Today’s brand marketers understand, at a foundational level, just how vital strong attribution is to the health of a marketing program. Strong attribution, after all, unlocks the ability to continually optimize marketing spend and rebalance investments across channels to maximize ROI. There’s scarcely a more important marketing mandate these days, particularly as we enter a time of economic constriction in which the ever-present threat of budget reductions looms.
At the same time, the advertising industry is in a state of tremendous policy and technology upheaval when it comes to the tools that underpin today’s attribution models. We’re all well aware of the looming deprecation of third-party cookies within Chrome, but that’s really just one example on a long list of privacy-focused initiatives and regulations that have steadily chipped away advertisers’ ability to understand consumer behavior in a cross-channel capacity.
So what does it take to realign your attribution strategy to ensure your brand can continue to understand and improve its ROI on an ongoing basis? Let’s break it down.
Partnering for Attribution Understanding
At Anagram, we’re a full-service media agency that guides clients’ planning and buying from strategy and planning all the way down to execution. In this regard, much of what we do to set our clients up for success starts with attribution. After all, if we can’t properly understand, at a granular level, how our recommendations and investments are helping marketers deliver on their KPIs, we’re doing our clients a disservice out of the gate.
When it comes to understanding and refining (or in some cases, completely overhauling) a client’s attribution program, we approach the process in three phases:
Phase 1: Audit, Report, Re-strategize
The first step in realigning a brand’s attribution program is to dig into the back end of the existing system and understand exactly what we’re working with. As you might imagine, brands of varying sizes have measurement and attribution systems of varying sophistication and capabilities—and that’s OK. Every brand is going to ultimately have different needs when it comes to tracking their marketing effectiveness across channels, and we always take needs and goals into account when it comes to auditing a back-end system.
The real question that we want to answer during the audit phase is this: What portions of the customer lifecycle are you able to track right now? As we follow various potential consumer paths to conversion, visibility gaps will typically emerge within the attribution program when it comes to certain consumer touchpoints. These are the areas where we will focus our recommendations for refinement.
Phase 2: Implement and Reevaluate
In Phase 2, we start putting the findings of our audit into action. In most cases, we’ll look to implement additional measurement in areas where consumer activity and engagement currently aren’t being captured. But in some cases, we might also recommend eliminating certain system redundancies. Duplicative counting of consumer actions due to redundant systems can lead to inaccuracies and misunderstandings, so it’s always our goal to implement attribution systems that are as streamlined as possible. As we do, we’ll continually run through possible consumer journey scenarios within the new setup to ensure identified gaps are, in fact, being filled.
Phase 3: Pressure Test and Go Live
Before going live with a new attribution back-end system, we always leave room for pressure-testing. In other words, we want to test, and retest, and then test again to ensure that our newly tuned attribution setup is truly capturing what we need it to capture.
While it can be tempting to fully fire up a campaign and learn what’s working and what’s not as you go, we don’t subscribe to this “fix it later” mentality. When we’re working with a client’s money, we’re not willing to gamble it away within a full-fledged campaign if we’re not absolutely certain we can track and understand performance on a granular level. In other words: We’ll only go live with a client’s campaign when we’re sufficiently satisfied that we’ll be gathering the insights we need.
Turning Insights into Action
Of course, refining a brand’s attribution program is just the first step to ensuring it’s being put to work to achieve the marketing team’s ultimate goals. Once in place, attribution systems must be closely monitored and continually reviewed and refined to help a brand create a cycle of continuous improvement.
This is where a media agency partner like Anagram makes all the difference. Today’s marketing organizations are operating in an ever-shifting landscape—third-party cookie deprecations being just one piece of a much larger puzzle—and brands need reliable partners who make it their job to monitor for changes that might have an impact on the ability to properly attribute marketing results in a cross-channel capacity.
Attribution, when managed correctly, is constantly delivering new efficiencies to a brand’s marketing program by identifying what’s working, what’s not, and helping marketers make informed changes to their investments. In this regard, brands need agency partners who are willing to factor themselves into the bigger attribution picture and prove that they are capable of continually delivering greater value to the client as well.
To continually drive greater value for clients, agency partners need to be able to translate the data and insights delivered by attribution into true campaign refinements for the future. At Anagram, we’re uniquely suited to this task because we have specialized teams operating across every conceivable media channel, not just programmatic and video. We’re able to help clients implement holistic attribution programs and then leverage those programs to ensure they’re investing in the channels that are driving the greatest results, while reducing or eliminating spend wherever waste is found.
Ultimately, if a brand allows guesswork within its media decision-making process, it’s going to feel the impact on its bottom line. At Anagram, we don’t let that happen. We believe in strong attribution, and we’re here to help your brand keep pace with (and outpace) your competitors through a strong understanding of how your media dollars perform.
Want to learn more? Get in touch with us here.