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The Competitive Edge: Will 2015 Be the Year of Attribution?
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The Competitive Edge: Will 2015 Be the Year of Attribution?

The fragmented and disjointed landscape of consumable media is a key challenge facing the advertising industry in 2015.  

Consumers use an ever-growing variety of screens – from smartphones and tablets, to connected TVs and games consoles – and each UK household now owns an average of 4.4 connected devices (ukaop). Digital outdoor displays including those found in airports and tube stations are growing in popularity, and the predicted rise of the Internet of Things will add complexity to this picture.

New channels are also emerging. Social media has experienced dramatic growth in the last two to three years and while video is already an established channel, faster broadband speeds and 4G on mobile now enable video and rich media ads to be more engaging and easier to scale. In this fragmented landscape, consumers move seamlessly between devices and across channels, and marketers are challenged to target the right audience, at the right time, with the right message.

So, with campaigns spanning a variety of distinct channels and devices – often with their own pricing, bidding models, and content – how can marketers understand the factors that successfully drive conversions?

To succeed in this fragmented setting, marketers need an omni-channel, customer-centric approach, and this requires an advanced attribution solution. Attribution enables the collation of all marketing touchpoints throughout the customer journey and empowers marketers to assign a quantifiable value to each element as part of the whole consumer experience. It helps to identify how audiences engage with a brand throughout the entire path to purchase or other desired conversion, across all devices and channels, to generate a clear picture of the touchpoints that ultimately influence conversion. These insights help marketers deliver the best possible ROI on any campaign.

With this in mind, embracing an advanced attribution solution can empower marketers in a number of ways:

Identify high-value channels

Attribution enables marketers to better understand how channels such as search, display, mobile, email, and social media work together to engage their audience, which helps identify where to allocate budget. If marketing spend is limited, an attribution solution can also protect marketers from undervaluing and disregarding channels that play a crucial yet previously invisible role in the overall customer lifecycle.

Reducing production costs

Content generation can be a challenge for marketers. Platforms such as Facebook and iAds use custom sized ads, while the different sized screens of Android devices require different types of creative. All these variations add time and complexity to production and operationalisation, but an advanced attribution solution gives marketers a greater understanding and insight into how creative sizes compare in performance. By removing ineffective ads, marketers can enjoy improved ROI on media spend and a reduction in production costs.

Understanding consumer behaviour

Marketing attribution enables marketers to accurately determine the lifetime value of a customer or audience segment, and helps determine whether an existing customer is worth more than a new one. It can also increase the speed and agility of the business by enabling marketers to respond to unforeseen changes in customer behaviour, or predicting where customers will be and what will drive them to action.

Highlighting action points

While an attribution solution can be used to evaluate the overall marketing ecosystem, it can also provide highly granular insights to direct strategic action in day-to-day marketing activity. For example, an attribution solution can identify the exact number of impressions necessary to secure conversions, allowing frequency caps to be adjusted accordingly. The in-depth data integration and analysis of an attribution solution also enables marketers to make impactful changes that will maximise ROI for their business.

The complexity of the consumable media ecosystem will only increase as new devices are developed and additional channels emerge. As a result, attribution is set to play an increasingly important role for marketers in 2015 as they try to make sense of our fragmented marketing ecosystem. Businesses that invest in an advanced attribution solution, which has an omni-channel, consumer-centric approach at its heart, will ultimately benefit from the competitive edge that sophisticated measurement provides.

Ben Sidebottom

Ben Sidebottom

Ben Sidebottom is the director of product management, research and development for Visual IQ in the EMEA region, based in the company's London office.
Before joining Visual IQ, Ben served as head of media systems at, where he was responsible for the design, implementation, and use of the brand’s online marketing technology stack. During his time with the company, he created one of Europe's first client-side brand trading desks, which offered first and third-party audience overlays on third-party inventory, all optimised using an algorithmic, automated attribution model. With more than eight years of experience in the digital sector, Ben has also held positions at Essence Digital, one of the UK’s leading media agencies, and comScore, where he led the technical consultancy for its largest Digital Analytix Enterprise clients, including BBC and ITV.

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