From first to last click – the secrets of attribution

From first click to last

Attribution is, and will forever be, high on the priority list for advertisers around the world. But do marketers fully understand its potential yet?

The attribution process allows marketers to break down and observe the customer’s journey, gaining a better understanding of the relationships between their channels and the brand they are representing. It is designed to provide a clear message to marketers of where they should increase or decrease their marketing dollars, utilising the extensive data generated everyday by millions of shoppers.

Now that more than half of all eCommerce transactions involve cross-device usage, marketers and advertisers need to better understand the complex process that each of their customers takes to reach the last click of their shopping journey.

However, Australia is still lagging behind when it comes to understanding how the various channels and touchpoints contribute to the conversations when compared to other international markets. In a study by IAB Australia in 2015, it was revealed that less than 60% of advertisers, agencies and ad tech vendors are employing attribution technology. And even more recently Criteo discovered that 63% of ad businesses in Australia are still relying on Last click to measure success.

The last click

For years, the last click was the most effective measurement of success in the ecommerce landscape. Tracking where the customer journey, the last click model tells online retailers where the customer comes from to get to the buying stage of their journey.

The last click has been used for years, however, what online retailers may not realise is that the customer journey is often staggered. Most shoppers need to learn the brand name before considering a purchase and then visiting the website multiple times before committing to spend their money. Online retailers need to be aware of other attribution options available to not only better understand what is driving sales, but more importantly who is buying.

The problem for most marketers is understanding how exactly to measure attribution, which at face value can seem a challenging concept to grasp. Display advertising often generates interest for new products without necessarily generating the last click, as we know that 70% of the products clicked haven’t been seen before.

Where to next?

Ideally, online retailers should be using a weighted attribution model, measuring from first click to last, taking into account the full customer journey from start to finish. In addition, combining traditional search marketing with creative visual elements, this method means we can take into account the lasting effects of brand awareness, which would open up the research to give marketers a real understanding of all their marketing channels and their performance.

Globally online retailers are already changing direction and their attribution methods; the use of last click is expected to drop to under 50% by the end of 2016 to early 2017 and the use of alternative attribution model for second view has increased dramatically, with 72% of advertisers using it in 2015 compared to only 21% in 2013.

One of the most damning statistics is the lack of retail, travel and classified advertisers utilising cross-device tracking, with only 22% of RTC advertisers employing it. We are living in an omnichannel world, with 83% of marketers saying that multi-device attribution assists them in sending more relevant messages to their customers.

Every sign points towards a growing need for advertisers to learn more about each step that the consumer takes on their journey to purchase, and ensuring that all channels receive appropriate credit. However, first retailers need to embrace not only attribution, but also the notion of changing the way they measure success.

Pressy Sankaran, Commercial Director ANZ, Criteo