Attribution in Performance Marketing- A Roundtable Discussion

Earlier this month Performance Insights released their attribution in performance marketing supplement following on from a Roundtable discussion on attribution at last year’s Performance Marketing Insights event in London. The first of five supplements that Performance IN will be producing throughout the course of 2014, it features thoughts from senior figure heads across the industry, including our MD Helen Southgate.

During Performance Marketing Insights, attribution certainly was a key topic as the industry discussed the challenges ahead. There was also keen interest amongst industry professionals to gain a deeper understanding into the customer journey and how this relates to the value chain. As usual, it was a heated debate with a range of opinions surrounding attribution and how the industry should approach the topic. Key points of discussion included- use of data, value, the last click model and the industry’s approach to attribution. Read Helen’s responses below.

What can publishers do more of to prove to brands they are providing more influence than the last click?

Publishers can’t take the lead on proving their worth to advertisers because they don’t have access to the data they need to do this, which must be a real frustration for them as they can’t see if they were involved in a sale, only if they secured it. What publishers can do, however, is show themselves to be more willing to work in new and different ways, which can have the positive side effect of not only demonstrating their value, but also helping them to make more sales. This can be in terms of payment models, but also in terms of how they present brands to their visitors

How has analysis of the customer journey changed for your business in the past 12 months?

Not hugely, but that shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a negative. Very few advertisers have a complete picture of the customer journey so it’s still tricky to integrate affiliate data with that from other disciplines, such as search and display. Instead, we’re making what data we do have, work harder for us in order to build a more comprehensive understanding of a consumer’s path to purchase, and the impact that a last click attribution model has on all affiliates. It is the role of networks to better leverage data and to work with advertisers to adapt their strategy in line with consumer behaviour.

Is enough data being shared among brands and those within digital marketing to make customer journey analysis the most effective?

In my opinion, no. But we have to remember that it is often extremely difficult to get that data in a useable format, so there is no point bemoaning this fact. Networks have to take the initiative and look at how they can build out the data they do have, such as using third-party stats or trends analysis, in order to generate valuable insights that can be actioned to deliver results for the advertiser.

Is the industry too slow and fearful when it comes to challenging the attribution model?

It is not a case of being too slow or fearful. Last click as an attribution model works in the majority of cases. What we as an industry do need to do is start to look beyond the last click and demonstrate the value that affiliates deliver to advertisers higher up the purchase funnel. The solution is not to challenge the model, but instead to better understand the customer journey in order to deliver more sustainable sales.

What factors would be most important to you, when considering implementing an attribution model?

We already have an attribution model in the last click, this is a frustration I have that people term ‘attribution’ as something it is not. Data and insight drives decision making and it is these elements that will be the key as to whether different payment models are considered.

Are programme managers doing enough to educate junior account managers or those attending attribution related meetings with brands?

Sharing knowledge across all teams is really important. Often data sets, insights or analysis will bring out different outcomes and having someone from the publisher team challenge (in a productive way) an account manager helps to spark debate, ideas and brings out the creative side of the team. Sharing this information is also key to helping account managers understand the bigger digital landscape and where affiliate marketing sits within that mix – an insight that can often be overlooked, but is key to delivering the strategic and quality insights advertisers crave.


To read the  full supplement click here

Sophie Parry-Billings

Sophie joined affilinet as a Marketing Executive in September 2013, after an internship in PR. She is responsible for pro the implementation of the UK marketing strategy and raising brand awareness through events, PR and online activity.

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