Attribution: Digital Marketers Continue their Quest for the Holy Grail

Attribution Digital MarketingThere is a famous quote from John Wanamaker, who some consider to be a pioneer in marketing: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

Although marketing has evolved since the days of John Wanamaker, we still struggle to determine which advertising efforts are successful and which are not. Digital marketing has made great strides in answering this question, but the issue remains. How can we effectively optimize our campaign budgets when we can't accurately attribute the customers that came from which ads?

Attribution has always been the promise of digital marketing. Yet, it's the Holy Grail of the marketing and advertising industry, something we desperately seek but rarely find, despite all of the data and technology available today (even in a performance marketing environment such as Google).

An Unknown Problem

The problem is that many advertisers genuinely believe that Google solves attribution, but this is a common misperception and believing this is dangerous. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: there is a massive disconnect between Google and your business.

Let's take a look at an example in the legal category. A user conducts a search for "car accident lawyers," clicks on an ad for a local firm, takes action through a trackable event (form submission, click-to-call or click-to-chat) and ultimately becomes a customer.

This conversion is a result of hundreds of thousands of data points working together in tandem including factors you can control (targeting, keywords, creative), along with factors that you can't control (the device used, demographics, location, time of day).

Are you able to match first-party customer data to the exact search term or ad it triggered? Can you then optimize your spend to bid on the campaigns that are generating your most valuable customers?

Despite what you may think, the answer is no. Google removes this pertinent information, such as specific search terms and ads, that would otherwise help marketers connect ad clicks to customer data.

While you may be utilizing automation and auto-tagging in the Google Ads platform, these features are useless, since Google has no visibility into which actions result in actual customers for your business. Left untrained, this means that Google's automation features have the potential to make poor decisions for your business, including the wrong targeting, wrong ads and wrong "customers."

The Solution

The technology to solve this problem is now becoming available by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology through platforms like IBM Watson and Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS has the ability to store, process and read data at lightning speed while IBM Watson can sift through this data in real-time and make connections between Google Ads and customer data. 

SherloQ™ is the only product out there that solves the problem of attribution in performance marketing. Here's how it works.

With auto-tagging turned on, whenever a user clicks on an ad, they are then assigned a unique ID in Google Ads called a GCLID. This unique identifier is tied to that specific user as they travel around your site, even when they leave and visit the site again at a later date. If the user takes any action on your site, such as a call, chat or form submission, these third-party vendors can send that information, along with the GCLID, to SherloQ™'s system.

So long as there is a GCLID, SherloQ™can match the leads that are piped into the app against the exact ad that they came from, finally giving marketers access to their Holy Grail: complete attribution.

There are instances where there is no GCLID, such as when a click takes place on the search results page. Since advertisers cannot fire their own JavaScript tracking code inside of Google's own landscape due to privacy and security reasons, attribution becomes broken.

SherloQ™ is making strides to attribute leads without a GCLID based on probability. While SherloQ™ won't solve attribution entirely (yet), it's a revolutionary start. 

In June 2019, our clients in the legal industry had 2,287 total paid leads. Our team uncovered that 15 out of 37 of these clients did not have GCLIDs on any of their paid leads, a total of 334 leads unaccounted for. After enabling auto-tagging for all of our clients in July 2019, coupled with automation and intelligence, we saw attribution for this one vertical jump from 51 percent to 67 percent. Just imagine how this percentage will improve over the next few months.

With SherloQ™, you no longer need to worry about wasting your marketing and advertising dollars because you'll know which campaigns are performing or not.
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Megan Cooney-Smith
SherloQ™, Inc.
205 E 42nd St, Floor 20, New York, NY 1001
Phone: 646-989-3530
www.sherloq.app

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