B2B marketing’s move from last-click attribution will drive huge investments in mobile

17 May 2017

A key focus of my work at Metia is how we measure the performance of our marketing programmes. In the 11 years I’ve been at the company, the advances in digital analytics have been nothing short of staggering.

Functionality that was only a pipe dream in 2006 (for example linking demand generation activity on social media through to a business outcome such as revenue) is now commonplace.

However, there’s still a way to go before marketers gain a full understanding of the contribution their investments have on the bottom line.

The biggest trend in analytics over the next three years will be the move away from last-click attribution.

Last-click attribution is the policy of assigning credit for marketing conversions to the last action that drove them. It’s a blunt model, but it’s worked well for the industry – mainly because it was better than what came before: no attribution.

Of course, conversions are often driven by multiple interactions, and the major drawback of last-click attribution is that any preceding interactions are entirely ignored.

The good news: technology has advanced to the point where attributing success to multiple interactions is more straight-forward… and this trend is only heading in one direction.

This is important as last-click attribution undervalues the contribution of mobile.

The move away from last-click attribution will increase the perceived value of mobile to digital marketers, according to Bain & Companys Laura Beaudin in this interview with Google.

"79% of consumers use their smartphones to research, however only ~10% of purchases are on a mobile device. Under the traditional rules of digital metrics, if consumers dont buy from the device the ad is seen on, the activity wont be counted as contributing to the purchase. The methods often used for calculating the effectiveness of mobile are incomplete. We need to move away from last-click attribution models to something that better reflects a consumer journey, which is nonlinear and has gaps in the data."

Thus, Laura believes brands currently undervalue mobile as a medium…

"Companies spend just 13% of their media budgets on mobile advertising. And much of that advertising is not suited to the medium… For example, most mobile video advertising is repurposed from TV ads, meaning its too long and too slow. Brands need to consider mobile as a medium unto itself."

While Laura was talking specifically about advertising, recent research by The CMO Survey validates this view across marketing as a whole. When 388 senior US marketers were asked how their use of mobile marketing contributed to company performance, the average score was just 2.7 points out of a possible 7.

The move away from last-click attribution will drive investments in mobile.

As brands move away from last-click attribution they will better understand the value of mobile to their business – and investments in mobile will increase.

Smart marketers are anticipating this trend now, ensuring their content, destinations, and demand generation deliver a seamless experience across device. While the senior US marketers surveyed by The CMO Survey were underwhelmed by current returns, they are still planning significant investments in mobile: with spend forecast to grow from 5.1% of total marketing budget to 11.1% within three years.

This is an area where we have plenty of experience, and plenty of data to back up our recommendations. If you need a helping hand with your mobile strategy – or would like to see examples of how we partner with our clients in this area – please get in touch.