Making Sense of AttributionAccording to a recent report from SAP Hybris and Forrester Consulting, marketers use an average of 15 siloed data sources to understand their customers.

The amount of data available, plus the growth of mobile, social and automation, illustrates just how complicated marketing — and marketing attribution — has become. The goal of attribution is to assign credit to a marketing touchpoint. But if marketers can’t say how valuable each touchpoint or channel is in the buying process, that means they can’t spend budgets effectively and optimize revenue.

To shine some light on this complex issue, we’ve gathered the best thinking about attribution.

Find Your Specific Attribution Model

“Attribution is like engagement is that there is no single, magical formula or methodology that will apply to all brands and campaigns. There may be some universal best practices, but it seems inevitable that attribution for an ad campaign that aims at encouraging downloads of a mobile game will differ from attribution for ad campaigns for a shampoo or new car or other product or service category. As the attribution conversation progresses, then it will have to dive more deeply into looking at verticals separately.” – ClickZ

Avoid Analysis Paralysis

“The pitfall to avoid is believing there is a perfect methodology, tool or answer. ‘When you start going down the attribution route, you can end up in analysis paralysis,’ said Visual IQ’s Phil Gross, vice president of product management. ‘Marketers can get so wrapped around the axle of “Is the model perfect?” that they’re afraid to make a decision or change the way that they market. And that’s definitely a trap, because no model is perfect.’ The best way to approach attribution, Gross added, is to think of it as increasing the focus on a camera. ‘If you’re completely blurred and out of focus now, any move towards better focus is going to give you better results.’” – eMarketer

Expand Attribution to Branding

“To date, attribution has primarily been a direct response (DR) exercise, providing DR marketers with a clear line of sight between their efforts and bottom-line metrics such as sales, revenue, ROAS and ROI. Marketers responsible for branding, on the other hand, have followed a much bumpier road. With many brands and verticals (consumer packaged goods, pharmaceuticals, etc.) still spending a vast majority of their marketing dollars on branding activities, expect attribution to become a tool for quantifying the impact of branding efforts in 2016, in addition to direct response. By incorporating multiple brand engagement activities into a single currency or KPI metric, these enhanced attribution capabilities will provide brand marketers with a unified view of media’s true impact on brand engagement, and the ability to optimize their efforts at a granular level in order to drive incremental brand lift.” – VisualIQ

Get Sophisticated to Show Results

“Business owners look for a bottom line to rationalize putting more money into digital advertising. When channels or devices don’t appear to produce results because they’re at a middle-of-the-funnel step in a longer consideration and buying process, or the device is not associated with the user, they have historically lost budget. Once cross-device attribution is fully realized and multi-touch attribution becomes the norm for sophisticated advertisers, this problem will disappear.” – Forbes

Focus on the Big Picture

“It’s not a matter of first-touch or last-touch attribution any longer; marketers need to employ the right tools to understand how the entire customer journey affects the end result. Analytics and attribution will be critical components of the marketer’s customer experience strategy in 2016. Attribution is much more complex that any digital experience platform vendor makes it out to be. Can the digital experience platform provide the capabilities needed to do proper attribution? Or does the best of breed approach work, allowing the best technologies to integrate together giving marketers the full picture they need?” – Business2Community