Call to Action: Let’s Define Standards for Online Marketing Attribution

15 Comments | This entry was posted in Guest Blog Posts

Are you accountable for the ROI of your company’s online marketing efforts?  Do you struggle with how to measure the incremental impact of your media dollars when multiple influences or touch-points occur during the conversion process?  If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, I invite you to join forces with your peers in a new Online Marketing Attribution SIG, and participate in developing a series of best practices for online marketing measurement.

At the 2009 Marketing Workshop, John Lazarchic (Petco), John Ardis (ValueClick), Dustin Engle (Range Online Media) and I participated in a panel titled “Measuring What Matters:  The Secret to Online Marketing Channel Attribution.”  In our panel, we explored current online measurement practices (and pitfalls), and discussed the importance of going beyond last-click conversion in determining the true impact of your marketing dollars. 

Our conclusion:  by measuring just the last-click (long the industry standard), marketers are very likely undervaluing the “introducers,” which occur at the beginning of the buying funnel;  overvaluing the “closers,” which occur closest to the conversion point, and largely ignoring the “influencers,” which occur mid-cycle.  As a result, marketers may reduce spending precisely where it is most likely to drive incremental sales.    

Fortunately, many marketers have already evolved to more sophisticated measurement techniques which allocate sales across the buying cycle:  introducers (first click), influencers (non-converting clicks) and closers (converting clicks).  To date, however, there is no common framework for either the tools or the allocation process, and minimal capacity for evaluating the influence of offline media.  As the methodologies and tools emerge to make these sophisticated multi-channel allocation methodologies accessible to all marketers, we need to join together to define the standards for our industry. 

Our call to action:  as marketers and members of the community, we are best positioned to define the new allocation standards for the online retailing industry.  Working together, we can develop a set of guidelines for marketing allocation best practices, a requirements list that meets retailer ROI measurement needs, and a directory of non-proprietary tools and techniques.  Our findings can serve as a reference point for e-tailers and vendors—creating a non-proprietary measurement approach which can be tailored to the buying lifecycle for each retailer.     

Members of this SIG will:

  • Review current multi-channel allocation methodologies for determining incremental sales, highlighting the pros and cons of various approaches;
  • Review available and emerging technologies for tracking and allocation;
  • Recommend best practices for retailers to implement in their organizations to effectively measure the incremental impact of their marketing dollars.

I hope you’ll join us!  Leave a comment or email me at to express your interest in participating.

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  1. Posted June 24, 2009 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Glad to see this getting organized. We’d be very interested in participating. Craig /@/

  2. Posted June 24, 2009 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I would be very happy to participate. I think accurate attribution will only become more critical as marketers look to spend even more efficiently. While there are many technologies allowing measurement of attribution within a single channel, there’s a good opportunity to improve attribution techniques across multiple channels.

  3. Web Desgner
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s a good idea and I’ll be glad to participate in it. please mail me.

  4. Posted June 29, 2009 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    This is great! I would be pleased to help – we work with many diverse web and catalog marketers and devote a significant part of our practice to helping develop the appropriate metrics for marketing attribution. We have done extensive research and would be happy to share that. Please let me know.

  5. Posted July 1, 2009 at 6:28 am | Permalink


    We’d love to be involved too. TagMan is a tag management solution designed to – among other things – help marketers attribute properly, so sure we can help.


  6. Posted July 10, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Very timely topic. Not only important for determining best online marketing allocations among channels, but also in making sure that retailers are not paying the same referrers for the same customer. Love to be a part of this.

  7. Posted July 15, 2009 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    there is a lot of confusion and misinformation in the marketplace right now. it will be difficult to get companies to buy in to a universal framework, but it is a good idea…good luck.

  8. Posted July 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    My company ClearSaleing created the Attribution Management Forum (AMF) and runs the website The AMF has been working to achieve these same goals of identifying standards for attribution management.

    Our company had coined the terms, “introducer, influencer, and closer” and has these elements baked into our technology.

    ClearSaleing would love to share what we have learned over the passed 3+ years in studying and building attribution management technology and models.

    Please let me know how we can take an active roll.

    Adam Goldberg

    Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer

  9. Anne Ashbey
    Posted July 15, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m so appreciative of everyone’s interest, and look forward to working with all of you. The date/time for our first meeting (by phone) will be announced shortly.

  10. Posted July 20, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I would like to be involved in this SIG. Runa is both a tracking and closing solution for merchants helping to optimize for the right closing price. Having standards and more KPI for merchants is a very good thing.

  11. Posted March 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    are any of the findings available in a whitepaper ? Id like to analyze learnings from this event and leverage it’s material against internal learnings to propel prospective student attribution.

  12. Posted February 2, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    A little late to the party perhaps. However…

    If there are still any openings available to take part in this, would you mind letting me know please?

    My email address is…

    Many thanks and best regards,

    Mark Andrews IMCopywriting

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