How to Get the Marketing Performance Insights Your Team Needs

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Does your marketing team work in silos? Do different groups use different data sources or work toward different key performance indicators? Do they operate on different cadences? Is there a lack of communication across teams?

If so, you’re not alone. Continuous growth in the digital space has created opportunities for marketers to leverage user-level data to tailor their messages and tactics to receptive audiences versus anonymous personas. But the initial euphoria of digital marketing has given way to some sobering realities.

We’ve learned that digital channels are often managed separately, using siloed, channel-specific strategies, tactics, and metrics that make comparisons impossible; that an ever-changing digital landscape creates gaps in media coverage that make it difficult to detect the complex web of factors that influence consumer decisions; and that data about what’s working (and what’s not) must be available in near real time in order to optimize tactics and minimize waste.

The good news is that there are measurement techniques that can help marketers thrive in the digital era. Multi-touch attribution is one such approach that enables marketers to take advantage of the unique set of data produced by addressable channels to understand effectiveness at granular levels, by audience, and at a much faster cadence. It’s the difference between understanding how TV, print, radio, email, and paid social impacted sales last quarter, and knowing which display ad worked best yesterday to drive in-store sales so adjustments can be made while campaigns are still in-flight.

Perhaps most importantly, multi-touch attribution breaks down channel and organizational silos, providing a holistic picture of performance that makes it possible for everyone to work toward shared goals, as well as the actionable information that marketers at different levels of the organization need to be effective. Here’s how multi-touch attribution provides the information marketing teams need to know:

Chief Marketing Officers

The pressure on CMOs to drive revenue and bottom-line results is escalating. They must develop strategy, allocate annual marketing budgets across all channels, identify untapped opportunities for growth, and manage multiple teams and direct reports under them.

Successfully meeting these expectations requires a holistic view of performance and results. It also means ensuring their teams have access to data at the granularity and frequency they need to work efficiently and effectively. Yet 79 percent of CMOs report they are not prepared to pursue digital marketing opportunities.

Multi-touch attribution consolidates and normalizes performance data from disparate systems to provide CMOs with a single source of truth for marketing performance and a people-based understanding of what content, offers, creative, and other tactics work best for whom. With this breadth and depth of measurement, CMOs can reallocate budgets across channels to achieve higher top-line growth and better bottom-line efficiency, while improving collaboration and decision-making agility for their team as a whole.

VPs/Directors of Digital Marketing

VPs and directors are responsible for planning quarterly marketing activity and must take factors such as seasonality, special promotions, and new product launches into account. They work with and manage many cross-functional teams and agencies to drive demand and need de-duplicated reporting and performance analyses so they can make effective and efficient investment decisions across channels.

These roles can use multi-touch attribution to get an end-to-end view of the consumer journey, understand how customers and prospects engage with their brand, and discover which marketing messages resonate and compel them to take action. With a clear understanding of the messages and tactics that drive the best results for each audience, VPs and directors can better allocate their budgets to hit quarterly targets while improving the customer experience at the same time.

Channel Managers

Channel managers typically specialize in a specific marketing or paid advertising channel or channels, such as email, online display, paid search, or affiliates. These roles are more tactical in nature and require decision-making agility in order to keep pace with consumers.

Because multi-touch attribution leverages individual, user-level data from addressable channels, channels managers can see which emails are opened, clicked through, and converting, which calls to action are working, which keywords to bid on, and more. And because multi-touch attribution provides granular performance insights in near real time, they can reallocate budgets to the highest-performing publishers, placements, keywords, and creatives while campaigns are still in flight—while dramatically reducing waste in the process.

Media Planners/Buyers

Most media planners/buyers work for agencies. They are responsible for buying and optimizing media across programmatic advertising, mobile apps, digital radio, and digital video, and they need to make smart investment decisions on behalf of their clients.

Media planners/buyers spend much of their time negotiating placements with publications, trafficking creative, and defining placement within a demand-side platform to manage inventory for programmatic ads. They are familiar with typical benchmarks for each channel and are able to spot anomalies in data that signal inaccurate reporting or a misfiring campaign. Using daily, data-driven performance insights from multi-touch attribution, they can spot high-performing placements and creatives, shift budgets accordingly, and model their future buys to drive the online and offline success metrics their clients care about most. Perhaps most importantly, it gives media planners/buyers the power to better serve their clients and keep their media performance promises.


Like media planners/buyers, media analysts also typically work on the agency side. They are responsible for collecting, consolidating and synthesizing data from across channels to evaluate trends, assess the impact of different media types, and make recommendations for improving performance.

Multi-touch attribution takes the heavy lifting out of centralizing siloed data, enabling analysts to perform granular trend analyses with minimal manual effort and share performance insights back to the teams above them. For instance, they could discover that a particular display creative is working well across publishers, but only in the bigger size, and alert the media buyer to boost ad size across channels. They can also use multi-touch attribution to analyze various scenarios and provide recommendations on how teams should shift marketing activities to achieve optimal results.

Digital has created new opportunities and challenges for marketers. Success depends on providing every team member and agency partner with the accurate and actionable insights they need to be effective. Multi-touch attribution makes it possible for every member of the team to work together toward shared goals, discover the true impact of their efforts, and set up their organization for long-term success.

Moira Freeman is a product marketing manager with Nielsen's Marketing Effectiveness group. She manages the go-to-market process for product releases, ensuring that product enhancements are communicated effectively to internal teams, current customers, and prospects through training and collateral.

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