Be Less Wrong: Google Attribution Event in Amsterdam

13 Mar 2014 / by Lars Neumann / Comments

Today we had the pleasure to take part in an event focussed on attribution organized by Google in Amsterdam. As Tobias Zehnder, co-founder of the Webrepublic, was one of the invited speakers we want to share the most important insights with you. 




An edited version of his presentation is embedded at the end of this post.


The concept of marketing attribution is anything but new, but it has been kind of reintroduced to digital marketing in particular with the release of attribution modelling in Google Analytics. Suddenly the last click model, that was perceived by many as the standard way of measuring performance in digital channels was questioned.

The opinion in fashion with marketers recently evolves around the idea that the last click model is dead, but there is really no other model to take its place. If you start looking for a new standard model you might be up for a unpleasant surprise. Or as Bas Geenen (E-Commerce Manager, Sundio Group) put it: "Attribution has no silver bullet in store for you!" Companies realized the importance and possibilities of attribution analysis years ago but internal politics or incentive structures hinder them to ask the right questions or come to actionable conclusions. Without guidance individual channel managers can cook the books by choosing the attribution model that fits them best.

As a start individual channels should still report last click performance data, but reports should be constantly challenged with other attribution models to get a better understanding of the customer journey and the underlying implications.

Google is working hard on innovations and solutions to help marketers filling in more measurement gaps in the customer journey. In other words: to be less wrong. Recent releases like Estimated Total Conversions in Google AdWords or the game changing new Universal Analytics release and its awesome Measurement Protocol offer new ways to analyse cross-device conversion funnels.

How to be less wrong
Tobias focused in his talk on some key concepts for dealing with this topic.

  • To be less wrong, we have to move away from the idea of an absolute truth in online marketing measurability. An important first step is to know the limits of the tools we use.
  • We then have to explore the world beyond the last click to learn more about how users interact with our channels
  • Mind the gravity of preconceived information: We see "absolute" numbers everywhere we look - in the AdWords interface, in Google Analytics, in MailChimp Reports, in the spreadsheets we share with our colleagues etc. Preconceived information has a very strong gravitational force and we need to constantly challenge ourselves to remember that this is not the absolute, technical truth.
  • Attribution also has an impact on your organization: To succeed with attribution means to also anticipate political risks associated with shifting the way you measure and report performance, in order to then leverage the insights of this new mindset. This holds especially true if your team's compensation is linked to the last-click model.

Last but not least: A big thank you to Google Amsterdam for organizing this inspiring event and inviting us over!