Sharvanboskirk [Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]

My colleague Emily Riley** has written about attribution modeling — the "new" approach to online measurement which tracks more than just the last ad clicked.  Emily's approach of "block and tackle attribution" gives marketers a framework for how to track value across both mainstay and social interactive tools.

Apart from Emily's research though, I haven't really heard a lot of structure around how attribution works.  It seems like one of those things that everyone is buzzing about, but few have any real discipline around. Well, yesterday I sat in on a panel on attribution which simplified it enormously.  

Madan Bharadwaj, the architect of Bluestreak's data analytics solutions boiled attribution down to three steps:

1) Organizing user path data — determining the path a user takes to purchase
2) Contribution modeling — evalutating the different influences along this path
3) Cross-channel optimization — applying these insights to make media allocation decisions

I know that the steps and technology to do these three things are complex, but Bharadwaj encouraged audiences to think simply in order to reduce unncessary complications.  His advice: "Start with one question that you'd like to get the answer to.  This will help you filter through the volumes of data you can collect to instead focus on the data that matters to that question."


Adam Goldberg, the chief innovation officer for advertising measurement platform ClearSaleing also encouraged marketers to start attribution even if only in a small way, and to find value in all insights while still working to refine them.  In his words, ""Don't let perfect get in the way of good."


**Emily will be releasing a Wave on attribution modelers, which includes ClearSaleing, shortly.