While brand marketers view marketing spends through mediums such as television, out-of-home, and print as brand building initiatives, they have historically viewed the Internet as a direct marketing medium.
In online marketing, the last click that led to a desired consumer action (buy, register, subscribe, call) often gets the lions share of the credit for delivering the consumer. Google key words is a great example. Marketers buy key words, see click-throughs, and intuitively attribute the key word buy to the successful end result. However, the consumer may have searched a key word (the brand Canon or the term SLR camera) after having been exposed to Canon advertising over the course of the past three months, during which time the consumer decided he really wants a digital camera.
Publishers, ad networks and others have a vested interest in educating marketers about the Internets brand building capabilities. They need to educate marketers about the long, often meandering path a consumer takes prior to that final desired action.
Tracking consumers over a period of time has shed some light on the initiatives that ultimately led to that final consumer action. Tracking users across the vast expanse of the Internet is like tracking migratory birds. Fortunately, the technology companies behind online advertising and publishing platforms have gotten better at collecting and analyzing an enormous volume of data.
Morris Martin of the Microsoft Atlas Institute taught a seminar at the IAB this past Thursday on the topic of Attribution. The seminar was aptly titled, Getting Credit for Your Impressions: Understanding and Using Attribution Models.
I had a chance to interview Morris after the seminar. We talked about attribution, engagement mapping, how media planners determine CPA for different types of media buys, branding, direct response, and the short and long term effects for marketers that drop display advertising in favor of a search only marketing strategy.
We will make the seminar available on the new IAB Professional Development web site we launched this week. There are currently courses available on topics such as video advertising, metrics & measurement, ad effectiveness, using data to help sell, mobile advertising, targeting, and finance for media professionals.