First Interaction - Why Attribution?

So, your first thought. Why would I change the way I currently report on marketing performance?

Well, have you always wondered which channels are grabbing people's attention and raising brand awareness? Are these channels different to your last-click top performers? Luckily for you, we're nosy data analysts. We will help answer these questions for you and many, many more by using a host of different tools to interrogate inter-and intra-channel attribution data.

First interaction awareness piece over, here's a few examples of questions we answer:

  • Am I investing in the right channel mix?
  • Which marketing channels are being under-valued as a result of using a last click model?
  • Which channels work well together?
  • What is the right attribution model for my business?
  • Should I invest in a 3rd party vendor?
Attribution diagram

Understanding your business to give you answers to questions that are relevant to you, sharing our attribution knowledge with you throughout (check here in case you want to explore our training offerings), is our priority for every attribution project. The most important part of any attribution project is buy-in from you. Come to us with an open mind and we will help open your eyes to what your marketing channels are really doing.

First and foremost, you’ll need to ensure your activity is tracked correctly, floodlights are firing, platforms are integrated, naming conventions are best-practice, and you’ve set up correct channel groupings - data quality is fundamental. With attribution, it is very much “What you put in is what you get out”. Remember: sometimes what is required for attribution may be different than what you’ve been historically doing.

Second Interaction - What We Do

Our bespoke collaborative analysis will take you through a full knowledge sharing programme, enabling you to conduct attribution analysis in-house in future. We will provide you ad-hoc solutions to overcome business challenges and platform limitations, for instance how to evaluate the impact of social channels in your media mix.

In fact, at Merkle we recently deployed a new methodology to give you guidance on how to reallocate your budget, which combines and calibrates both Paid Social and other digital channels' performance all in one place. This approach has been recognised by Facebook as an EMEA first!

Check the video below that we made in collaboration with Facebook which explains our approach to attribution and how to overcome data gaps:

To summarise, there is vast range of projects we can work on with your help:

  • Consultation on the right attribution vendors: we are always excited to give you our opinion and guide you through the process of choosing the right attribution solution to generate a return of investment. We have built partnerships with the top attribution vendors in order to review the provided solutions to allow us to provide strategic comparisons and recommendations for our clients.
  • In and cross platforms analysis: at Merkle we don’t just use data from a single platform, but we go over and beyond. We can merge and weight insights from Google and Facebook Attribution platforms for instance, in order to provide you a truer picture of how social channels are performing.
  • Testing capabilities: you want to measure the incrementality of a channel, but you don’t know from where to start? Do not worry: our team of expert is here to advise you. From an in-platform test, to a more complex geo-test we will support you with.
  • Last but not least, forecasting capabilities: by using a combination of machine learning models and regression techniques, we can plan for different scenarios based on accurate forecasts to optimise your media mix for all channels.  We can also evaluate the joint effect that marketing channels have on KPIs and evaluate any diminishing returns points.

Last Interaction - The Results Are In

In our opinion, there's so much you can do with this information that any website engaging in more than one paid-for channel has got to be paying attention to their attribution reports. The key outcomes can easily be classified into one of the below:

  • Changes to channel split and budget and improvements to intra-channel targeting (spend, marketing message, etc).
  • Understanding the incrementality of your media channels.
  • Forecasting client’s revenue to inform media budget allocation.
  • The creation of an enduring ongoing attribution approach to use for all future marketing measurement effort. 

Case Studies

Estee Lauder

Upon moving away from a last-click attribution model, Estee Lauder invested in the technological solutions of Facebook Attribution alongside the attribution features in Google Analytics to utilise both platform’s data-driven attribution capabilities.

At present there is no single attribution platform that is the holy grail to measuring media performance. At Merkle, we understand the importance of having a complete view of the marketing funnel. When Estee Lauder presented this challenge to us, we worked alongside Facebook to adapt a calibration technique that incorporated a statistical method of blending the data-driven attribution figures from Google and Facebook.

Prior to this analysis, Estee Lauder spent on average £422.4K on this inefficient channel and our calibration model empowered them to use their media spend on channels that showed greater fruition. Our cross-platform solution also enabled Estee Lauder to have a clearer view of the impact of Paid Social online as well as on-counter activity – identifying that, on average, for every 1 online conversion, there were 2.6 offline conversions.

This hybrid approach to digital attribution was an EMEA agency first and has since been adapted for two other Estee Lauder brands’s platforms. 

SAS – Scandinavian Airlines

As we have successfully moved SAS away from last click attribution with the attribution dashboard combined with monthly insights and recommendations, we have taken attribution further to influence bigger business decisions.

The results are:

  • Revenue is 23% higher YoY, and 19% above target (with key markets surpassing targets).
  • Spend is down 7% YoY
  • ROMI is up 32% YoY
  • Additionally, the forecasted revenue from our budget plan was only 0.1% off actual revenue generated.

Understanding the true performance and contribution of our digital media and optimising media spend accordingly is a priority for SAS to reach our commercial goals. This has been easier to say than do. Merkle have enabled us to implement both a robust attribution solution and effective way of working, involving stronger collaboration between SAS and our media agencies, in how we can continuously and collectively improve the business, through allocation of media spend and application of ROMI thinking in all that we do. Importantly the revenue and ROAS performance goals are being met and we will therefore roll out this solution in other key international markets”.

Will Reed, Head of International Marketing, Scandinavian Airlines 

Attribution Consultancy

From some simple Excel wizardry and the standard Google Analytics reports, to advise you on what is the best attribution solution for you, from reporting using a data-driven model, to combining Facebook impression data in the mix, we're well versed in the options available to help with your Attribution Analysis. So get in touch if you're interested in finding out more and we'd be happy to walk you through it.