How to get budget sign off for Digital Attribution

Is the ‘do I’ ‘don’t I’ question about investing in digital attribution keeping you awake at night? Is your shower time interrupted by nagging questions about the contribution of your marketing channels? Then it might be time for cross-channel, multi-touch marketing attribution.

If you are an advertiser, and you’ve ever wondered if you should invest in digital attribution analysis, then hopefully this is where you’ll find the answer.

Before we start, we are going to assume that if you’ve asked yourself this question, you have at least a passing familiarity with the concepts of digital measurement and attribution. If you don’t then Connected Path’s Digital Measurement In A Nutshell is a great place to start.

Okay, with the basics understood and set to one side…is it time for your business to make the leap into digital attribution analysis?


Are the basics in place?

For digital attribution to be successful, and by that we mean for it to provide meaningful insight and change to your digital marketing strategy, then you need to have the following things already ticked off your ‘to-do’ list.

  • Does your business already have a digital measurement solution?
  • Is your business running at least three online paid marketing channels?
  • Are you already attributing online marketing spend to a basic attribution model like last-click wins

If you can answer yes to these three fundamental questions, then it might be time for independent digital attribution analysis.


Are you already asking attribution questions?

You can be even more certain that it’s time to think seriously about an investment in digital attribution, when you and your business begin asking those annoying, open-ended ‘attribution questions’. Here are some examples:

  • Is last-click measurement over or under valuing my marketing channels, and by how much
  • These ‘Attribution models’ in Google Analytics are cool, but what do they mean?
  • Why is return on ad spend varying so dramatically between channels?
  • How is my online marketing contributing to the journeys of my customers?
  • Is paid social working?
  • My boss has asked me to ‘recruit more influencers’. How do I measure it?
  • Is offline advertising impacting my online sales
  • How do I drive higher efficiencies in Paid Search?

There are a host of derivations. But if questions or topics like this are catching you on the hop then it’s time for digital attribution.

As a rule of thumb if you are investing at least 70% of your marketing budget in at least five online paid media channels then some form of digital attribution analysis will help to understand the effectiveness of that spend, and how it could be altered.


How much will it cost?

This is the million-dollar question. Well, actually it’s not nearly as bad as that. The perception we often encounter is that digital attribution analysis is expensive. However there are plenty of affordable options, thanks to a wide variety of solutions priced to meet the needs of a growing market.

Although a client’s requirements are always specific to them, this simple table should help advertisers thinking about making the leap into digital attribution assess their pricing options.

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 12.25.14.png

What will I get?

Because attribution analysis isn’t an ad channel in its own right advertisers often struggle to assign budget to it. Particularly when there is so much juxtaposition about what models/solutions to use, let alone what the results will look like and how best to action the results.

There are three core things every advertiser should achieve with digital attribution analysis:

  1. Customer journey insight that is more detailed and actionable
  2. Understanding of how to re-organise and redistribute your marketing spend
  3. Greater spend efficiency, higher ROIs and/or more effective customer acquisition

Improved customer journey insight is pretty straightforward to imagine. Let’s say under a ‘last-click’ view of marketing spend a value of 1 is given to the last click in a customer’s conversion journey, and no value to any other touchpoints. With an algorithm-based, multi-touch model a value will be placed on each action, and that value would be calculated dynamically not by a set of static rules but according to the statistical evidence that the channel contributed to a conversion. The total for a customer’s conversion journey will still be 1, but it now might be split across five marketing touchpoints:

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 12.31.30.png

This kind of journey insight will tell you a huge amount about your customers, as well as allowing you to plot the ‘ideal’ path to conversion for specific customer types. More importantly, you will be able to use this insight across a large number of conversion journeys to reassign ad spend based on the cumulative impact of these weightings.

Placing a value on what this analysis might look like or change for your business is very subjective, and that’s why lots of attribution companies steer clear of pinning forecasts to their work.

But we understand the challenges you may face getting budget for attribution work signed off without posting a number, a saving, or an efficiency goal. Here are two key stats that will help you forecast the cost/return of digital attribution.

  • Attribution work should cost between 0.6% and 4% of total annual digital marketing budget
  • Between 15% and 30% of your digital marketing budget should be reallocated within 90 days


The final thoughts

Some final tips on your approach to attribution. If you have decided to make the commitment to digital attribution analysis, here are some key things to remember early on:

  • Spend some time choosing the right attribution model for your business, but don’t get too hung up on it
  • Focus on driving value – and normally that means focusing on actionable changes to your digital budgets and strategies
  • Go for a fixed price model. Do not be sucked into the notion that volume based pricing is standard for attribution providers. It certainly isn’t, particularly if this is your first foray into digital attribution solutions and you are not shopping at the top end of the market
  • Keep an open-mind, let the attribution model use data to produce actionable insight. Don’t push a preconceived bias about what marketing channels are most important to your customers
  • Use independent experts. Okay, so we had to put this last bit in! The digital attribution market boasts a wide variety of options, models and providers. Get help to make the right choices, using a flexible model that works for you.