Conversion attribution vs. Customer journeys: which works?

Conversion attribution vs. Customer journeys: which works?


There’s a long line of depressing evidence that attribution modeling is fundamentally flawed: in 2016, Gartner analyst Martin Kihn echoed studies conducted in 2015 and 2013:

 ‘A pair of researchers from Google and Microsoft named Randall Lewis and Justin Rao circulated a depressing paper called “On The Near Impossibility Of Measuring The Returns To Advertising.” It reappeared last December in a prestigious journal with “Near Impossibility” softened to “Unfavorable Economics” – and it’s still depressing.’

How depressing. But he also says that optimizing marketing ‘requires statistical scrutiny and more data than you might think.’ 

In summary, it is a mathematical mess. Since we know a thing or two about data management too, we’re going to offer you an alternative to cashing in on a culture of conversion attribution. An alternative which yields results.

Focus on the customer journey, not the channel yield

A siloed way of thinking, as well as a siloed way of keeping and using customer data, is one of the cognitive fallouts of the digital age, and its explosion of touchpoints.

By considering entire customer journeys rather than individual channels, and by using both the technology – and the team structure – which will support unique pathways taken by people, you are immediately zooming out as a marketer to focus on a metric which makes sense: individual context.

Let the customer lead, while you follow

Rather than switching lanes, or switching channels, consider changing direction. By using a single customer profile to pull together every interaction, rather than push on every channel, the process for marketers becomes to follow – rather than lead.

Test and learn, to look out for patterns in data

Of course, the true nature of attribution modeling isn’t just throwing a dart in the dark; it’s usually an educated guess based on previous experiences or existing information.

But why not challenge yourself to consider what this means for the way we learn and alter our performance as people – and as brands. Marketers need to dip their toes in the water, recalibrating what we think we know now, more than ever before.


A revolution in customer-centric marketing

How to unify your customer data, smarten every interaction with AI and transform fragmented journeys into orchestrated, personalized journeys.