AdRoll report: Four in five organisations use marketing attribution, but 57% don’t action the insights they get

London, 21st September 2016 – As customer journeys become increasingly complex and fast-paced, it’s imperative for marketers to understand the effectiveness of their campaigns and how each channel contributes to the end conversion. It’s encouraging then that almost four in five (79%) organisations are using marketing attribution, according to research published today by Econsultancy in partnership with AdRoll, a full funnel performance marketing platform.

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Key findings from the report include:

  • While four in five organisations carry out marketing attribution, less than a third (31%) do so on the majority of or all their campaigns and analyse results.
  • The issues which restrict marketers’ ability to carry out attribution or implement it properly are mainly around a lack of knowledge (58%), lack of time (44%) and technology limitations (41%).
  • While algorithmic and custom attribution feature among the most effective models (96% and 89% respectively claim they are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ effective), less than a quarter (23%) of responding organisations use these methods.
  • Around half of marketers choose off-the-shelf vendor technology for marketing attribution, while 44% opt for custom-built technology. Over two-fifths (42%) are still resorting to manual attribution with the use of spreadsheet data.
  • When asked about areas with the biggest issues and gaps, creating a culture of measurement and accuracy (59%), campaign tracking/tagging (56%) and data validation/normalisation (56%) were cited as top-three challenges.
  • Nearly 60% of responding organisations don’t action the insights they get from attribution.

The State of Marketing Attribution report, based on a survey of both brands and agencies in the UK, France and Germany, explores current adoption levels and types of strategies organisations are using. The study evaluates the tools and processes employed as well as the potential barriers to its effective use.

The research found that less than a third (31%) of those carrying out marketing attribution do so on the majority of, or all, their campaigns and analyse the results. In this context, the vast amount of data generated by customer actions is seen as both a driver and an inhibitor. While the vast majority of organisations claim that the rise of big data has increased the focus on attribution, this growing volume of data is likely putting more pressure on marketers.

Organisations are lagging behind when it comes to more complex attribution models, with nearly half (48%) still using last-click models. More worryingly, a similar proportion (47%) use first-click, a less intuitive form of attribution. While algorithmic and custom attribution feature among the most effective models (96% and 89% respectively claim they are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ effective), less than a quarter (23%) of responding organisations use these methods.

Around half (51%) of client-side marketers choose ‘off-the-shelf’ vendor technology for marketing attribution, while 44% opt for custom-built technology. Over two-fifths (42%) are still resorting to manual attribution with the use of spreadsheet data.

When asked about areas with the biggest issues and gaps, creating a culture of measurement and accuracy (59%), campaign tracking/tagging (56%) and data validation/normalisation (56%) were cited as top-three challenges.

Effective marketing attribution relies on clean data, accurate modelling and skilled analysts that can convert the output into insights and action. The latter is a key stumbling block according to this research, as almost 60% of respondents said that they don’t action the insights they get from attribution.

Econsultancy Research Director, Jim Clark, said: “The sophistication of modern tools means that marketers have the potential to track users much more effectively. But rising numbers of consumer touchpoints – online and offline – makes it challenging to keep up with audiences. This research provides insight into how organisations can master such a complex and fast-moving environment – from partnering with the right vendor to ensuring the correct skills are in place. Arguably these strategies are crucial in order to engage with consumers today, who increasingly expect to be treated as individuals and remembered.”

AdRoll MD Marius Smyth, said: “Attribution continues to be huge area of focus for brands and agencies alike. What we’ve tried to do through this research is get a sense of where marketing is with attribution, shine a light on the issues and challenges facing this discipline, and deliver actionable insights for organisations, whether they are implementing or optimising attribution modelling.”

Other findings from the report include:

  • The vast majority (86%) of marketers agree that multi-device behaviour has increased the focus on attribution, with 42% ‘strongly’ agreeing. In addition, 81% agree that mobile presents a significant cross-device attribution challenge.
  • Three in four responding organisations cite ‘better understanding of how digital channels work together’ as the primary benefit of attribution, followed by ‘better allocation of budgets across channels’ (72%). ‘Better understanding of digital/offline interactions’ is also rated as a key benefit of attribution (57% of companies, 61% of agencies).
  • Around seven in ten organisations (74%) said that attribution had an impact on spend across digital marketing channels. However, this is more likely to result in decreases in investment rather than increases.
  • Among UK marketers, disparate tech platforms and complexity of data are viewed as the greatest barriers (45% and 42%, respectively) to using attribution more effectively. For those based in France, complexity of data ranked in second place (36%), with business culture seen as the biggest problem for two-fifths of respondents (42%). Among German marketers, complexity of data ranked far above the next most commonly cited barrier (37% compared to 26% for internal politics).

Get this report:

The full report is available on the AdRoll website here or by visiting www.adroll.com.SOMA.

For more information about this report or for press enquiries contact:
Anahid Basmajjian, Brand Marketing Senior Manager EMEA, AdRoll, anahid AT adroll.com
Tel: +44 20 7151 4856


About AdRoll:

AdRoll is a leading performance marketing platform with over 25,000 clients worldwide. Its suite of high-performance tools works across devices, helping businesses attract, convert, and grow their customer base. The company is home to the world’s largest opt-in advertiser data co-op, the IntentMap™ with over 1.2 billion deterministic user profiles. AdRoll’s goal is to build the most powerful marketing platform through performance, usability, and openness. AdRoll is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York, Tokyo, London, Dublin, and Sydney. Learn more at www.adroll.com.

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