Sales & Marketing

Failure to attribute: Why UK marketers are stuck in the dark ages

5 min read

28 September 2018

Reporter, Real Business

Why are so many marketers failing to take advantage of industry innovations such as using smart attribution models?

For marketers nowadays, ideas about what consumers want, or how they might react to new products should no longer be a mystery. Data-driven technology means we can monitor the consumer eco-system far more effectively. Most importantly, we can find out on which platforms consumers appear to engage with advertisements, and where they don’t.

So why in 2018, are marketers failing to use up-to-date and efficient attribution models? In short, attribution is a way for marketers to see if their marketing efforts are bringing a return on investment, by showing them which channels are the most profitable.

This concept appears straightforward, doesn’t it? As it means that marketers will no longer blow budgets on wasted campaigns because the clever data is telling them what methods work, and what don’t. So the riddle rears it’s head again, why aren’t more UK marketers using it?

Are UK marketers lazy?

Well according to UK based performance marketing agency Mediahawk, they are, here are the surprising statistics their survey has revealed:

The research has revealed that a staggering 1/3 of UK marketers do not have a working marketing attribution model. But is this down to some strange sort of conviction, or is there a gap between new innovative methodologies and implementation in UK marketing? In other words, is there a laziness bug going around?

Although a solid 81% of marketers questioned said they believed that up-to-date attribution is an important method to use in their industry, 15% of them are still using an older ‘first-click style’ attribution model.

What’s the efficacy of this newer form of attribution?

These newer attribution models are multi-channeled, which means marketers can get a clearer and more accurate picture about consumers and their channel based journeys. Despite this fact being well known among marketers (some 81% saying the system is important) a significant  23% of those questioned said they were still using first –  or last click models.

What are first and last click models?

They do what they say on their proverbial tins, in that they only assign credit to the first or last touchpoint in a customer’s journey. This means that assisting touchpoints throughout the entire scope of the customer journey is overlooked via these models. Simply put, these models are outdated and less useful for marketers in terms of tracing the full customer journey. 

So what does this mean for marketers who are struggling to attribute offline conversations? Whilst many have taken advantage of the easy use nature of Google Analytics, it fails to attribute these crucial offline conversations. When asked what element of online consumer activity they most struggle to track, 32% of marketers said that following offline marketing materials were a key issue. So what they can they do about it?

Go track or go home

Tracking could be the answer to the marketing riddle, it’s a tool that aids marketers in the attribution of conversions from offline sources by recording the number of calls a business receives, the keywords used, and ads clicked that result in a conversion.

This multifaceted tracking of a full customer journey gives a clearer and more usable picture of campaign efficiency by giving a full view of how effective a campaign has been. However, some 62% of UK marketers aren’t taking advantage of this reward returning software.

Stay savvy about social media

The porous world of social media appears to be the enigmatic final frontier when it comes to questions surrounding returns on investment for marketers.

31% said they struggled to attribute conversions to social media. Although social media has become central to the commercial and personal lives of so many of us, and as such, is central to the marketing policies of many businesses across the sectors, marketers are still struggling to prove the ROI across these channels.

Because social media is so remote user-friendly, consumers are accessing these channels from various devices, from mobiles to tablets. This makes the attribution of these user leads and conversions difficult to trace. 

Next steps

So UK marketers, do your research about the latest full-scope tracking software and invest in the best one you come across. You’re marketers, you’re meant to be the pioneers when it comes to consumer-based interactions. Don’t stick to old and out-dated methods that only track a small part of your customer journey, go full throttle, go 3D –  go full attribution.