The countdown is on. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Love and romance are in the air, and just like many of you, my mind is turning to relationships.
We all know it can be really hard to find the right match. Even though the world is getting smaller, thanks to technologies that make us more connected, the increased opportunities it provides are leaving us with an overload of information. And with the added complexities of online relationships, it sometimes feels impossible to tell if the picture you’re getting is complete or accurate.

This is why it’s really important for advertisers to choose the right attribution partner (you knew this was the relationship I was talking about, right?). Getting a clear picture of consumer relationships is one of the biggest challenges advertisers face today. It’s only getting more complicated with increased adoption of shopping platforms across mobile devices, social media, wearables, smart TVs and whatever is coming next. While each of these is inspiring custom technologies aimed at reaching consumers and tracking performance, advertisers are left adding even more pieces to their disparate data puzzle.

Meanwhile, consumers are completely unaware of the complexities of the marketing ecosystem they’re experiencing. They see a direct relationship with the brand, no matter where they’re shopping. Just like you’d expect your significant other to be the same person whether you’re in person, on the phone or hanging out with family, consumers expect a consistent brand experience across all online and offline channels. They want an omni experience with your brand.

How can advertisers deliver an omni experience when their channel data is so disjointed? Progressive advertisers like Macy’s and The Gap are taking steps to reorganize internally to break down channel silos and create more brand consistency, while still more are really starting to look for solutions to the data shortcomings they face every day. In order to optimise the benefits of these efforts, advertisers will need to invest in more sophisticated attribution tools that are capable of painting a complete picture of the consumer journey for their brand.

While there are plenty of fish in the attribution sea, choosing the right partner is the difference between your consumer relationships going the way of Harry and Sally, or Romeo and Juliet.  Here are the five things advertisers should look for in an attribution partner to create the perfect omni romance this Valentine’s Day.

1. Avoid the one-track mind

Last click is good, and we all want it (we’re only human), but advertisers should be getting so much more out of their attribution partner.  While most advertisers know last click is not right for them, they feel obligated to stick it out, having invested in financial processes that are designed for this model. Plus, it’s hard to let go of the comfort and convenience of something that feels familiar.

While these are hard barriers to break, advertisers won’t have a clear look at their consumer relationships or their performance potential until they pull back the last-click curtain and see what else is there.  In other words, don’t settle! You deserve so much more.  

2. Expect a strong communicator

It’s not enough for an attribution partner to show up every day with a data report. They need to be prepared to “talk about things” in clearer shades than grey – how they interpret the data, what trends they’re seeing across converting and non-converting consumer journeys, when consumers are buying online versus offline, and how they recommend that data be used to improve marketing going forward.

3. Have an honest relationship

Advertisers spend a lot of money on marketing, and transparency should be an essential part of the relationship between an advertiser and their attribution partner.

4. Look for a promising future

Today, attribution can provide beginning-to-end insights into how individual consumers interact with advertisers across online and offline channels. While this still is a new and remarkable innovation, advertisers should be looking for partners who are making investments towards the future of attribution and its role in audience modelling and optimisation.

5. See some fireworks

It’s OK to want to feel butterflies sometimes. A good attribution partner should be bringing insights and recommendations that remind advertisers that marketing is exciting. For example, exploring top-performing channels through our Rakuten Marketing attribution tool, Cadence, reveals that the top-performing channel is often the omnichannel – all the channels combined. Similarly, consumers who experience brand marketing on multiple devices perform better, with the top combinations being the joint use of Windows and Mac, and mobile and tablet devices.   

While many of these advertisers have been working for years to mitigate channel overlap, and attribute conversions to a single channel, they’ve been missing a valuable piece of information that will now change the way they manage their marketing mix. 

This Valentine’s Day, don’t get discouraged if you haven’t yet found your perfect attribution partner. No matter how many times your peers tell you “you want too much,” and “it might be time to think about settling” because “you’ll never get everything you want in a partner,” you’ll be able to tell them it was so worth the wait once your perfect attribution match walks through your office door.