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Preparing For Attribution

by Michelle Matranga

Welcome to the third installment of Napkyn’s Attribution Blog Series. If you haven’t subscribed already subscribe to receive updates on this series here or through the banner at the top of this post. After our last post, you should be up to speed on the benefits of attribution. (Oh, you’re not? Read this.) Now we’re ready to dig into how you can prepare your organization to use the tools. There are 4 categories that should be considered when setting the stage for attribution: Organizational Readiness, Data Quality, Product Requirements, and Best Practices.

Organizational Readiness

If my years working for Adometry and Google Attribution taught me anything, it’s that there must be organizational support and commitment to the project for attribution to be successful. If you’re reading between the lines, that means we occasionally failed or struggled unnecessarily because we didn’t identify this key component of an attribution project. Let those growing pains be your good fortune by following the guidelines here.

Commitment

Attribution will only succeed if there is a commitment to the project, its correct implementation, and the use of the data coming out of it.  Attribution is complex and requires continued maintenance to ensure accuracy. If the organization is unable to put in the time and effort, the data will be inaccurate and, thus, unusable. There must also be a commitment to using the information it provides or the project becomes obsolete.

Resources

There must be a team of dedicated resources to aid in each step of the Attribution journey. These resources must have the time and commitment necessary to ensure the success of the project. The ideal stakeholders are as follows:

  1. Executive
    A lead stakeholder is necessary to ensure visibility and dedication to the project. This should be a team member that has the bandwidth to oversee the overall success of the endeavor, but not necessarily the day to day operations.
  2. Data Change Management
    Resources responsible for the creation and maintenance of the data governance and hygiene standards. It can be helpful to have both a strategy and a technical resource for this effort.
  3. Implementation
    There will need to be a team responsible for the initial onboarding of the Attribution Solution. It is recommended to have a detail- oriented and driven Project Manager,  a knowledgeable Technical Resource, and some support staff.
  4. Operational Team
    There will need to be a team responsible for the continued maintenance of the Attribution Solution. It is recommended to have a Project Manager, a Task Manager, a  Main Point of Contact, and a Technical Resource. It is sufficient to have one person play more than one role, but it is not recommended to have only one person responsible for the entirety of the project. The Maintenance team can reduce or grow with the project needs.
  5. Media Activation
    Once your team is able to garner insights from the Attribution tools, there will need to be both a process and team in place to enable media optimizations – i.e. shifting budget to your better performing vendors, placements, keywords, etc.  This is key – using data insights to create better media decisions is what Attribution is all about.  I will cover optimizations and insights in detail in upcoming posts. There are a few examples in the last installment.

Authority/Sway

The success of Attribution is often tied directly to the ability of the stakeholders to implement organizational change. The authority to institute, maintain, and utilize the new analytics program is needed to ensure the work is completed and the insights are put into practice.

Data Quality

The accuracy of attribution reporting is a direct result of the data quality flowing into the tool. There are three vital pieces of Data Quality as it relates to attribution: Data Inputs, Data Governance, and Data Hygiene.

Data Inputs

These are all the sources of data you’ll be feeding into your attribution tool of choice:

  • Campaign Impression & Click Data
    This may be referred to as Event Data. The impressions will be collected via the DCM tag. The clicks will be collected by the Adometry/ Google Analytics Universal Tag.
  • Digital Media Cost Data
    This should come from the ad server and be at the impression level. It will be joined to the Event Data via a unique ID.
  • Conversion Data
    The conversion tally and the information you want to garner from those conversions.  Adding parameters like revenue, product, or location can be very useful in analysis and decision making.
  • Data Extensions
    Additional data that will be useful for analysis can be joined to the campaign impression data or conversion data via a unique ID.

Data Governance Structure

This pertains to the existence of a regimented and functioning data structure across all your media and platforms.

Data Hygiene

This refers to adherence to data governance protocols across  all data inputs and tools that house data you want to use in Attribution.

