ensure that website conversion goals are aligned to channel objectives, in-platform goals and analytics reporting.
  • Upload offline goal values to analytics regularly or through an Application Programming Interface (API).
  • Automate and democratise reporting to ensure everyone has easy access to the same data.
  • Review and audit off-the-shelf attribution solutions vs bespoke to support investment in programmatic media.

Joined-up data is a more accessible, realistic terminology and it’s a way for many businesses to cut-though the industry jargon and well publicised challenges.

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