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Attributing Success Across Media Investments
By: Mike Krass
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"Half of my advertising is wasted I just don't know which half." -John Wanamaker

It's time for everybody to learn one simple word in the wild-and-crazy world of digital marketing: attribution.

The process of attributing success to specific digital marketing tactics helps advertisers take into account the following issues with marketing investments:
  • Moving away from measuring success on a "Last Click" model: Just because a banner ad or PPC search listing received the final click does not mean the user was not exposed to the message elsewhere across the Internet. Each impression played a part in that specific user eventually clicking through to a landing page or buying a product, so shouldn't each step get part of the credit?
  • Measure success based on end actions (i.e. sales): Since we're moving away from a last click model (see above), it's time to begin serving up marketing success in terms of dollars and cents. What tactics are driving the best business-minded results? This leads into...
  • Speaking business success: As we're delivering results in terms of dollars and cents, planners can show off how their hard work affected a clients' bottom line. 
  • Incorporate offline, online, and word of mouth: How many daily impressions did that billboard right off the 405 deliver to your brand? Didn't you see a rise in organic and paid search traffic after you purchased that space? As mentioned above, every action plays a part in the consideration and, eventually, the action that a consumer takes. They helped drive a result — they deserve some of the credit!
But who is providing this mythical unicorn-based attribution technology? Here are a few of the top vendors that deliver a superior attribution platform.
  • ClearSaleing: One of the most seasoned players in the attribution circle, ClearSaleing has been named one of the top attribution providers by Forrester research institue over the past few years. A traditional cookie-based platform, ClearSaleing recently revamped their user interface to allow agencies to white label the product.
  • Convertro: Convertro is developing a revolutionary platform known as "fingerprinting." Instead of using a cookie-based system, their platform identifies 100+ key characteristics of your browsing behavior (keystroke patterns, browsing styles, etc.) and stores these as an anonymous ID number. When Convertro identifies these unique identifiers across any digital device (iPhone, iPad, laptop, etc) it is able to identify you and anonymously track the actions to be taken into account for attributing media success.
Well, you've heard the benefits and been provided with a few vendors to get you started down your attribution path. The only question that remains is: who wants to be the hero at your company?

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About the Author
Mike Krass is the founder of MKG Media Group,  a Bay Area digital media shop that specializes in measurable media solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. When not walking his puppy or sky diving around the US, his personal musings can be read on Twitter at @mikekrass.
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