31st August 2021

Finding your Line of Truth: Attributing Sales in 2022

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Paul Wojciak
Senior Planning Analyst
Read time: 5min
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  • The death of the cookie and with it the diminishing ability to track the full customer journey means businesses need to adapt to maintain an acute reporting line of truth
  • Single point reporting solutions are quickly losing accuracy, as individual platform owners invest heavily in their own anonymised tracking solutions and ecosystems
  • 2022 will see a turning point for businesses as reporting functionality will need to be integrated with these new data signals to maintain an informed and accurate reporting structure
  • Following our simple steps will help you think about your upcoming challenges and start those important conversations, with those adopting new tracking and reporting protocols first, likely to gain significant market advantage


Allocating your sales: The continual challenge of maintaining accuracy 

Assigning and identifying sales within your business sounds simple, but in reality, this can be a significant challenge. Stepping aside from the familiar issues of assigning value to offline activity, even focusing on digital channels will see differing platforms assign sales in differing ways, with the inevitable cross claims generated from campaigns featuring multiple user touchpoints.

As many marketeers will no doubt have experienced, matching claimed sales back to actual sales often doesn’t give the same number.

Digital attribution has been promoted as offering a potential overarching solution and while not perfect, did go some way to offering a more solid foundation for sales and conversion allocation.

The death of the cookie and the inevitable reduction in sharable data has led to an increased reliance on data modelling to fill in the gaps, however this sticking plaster will not remain effective for long.

In response to legislation such as GDPR and the following User Privacy debates, Apple and Google’s announcements to implement privacy first approaches across their products has now drawn a firm line in the sand, signifying a clear step change in how businesses will need to approach their reporting moving forwards.

Single point reporting solutions are quickly losing accuracy, as the ability to dedupe sales and understand user journeys becomes increasingly problematic, presenting a significant market challenge for businesses.


What’s happening now? The development of the siloed ecosystem

2021 is the year of the walled garden. Platforms are investing heavily into building their own individual ecosystems and anonymised tracking solutions. In effect this is allowing their first party data to flow freely though associated platforms and products but it is not shareable with the outside world.  This development is hand in hand with the accelerated development of next generation attribution and modelling capabilities which offer an exciting future for campaign optimisation, targeting and learning, but with findings restricted to within each individual ecosystem.

Marketeers are already seeing the benefits of the enhanced capabilities and audience data in the Facebook portfolio including Instagram and WhatsApp, or the Google Stack via 360 products and associated properties such as Google Analytics.

There is now an increasing urgency for businesses to organise, understand and take ownership of all their data signals to tackle this new set of challenges.

The great news is those who transition now will gain considerable competitive advantage in the marketplace over the next 2-3 years as late adopters struggle to retain performance and value in current reporting structures.


How can I move forwards? Optimising performance and reporting

Understanding your customers user journeys and developing your full funnel campaign strategy is still key to driving your business forwards, but the way in which you will do this is likely to change.

Every business will have their own bespoke set of requirements, but some key areas of consideration are likely to offer a helpful start in developing your conversations and strategy.

  • Use enhanced capabilities to optimise your individual ecosystems

New and exciting possibilities will be made available to your business as each ecosystem develops their first party data abilities.  AI strategy and Cohort Analysis are likely to be two areas of significant development. Always test new platform capabilities to see how these can be incorporated to improve your overall performance.  Optimising each of your individual ecosystems will help developed your holistic campaign performance.

  • Develop a solid reporting base

Take a step back and consider which ecosystem is responsible for the majority of your investment and performance.  For example, if you are investing heavily within the Google stack, Campaign Manager could offer a great opportunity to offer a deduped reporting solution.

Alternatively, if your business investment is heavily focused within Facebook, this associated ecosystem may offer you the best starting place for developing a reporting baseline.

  • Build an open book reporting system

Use your base reporting dataset and bring in signals from your other ecosystems to form your own business view on sales attribution to reach your line of truth.  Be open and clear about your model to allow test and learn strategies to be implemented to verify your hypothesis.  Your model will need to change and adapt over time and should always be seen as a fluid and adaptable solution. 

  • Communicate your challenges

Your business has a wealth of knowledge to help optimise your reporting strategy and develop moving forwards.  Be open about your reporting challenges across internal departments and external agencies.

  • Develop your Business ready outputs

Once your reporting solution is up and running, use this data to optimise your outputs so your information is ready for use in business.  Automate reporting and outputs to save you time and resource.

At equimedia with have been working with our clients to build a number of bespoke business ready reporting solutions. We are here to help if you would like to discuss your current reporting challenges with our industry experts, simply fill in the form to get in touch.