More than ever budgets are scrutinised and transparency has become king. Clients want to explicitly see how each and every media deal, promotion, and commission increase has brought on an incremental benefit to the business. We’re no longer talking about recording this in silos (i.e. what has that done in ad network) – no. We’re talking about the benefit it had across the whole marketing spectrum to get more customers to the till.

As an affiliate agency wishing to evolve beyond over affiliate services, R.O.EYE needed to move away from just looking at performance on a ‘last-click’ attribution model. Being called R.O.EYE meant it was our duty to find new ways to demonstrate the value that we bring to an agency across all parts of the customer journey – not just last. What was driving customers at the top, and what was keeping them engaged with our brands on the path to sale across 4, 5, 6, 7 steps or more?

As a result of the lethargy in the affiliate sector to undertake such an initiative, R.O.EYE decided to build its own technology to begin tracking and understanding the true value of affiliates. Development began in Jan 2016, and before long, after a number of development cycles and iterations, our platform has the ability to track the value of virtually any form of digital (and offline) marketing, reporting back the ‘return on investment’ and ‘return on actual spend’. No more just looking at a partnership level, but now we can see pretty much all layers of taxonomy across all channels: Campaign, keywords, creative, and so forth.

Whilst the platform was built as an in-house media planning, buying and tracking solution, clients quickly realised that they could use it to measure the performance of all of the digital marketing activity (paid and organic) using a central dashboard. Capitalising on this opportunity, R.O.EYE then formed a Business Insights team to take the analytic insights and turn them into commercial recommendations. The tool has now evolved to the point whereby it can now track every facet of online activity and use an AI-driven attribution engine to inform advertisers how they should be deploying their advertising budgets. This is across all channels and is entirely GDPR compliant.

Why now?

Quite simply, innovation is changing the way campaigns are managed, augmented and grown.

Our view is that if you’re only looking at last click, you’re only looking at the end of the story. Imagine watching the last 15 minutes of your favourite film or reading the last two chapters of your favourite book…

Within the agency, we’ve built our own multi-touch attribution model, which has seen our campaigns with fresh eyes and has had the following advantages:

Collate more data:

More data points = a fuller picture of what online channels are doing

Greater insight:

More touchpoints acknowledged and attributed = more insight.

Better use of budgets:

A fuller picture of how marketing tactics are performing informs the budget and answers with a bit more pomp: “Where should I spend my next £/$/€?”

Greater automation:

The model constantly evolves and recommends where money should be raised or decreased across multiple marketing channels. E.g. Marrying PPC campaigns with analytics data

Reward accordingly:

Instead of having a default commission for affiliates, for example, individual rates can be given based on their net contribution to the sale

The future is here

2018 will see Google, Facebook and Amazon all launch their own attribution platforms and there will be continual nudges to start recommending new ways of attributing spend to marketing channels. We feel that these companies will likely demonstrate bias in the fact that it’ll be highly unlikely we will see a data-driven Google attribution tool suggest that ad spend should be redirected towards Facebook.

We see our agnostic system as a huge opportunity – corporate advertisers who are actively investing in 3+ media channels who require an independent solution to audit what their other platforms are telling them.

Many digital figureheads, publications and websites are calling 2018 the year of attribution, and I must say that I agree with them.