Joshua Wilson
May 25, 2023

Achieving accurate attribution in times of uncertainty

Crimtan's Joshua Wilson explains how APAC marketers can accurately measure campaign performance and predict the best outcomes as budgets get tighter and engaging customers get ever more complex.

Achieving accurate attribution in times of uncertainty

The global economy has been facing a significant slowdown, with rising inflation and fears of an economic recession looming. In fact, according to the BBC, a third of the world is predicted to fall into a recession this year. Unfortunately, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is not immune to these challenges, with economic growth and household spending predicted to lose momentum in 2023.  

Against this backdrop, navigating the marketing and advertising landscape, and knowing where to allocate marketing budgets and how much to spend, is likely to be an uphill task for marketers. APAC marketers will also face additional pressure as budgets tighten and customer engagement becomes more complex. With marketing budgets scrutinised, measuring campaign performance and predicting the best outcomes is crucial to maximise spending and return on investment. 

Key measurement challenges

Accurate marketing attribution is marketers' top goal. However, this is increasingly difficult to achieve as customers meet brands across multiple touchpoints and channels, making the customer journey more complex. 

Additionally, modern digital measurements of customer engagement often rely on data gathered using cookies and other internet tracking tools, providing a limited view of the entire customer lifecycle. Many of these attribution systems are focused towards clicks, and many focus on last-click attribution. As a result, they neglect other actions along the customer journey that may have influenced the desired outcome (e.g., a conversion). 

Beyond this, marketers also need to brace for a seismic shift in the industry as a marketer's ability to measure is being restricted by big tech, from Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) to Google phasing out third-party cookies. These challenges make measuring marketing effectiveness difficult. However, there are other methods to measure attribution. Brands must look at things holistically and judge their marketing effectiveness that way. Advanced digital MMM (Marketing Mixed Modelling), like Total Media Attribution, can help. It also allows for measurement across a connected media approach that considers all online and offline channel inputs, regional factors, seasonal variations, and customer behaviours to help measure campaigns effectively. 

Predicting the future with total media attribution

In today's complex marketing landscape, relying solely on click-based attribution to determine which consumer touchpoints led to interest, engagement, and conversion is no longer sufficient. To illustrate this, think about how soccer (or football) is played. In soccer, when a goal is scored on paper, the credit is typically given to the player who made the final touch on the ball before it crossed the goal line. However, this doesn't always tell the whole story of how the goal was scored. For example, there may have been a series of passes and dribbles leading up to the final touch, with multiple players contributing to the buildup of the play. 

Similarly, "last click attribution" in marketing refers to giving credit for a sale or conversion to the last touchpoint or interaction that the customer had with the brand before making the purchase. While this approach is simple and easy to track, it doesn't always reflect the complete picture of how the customer was influenced to make the purchase. 

Just like in soccer, there are often multiple touchpoints or interactions that lead to a conversion. For example, a customer might have seen an ad on social media, visited the brand's website to read reviews, and received an email with a discount code before purchasing. In this case, giving all the credit to the "last click" (i.e., the email with the discount code) would not accurately reflect the other touchpoints' role in convincing the customer to make the purchase.  

What other factors influenced the game's outcome Outside direct impact factors like passing the ball? For example, what was the weather, the crowd, and the condition of the field like? All these elements should be considered when determining the attribution game's success. 

So how do we look at all these factors in marketing and achieve accurate attribution? One answer is total media attribution (TMA), where all touch points across online and offline channels are considered. 

This advanced statistical model, or media mix model, assumes that the impact of marketing is not short-term, global, consistent, and easy to capture. Instead, marketers should expect delays, regional impact, channels to perform differently and diverse ways of capturing results. TMA looks at inputs such as weekly conversions, marketing spending per channel, and macro and micro factors to predict revenue for each channel. This provides invaluable insights into the effectiveness of: 

A.  Target modelling – whether a brand will reach revenue targets 

B.  Product level modelling – the marketing impact per individual product 

C.  Marketing mix modelling – the bespoke optimal marketing mix 

This method allows brands to thoroughly understand which marketing channels contribute to customer engagement and conversion and how they should allocate their marketing budget accordingly. Furthermore, marketers can predict precisely where their returns will come from and ensure their marketing strategy is optimised for maximum impact by implementing an intelligent, connected media approach. Using TMA, we have seen prediction accuracy reach a statistically significant 95%, helping our clients allocate marketing spending more strategically.  

Taking a comprehensive approach to accurate attribution

Marketers must look at attribution holistically, taking an omnichannel approach and considering the entire customer lifecycle to understand their campaigns' effectiveness. With the limitations and challenges of cookie-based tracking, it is essential to adopt a connected media approach to accurately measure the actual value of marketing campaigns and inform future marketing strategies. 

Working with a trusted and expert ad tech partner can give businesses valuable insights into their marketing attribution, leading to better decision-making and more effective marketing strategies.  

Furthermore, by embracing these best practices, marketers can position themselves to thrive in today's complex and dynamic marketing environment and help them set up their soccer game to score more goals, ultimately driving better outcomes and ROI for their organisation. This has never been more important for marketers than in today's challenging economic climate. 

Joshua Wilson is the commercial director for APAC at Crimtan

Campaign Asia

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