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One Step Forward for Multi-Touch Attribution
By Sean Cook
1/16/2014 9:00:00 AM

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Life is a journey, not a destination.” While Emerson was thinking philosophically, his advice could well apply to marketers trying to analyze customer shopping behaviors.

Last touch attribution is the problem. The quote has often been repeated: “I know half of my marketing budget is being wasted, I just don’t know which half.” The ability to track customer purchases online have opened up the ability to see where some of those marketing dollars are working, but when it comes to campaign measurement, marketers have been limited because of the last-touch attribution (the destination) approach they are stuck with. What they want is the ability to measure and adapt their campaigns based on all the different contributing tactics (the journey) and not just use the blunt instrument of last-touch tracking.

Last touch gives disproportionate credit to one marketing channel or tactic, and completely disregards another. This creates a winner-take-all approach to the marketing spend and that does not reflect reality. In reality, a customer could see a banner, find organic search results, go to affiliate sites, click through from an email, look for coupons and check their mobile devices, before finally placing an order.  

The rise of the omnichannel customer has only made the journey more circuitous. According to analytics expert Leon Zemel, marketers are demanding attribution, but struggling with the proliferation of the data they have to analyze, and the speed with which they have to analyze it.   "The baseline ability to perform attribution—just in terms of actually being able to connect a conversion or some user action back to marketing—has become more challenging,” he says.

Progress will come from providing more sophisticated tools that enable multi-touch attribution to a customer and to an order – enabling marketers to see the effectiveness of their campaigns across the customer’s buying journey, not just the last stop. Then real marketing mix attribution can be applied and spend optimized accordingly.

At ShopVisible,  we have developed an attribution report as a standard part of our eCommerce platform offering.  We understood that this type of data would make a real difference for our customers to quickly identify trends and make adjustments in real-time to help increase conversions. A few examples of data available include:

  •   If a customer touches an email, a search, or affiliates all within minutes of ordering, these various channels all get credit for the order.
  •   If a customer originates to a client site from a specific affiliate source and that source changes along the way multiple times.
  •   If a customer searches using in-site search. 
  •   The platform also captures different milestones, such as when a customer goes from being anonymous and then making themselves known by creating a customer account and logging in.

Analyzing the data is up to the customer, and many ShopVisible customers are making some very useful calculations and adjusting campaigns accordingly.  So stay tuned.  We will be writing about these successes soon.   

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Tags: multichannel, omnichannel, ecommerce, on-demand ecommerce platform, multichannel ecommerce platform
Categories: Commerce Insights Blog
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