Hanging Folder and labelLong gone are the days when an entire family would share only one desktop computer. In 2014, most Americans not only have their own computer or laptop to access the Internet, but also multiple mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets and e-readers.

In addition to the explosion of mobile devices, ecommerce has become a societal norm and mobile commerce has been consistently on the rise. This shift over the last few years has had a major impact on online advertising and marketing, as marketers now have to reach out across multiple channels and devices to effectively engage their audiences.

This multi-channel marketing approach makes it significantly more important for advertisers to develop an integrated and efficient strategy to maximize ROI. Marketers now have to deal with more sophisticated issues like which channels complement each other best and what type of messaging works most effectively on various channels. A key solution to these issues is attribution.

Attribution tracks and divulges all of the online marketing touch points a user engages with that lead to a purchase. This allows the advertiser to determine which channels were effective in converting the sale throughout the journey and which were not – providing crucial insight for campaign optimization and ultimately increasing ROI.

Over the last few years, advertisers have invested substantial amounts of money and time on social media advertising and marketing without fully understanding its effectiveness. Attribution provides insight into which social media efforts and investments were successful and which ones need to be altered or eliminated altogether. Whereas before there was no way to quantify the value of a Facebook “Like” or a display ad impression, advertisers can now see if that “Like” or display “view” was part of the path to purchase.

Companies currently employing an attribution model to their advertising efforts are not only experiencing a higher return on their investment, but are also standing out among a crowded field trying to attract users’ attention. Strategic messaging across multiple devices and channels helps cement a brand and its message in the mind of the consumer. Other, less integrated approaches often fall short and fail to be noticed.

Take for example, our client Air New Zealand (ANZ) who by utilizing TagMan’s Cross-Channel Attribution Insights and data from TagMan, allowed ANZ to understand how channels, such as display, reached users at the beginning and throughout the purchase funnel to help drive sales. With visibility into data throughout the purchase cycle, a different picture emerged as to the value of display – a channel that when looked at solely on a last click basis appeared to be driving only 1% of sales. Taking into account the full customer journey provided by TagMan, ANZ found display was involved in 30% of sales. The result was a major investment in display which helped increase sales by 15%.

Recent advances in technology have been critical in making real-time attribution a reality. In the past, long waits for analytics and insight led to wasted time and money before tweaks could be made to a campaign. Real-time attribution, however, allows advertisers and marketers to immediately make adjustments regarding their strategy, preserving valuable time and resources.

Overall, attribution has become a critical tool for advertisers and marketers who are looking to maximize the effectiveness and value of their campaigns, while fully understanding what worked and what did not. No longer will advertising budgets be wasted on underperforming channels, with that money instead going towards ones that will extend the reach and reputation of your organization. Throughout 2013, many forward thinking advertisers began waking up to the fact that attribution could have positive effects on both performance and the bottom line, giving their campaigns a level of efficiency previously unheard of. With 2013 in the books and the New Year well underway, 2014 seems poised to be the year that advertisers will take attribution seriously.

Originally published Mar 13, 2014 7:33:30 AM, updated June 28 2019