Attribution 6 min read

43% of Retail Marketers Describe Their Own Data As “Not Very Accurate”

By Chris Liversidge Chris Liversidge 24 June, 2021

In our 2019 survey report entitled “Attribution digital marketing’s broken promise” we uncovered the fact that digital marketers were being pressured into sub-optimal investment strategies due to issues ranging from over-simplistic Last-Click measurement approaches to saturation on key platforms like Google and Facebook.

In our most recent survey, The Value of Attribution in UK Retail, we revisited some of these key issues – and some new ones as well – to see what had changed in 2 years. We also wanted to focus our lens specifically on retail sector marketing which has undergone an unprecedented level of change in recent years for reasons ranging from changes in buying behaviours and technology to the impact of COVID-19.

The findings are intriguing – and we wanted to share some of them with you.

Download now: The Value of Attribution in UK Retail

The majority understand data and attribution model requirements

Understanding of attribution data

The vast majority of respondents (94%) are at least somewhat confident that they understand their attribution models and how they’re working across channels – and confidence is highest among those with digital marketing budgets of £1 million to £1.99 million.

This is interesting for us – not least because this headline stat is completely contradictory to some of the more telling stats that we will come to later on the detail and accuracy of these attribution models output.

And it highlights a number of recurring themes we come across regularly:

  • The ease with which big brands like Google, Facebook and Amazon create a false sense of security around their reporting – which we know has issues
  • Deeper analysis that shows that around 80% of data from Google and Adobe clickstreams is inaccurate due to broken or incomplete sessions
  • The fact that none of this data takes into account incrementality due to its siloed nature

Marketing attribution technology has a central role to play

Importance of attribution in the MarTech stack

What is clear is that there is little disagreement about the importance of marketing attribution technology.

98% of respondents consider attribution technology to be at least ‘somewhat important‘ – although over 10% admit they don’t get around to doing it. While nearly one third consider attribution to be ‘very important’ to their marketing approach.

And this figure jumps up to 57% when you look specifically at those who are tasked with improving marketing performance.

43% of Performance Marketing Directors see data issues

Interestingly, nearly 80% of respondents believe they have accurate web analytics data in place – again perhaps as much a reflection of the power of Google and Adobe brands have, in reinforcing belief in the quality of their own products.

However, in practice, that is undermined by the data’s inability to deliver effective attribution.

Performance Marketing Directors believe their data is not accurate

And digging into the data a little more reveals some interesting divergence in views depending on role as follows:

  • Only 7.5% of Heads of Data believe they are working with inaccurate data
  • While the figure jumps up to 15% amongst CMOs

Could that be due to optimism bias rather than a reflection of the real situation on the ground?

But it’s when you take into account the views of Performance Marketing Directors that the cracks really begin to show with 43% of them believing that their data is ‘not very accurate’.

The responses to these questions are a telling and damning indictment of today’s approach to web analytics for retailers.

Given the billions of pounds of revenue flowing through these systems every single day, it is frankly astonishing that nearly half of those responsible for performance believe that Google and Adobe’s systems are not very accurate. Ultimately preventing any fair and open scrutiny of media spends.

Given, that according to the IAB, around half of all digital media spend in the UK is also allocated to Google, the underlying frustration of marketers is clear to see in these results. Alongside other issues around:

Retail attribution survey cover
  • Ensuring effective spend and assessing ROI
  • Challenges around assessing offline media and digital media spend
  • The fact that data to support multi-channel decision making is broken
  • The lack of a single, unified customer view on attribution

All of which we explore in more detail in the survey. Download your copy now.

The Value of Attribution in UK Retail

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