Four out of five (81%) organisations across the world use marketing attribution, with last click still the most commonly used model.

The findings come from performance marketing platform AdRoll’s 2017 State of Marketing Attribution report, conducted with Econsultancy and based on a survey of nearly 1,000 marketers and agencies across Europe, North America, Japan and APAC.

According to the report’s key findings, single-click models are still the most popular, with brand marketers using last-click (44%) and first-click (39%), and agency clients using last-click (58%) and first-click (33%). Of the 25% overall using a custom model, however, 48% deemed it to be “very effective”, while the 59% of those that haven’t implemented an attribution strategy at all cited a lack of knowledge as the main obstacle.

‘Held accountable’

“Attribution continues to be one of the hottest topics in the industry for a reason,” said Shane Murphy, AdRoll VP of Marketing, “It has huge consequences, such as lost revenue and wasted ad budget, if not done properly.”

According to Murphy, adoption of attribution modelling is on the rise as marketers are “held to higher standards of measurement and accountability than ever before”. This is also seeing advances into tieing up online and offline activity, with 60% of marketers using multi-channel attribution compared to 45% in 2016.

When asked about primary motivations of attribution, 70% of company respondents say better allocation of budget across channels was the number one benefit; followed by 64% citing a better understanding of how digital channels work together. With the added visibility into where marketing dollars are performing across specific channels, 32% have increased their spend on digital marketing channels.

‘Stumbling blocks’

While attribution models are increasingly being put to use, however, respondents still face difficulties acting on insights. That comes down to the complex task of defining the online customer journey, becoming increasingly complex and fast-paced with multiple devices and touchpoints.

“Knowledge and confidence surrounding the use of various methods could prove to be a stumbling block,” said Econsultancy’s head of commercial research services, Monica Savut, “This year’s research shows that companies need to take a more holistic and nuanced approach to attribution, constantly adjusting and refining until the correct balance is achieved.”

AdRoll’s findings fall neatly in place with recent research by Greenlight, which found that 23% marketers admit to not tracking any ad spend whatsoever.