Attribution and Analytics need to pinpoint the top of marketers’ agendas

Attribution and Analytics need to pinpoint the top of marketers’ agendas
Head of Business Development at e-Dialog

Attribution and Analytics technology is very much underused as an integrated marketing solution by marketers and as a result they are missing an easy way to get to know their customers better.

With the main motivation for marketers this year being integration, they need to understand which digital platforms customers use most and be aware of  what conversations they are having on these platforms, as well as being aware of consumer purchase behaviour if they are ever going to formulate an informed marketing strategy that drives ROI.

Speaking at #SMWF recently, Head of Twitter sales, Bruce Daisley said, “Senior marketers aren’t paying attention to their audience”. Whilst this was said in reference to brands’ use of Twitter, I think most would agree that many brands are not quite on top of keeping track of customers’ conversations and touch points on all digital platforms and still have a long way to go in improving the overall customer experience.

To back up this statement, The IAB’s Marketing Search Barometer revealed that a staggering 58% of marketers have little or no understanding of attribution modelling yet 60% of European consumers and 71% of American consumers said that the most effective and relevant marketing emails they received were from brands that ‘knew’ them (e-Dialog Global Perspectives Research 2011).

If brands aren’t looking at the customer journey and analysing their customers’ interactions, they can’t learn to improve or better target their marketing campaigns and therefore the customer experience.

Improve Conversion Quality – Drive More Revenue

Starting with more simple steps to improving the customer journey, you need to look at improving conversion quality. It seems a simple metric – drive incremental customers and increase revenue per order, and overall business revenue will increase.

Conventional wisdom would tell you that revenue per order is principally affected by site-side activities such as merchandising, promotions, and conversion path optimization. You would also assume that customers in the mindset to buy – those who are already searching for your product or brand – are going to drive the most revenue.

However, the channels with higher visual and emotional resonance and social media cache are actually as significant, if not more significant, in driving higher revenue per order.

One of the hurdles preventing improved conversion is that online marketers often focus their efforts solely on the steps taken after a consumer reaches their site. Although optimising content on the website is a key part of increasing basket size, marketers must not ignore the opportunity that comes with optimising interactions with consumers before they reach the site.

Predict The Future

So if we’re going to look past the point of what pay-per-click can tell us, we need more sophisticated software to attribute and analyse all interactions that take place before, and once they reach, your website. It is all too easy to say brands don’t know their audiences but in reality the billions of interactions occurring across the increasing number of digital platforms are inevitably quite daunting for us all to get our heads round.

But unlike before, when marketers have avoided getting into the nitty gritty of the data, just looking at the end of the customer lifecycle, there is now technology that is able to map out and analyse the whole customer journey at the touch of a button. This is why it is astounding that over half of the brands surveyed by IAB aren’t taking advantage of the opportunity to have this coveted insight.

If you do not already have a thorough understanding of your own customer journey, you should set aside time to discover the unique conversion paths, channels and messaging for your customer. Be aware that although social media is still in its early stages in terms of revenue capture, it is proving a core channel for capturing intent and driving quality customers. So by striving to refine your social marketing aptitude and create compelling, two-way conversations with consumers in that channel, you will see the most significant growth.

Also, do not underestimate the power of capturing and quickly converting the customer with this intent to buy. Channels like email and paid search must be seamless experiences that are fully optimised for your budget, to provide a seamless and easy user experience upon site landing.

Don’t fall behind the crowd

Like the endless debate about when the “year of mobile” will/has actually occur(ed), the arrival of attribution management as a mainstream practice has been lauded for the past few years. The fact is that the time has arrived for wise online marketers to plan, analyse and optimise through a comprehensive attribution program.

Just as everyone wanted the iPad 3, making the original iPad undesirable in terms of consumer demand, marketers need to update their marketing software and throw out the old model. For using pay-per-click and simple analytics does not give you detailed-enough information.

Attribution and analytics software does much more than measure a customer’s last click but can offer quantitative analysis in the form of average dwell time per customer or a monthly average figure of shoppers who have left products in online baskets.

Even more interestingly, and increasingly pertinent to marketers, is the qualitative analysis of conversations on social media sites that this software offers and even more impressively, information on what customers are likely to buy based on behavioural, biographical and past purchase data.

Keep up with the Multichannel Consumer

Integration is the aim of all marketing teams this year and although most strategies are beginning to highlight the marketing channels as one and the same rather than in silos, there is still a lot to be done to make the message consistent.

In order to do this, you need to see which digital platforms are most popular, which are most suited to particular demographics and how people engage with the brand on these platforms, for example, do they treat social media platforms as an alternative platform for customer service queries, leave comments or ‘like’ posts from brands?

So once you have employed a robust attribution solution, customised to your unique business needs and varied customers, it becomes possible for you to gain true visibility not only across channels but granularly for each channel. You can then implement a multichannel marketing strategy with the correct focus and assign budget more accurately to areas that will definitely improve ROI rather than basing allocations on guesswork alone.

In summary, adopting sophisticated analytics and attribution software allows you to clear the fog on the customer journey and customer purchase behaviour as well as their profiles, affording you the ability to personalise and contextualise marketing messages over customers’ preferred channels.

This further allows you to increase the level of engagement by enhancing the brand experience and by avoiding customer turn offs.  With this in place, we may see more brands getting to ‘know’ their customers and cementing loyalty whilst driving sales in the process.

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