Product Requirements

There are elements your business will need to have squared away in order to use any of Google’s attribution tools. If you remember from our prior post,  there are three varieties: Attribution Reporting in GA, Google Attribution, and Attribution 360. Each comes with its own set of requirements.

Attribution Reports in GA

  • Must have Google Analytics Standard or GA360 in use; data-driven attribution requires GA360
  • GA tracking code on all pages
  • Adwords linking set up (recommended)
  • DCM in use (recommended)
    • DCM auto-tagging in use (recommended)
    • Enter scheduling and media costs into DCM (recommended)

Google Attribution & Attribution 360

  • Google Analytics Standard or GA360 in Use
  • Willing to set up new A360-allocated GA view (A360)
  • GA Goal & Ecom Review – clear online conversions (revenue event preferred)
  • Standard UTM Parameters
  • Conversion threshold of 5k for single-device DDAM and 10k for cross-device DDAM
  • DCM in use
    • Willing to DCM-track all display & video (even current site served)
    • DCM auto-tagging in use
    • Enter scheduling and media costs into DCM
  • Media investment portfolio contains upper, middle, and lower funnel strategies
  • No media dark periods throughout the year (only for A360)
  • Agreement that costs will be visible to all participants with UI access
  • Adwords linking set up
  • Advertising features activated (enabled advertising cookies)
  • GA tracking code on all pages

Best Practices

Follow these basic principles and it will be a smoother process for you and your organization.

There should be a methodical discovery approach.

There are many components to an attribution implementation. In order to accurately account for all marketing events there must be a comprehensive and focused information gathering period.

The website should have e-commerce.

From a product standpoint, the conversions can be any action on the site. However, it is my experience that there needs to be at least one conversion with incoming revenue. Otherwise, it can be difficult to garner the necessary organizational support.

There must be a healthy digital marketing budget.

Without budget to scale up and down within and across channels, it can be difficult to implement any recommendations gathered from the tool.

Have the right resources, internally and externally.

Your organization will need to identify resources that understand analytics, have an appropriate amount of time to devote to the project, and enough connections and sway within your business to keep the process moving forward. You will also need the right Google partner to service the project. That’s where Napkyn can come in.

Uplevel the knowledge of the current analytics and marketing teams – there’s no need to create a siloed team just for attribution.

The team that handles the attribution project should be well-versed in both marketing and analytics. This will ensure that all of your marketing is accounted for and that the data is accurate.

Consider it the new source of truth for marketing performance measurement.

Attribution methodology, especially data-driven attribution, is the gold standard for measurement because it not only encompasses all of your marketing, it algorithmically identifies the true contribution each marketing event has on conversions. It will not match, and should not be compared, to more rudimentary measurement.  

Utilize the data to make marketing recommendations and decisions.

If your organization isn’t going to use the information provided by attribution, there is little point in spending the time and effort to onboard a tool.

Iterate on your setup by keeping it up to date with the most current marketing efforts and data governance rules.

Attribution is not a set-it-and-forget-it practice. It is ongoing and changes with your marketing and business objectives. The data in your tool will only be as accurate as the data fed into it.

Where Do You Go From Here?

Now that you’re aware of how to  prepare for attribution, you’re ready to be walked through the creation of your internal attribution practice. Our next post will explain the necessity of this practice and how to create a successful one.  If you haven’t subscribed already subscribe to receive updates on this series here or through the banner at the top of this post.

Michelle Matranga

Program Manager, Marketing Analytics, and Senior Practice Lead for Attribution

Michelle serves as the Program Manager, Marketing Analytics, and Senior Practice Lead for Attribution at Napkyn Analytics where she concentrates her efforts around creating a best-in-class attribution enablement practice. Her background in Google Analytics, attribution, and marketing allow her to see both the big picture and crucial details. Coupled with a deep knowledge of omni-channel marketing analytics, Michelle turns marketing data into implementable solutions.

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