Four takeaways from the Mastering the Art of Data-Driven Attribution webinar

ClickZ’s recent webinar on Mastering the Art of Data-Driven Attribution was a great reminder of the opportunities available for companies who can make strides in this rapidly-evolving area of marketing.

The webcast, held in partnership with Customer Data Platform specialists Fospha, featured a panel discussion that looked at both the theory behind attribution (including different models), and practical tips about how businesses can get started as they progress towards a more sophisticated approach.

Below are four key takeaways from the webcast (now available on demand), which also featured guests from “growth engine” Accelerate Digital and AVADO, the online learning company which runs Squared Online, Google’s digital marketing leadership course.

Complexity of customer journey drives increased focus on attribution

The context for increased interest in attribution is the deepening complexity of the customer journey, caused by a growth in channels used by marketers and the proliferation of consumer devices.

The digital landscape looks very different to how it was a few years ago, the panel observed, with Facebook and Google’s Product Listing Ads, for example, becoming more prominent as touchpoints on the path to purchase.

The ease with which consumers can choose between a variety of brands in any given sector means that marketers need to find more engaging ways of appealing to them, while also ensuring they are properly measuring the relative impact of campaigns across different channels, both online and offline.

Most companies are still typically using a last-click approach to attribution

The webinar audience heard that data-driven attribution requires “identification and an understanding of the set of unique user events that contribute in some manner to a conversion, and assigning the actual value and cost to each of these events”.

A poll of close to 100 marketers who tuned in live for the webinar suggested that last-click attribution was far and away the most popular type of attribution used by brands in the marketplace.

More than half of companies (55%) said they primarily used this model, while other approaches such as first-touch, time decay, linear and position-based modelling were used by only a small fraction of webinar attendees.

Last-click attribution is certainly better than nothing, but it doesn’t give marketers an idea of which other channels are contributing to conversions, and to what degree.

Start simple and build sophistication incrementally

Marketers aiming to create the best possible attribution framework need to start somewhere. Our panel of experts were unanimous in urging companies to start simple and then build on those foundations as the internal business case gradually becomes more compelling.

It may be that you use attribution initially just in one channel, for example paid search or Facebook advertising.

While it has limitations, Google Analytics has many points in its favor, while Facebook is also ripe for insightful data analysis because of the ability to link actions to (logged in) users instead of cookies.

According to Dr Sepanda Pouryahya, Fospha’s Head of Data Science, creating a data-driven attribution model doesn’t need to be complicated, but you do need to know your cross-channel touchpoints and interactions, as well as your costs and your returns.

The key to progressing your attribution initiatives is getting all your data in one place. While this is of crucial importance, AVADO’s Head of Marketing, Ben Austen, argued that it was even more vital to get internal stakeholders “in the same room and on the same page”.

Attribution can become very political since different parts of the business may be invested in (and bonused on) different ways of measuring. Achieving a single customer view is very difficult to achieve without sharing between different departments, it was pointed out.

Moving to a Customer Data Platform approach

It is clear there is a large appetite for developing an approach to attribution which incorporates customer data as far as possible, enabling the business to “operationalize insights”.

A Customer Data Platform is described by Gartner as “an integrated customer database managed by marketers that unifies a company’s customer data from marketing, sales and service channels to enable them to drive conversion, increase lifetime value and manage costs vs revenue”.

Asked how much of a priority it is to “have fully integrated customer data and a single customer view”, 51% of those attending the webinar said it was “high priority”. The holy grail is to develop a platform that enables a business to understand how to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time, at the best price.

When done properly, this approach can enable companies to understand what people want next (predictive or even prescriptive analytics), and even what price they are willing to pay.

ClickZ will be running a separate webinar in June on how to use a Customer Data Platform for personalization, again in partnership with Fospha.

The panel also discussed how the customer journey will become even more complex in the future, with even more touchpoints created as a result of the Internet of Things, and the growing number of connected devices.

Artificial intelligence, which can take much of the pain away for marketers by carrying out hugely complex tasks, will become increasingly important for attribution in the future.

To learn more, you can replay the webinar here.

The panel:

  • Linus Gregoriadis – Senior Consultant, ClickZ Intelligence
  • Sam Carter – Commercial Director, Fospha
  • Ben Austen – Head of Marketing, Avado
  • Dr Sepanda Pouryahya – Head of Data Science, Fospha
  • John Sargent – Head of Media, Accelerate Digital

For more information on how you can get involved with the ClickZ Webinar Series, contact


This webinar was produced in association with Fospha. Click here to read our collaborative content guidelines. Views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ClickZ.

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