CJU Recap: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Attribution

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Like we mentioned on Friday, we’d love to share a few key takeaways from some of the sessions we attended at CJU. The best session of the conference, in my humble opinion, was ‘Avoiding the Pitfalls of Attribution.’ Dave Osman of CJ Affiliate by Conversant and Natasha Moonka of Adometry gave great insight into the typical problems affiliate marketers encounter and how to improve the channel as a whole.


Let’s start at the beginning. What is the first problem today’s marketer’s face?

Pitfall 1: Our digital marketing analytics have blind spots. 

We (marketers) are using Google Analytics, affiliate tracking platforms, proprietary systems and everything in between. Within a channel, we have great insight on to how specific campaigns are performing. The bigger picture, however, remains a blur because without a unified view, we don’t understand what is happening holistically.

The solution to this problem, is, as Dave and Natasha explained, to make sure that the data you are viewing is actionable across all marketing channels, affiliate included. You will need a platform that allows you to attribute specific touch points in the sales process to their referring channel. One of the key takeaways from this session was to remember that predetermined touch points across all consumers and products doesn’t work. Also, don’t operate off of preconceived notions. Often affiliate can be the redheaded step-child of marketing, but having true insight into your overall analytics will give a clearer insight into how valuable affiliate really can be.

Pitball 2: discussed is only viewing the affiliate as bottom of the funnel.

By only going off of last click and viewing affiliates as solely closers, we lose out on how they are impacting the entire purchasing process. Often affiliates serve valuable roles in the introduction, evaluation, consideration and post purchase stages as well.

Pitfall 3: My site analytics tell me all I need to know.

Like we mentioned above, site analytics are great and do give you a good deal of valuable information. But by only focusing on what users are doing on your site, you are losing out on all of the valuable data about the journey that customer had to get to your site.

Once they had identified the pitfalls, Dave and Natasha transitioned to discussing the solution. First, break down your affiliate strategy. You should be segmenting results based off of content, creative, email and publisher – get as granular as you possibly can! next, your strategies should be customer-centric. Look at the entire customer journey and figure out where you can fine tune marketing and affiliate strategies to improve that journey.

You should also be gaining insight into how affiliate affects other channels – if your customers who are introduced to your products through evaluates, do they move through the evaluation and consideration phase faster?

The last components of solving the problem are taking advantage of all available data and ensuring that the data collected is actionable. There are several providers (Adnometry being one of them) that can help with this collection and analysis of data.

We’d love to hear about your attribution strategy – what works for you? Have you found anything interesting about how the affiliate channel impacts your entire purchasing process?