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The Key To Programmatic Relevance Today, Tomorrow And Beyond

There has never been a more exciting time to be a marketer.  With technological developments achieving the previously unfeasible, we now sit tantalizingly close to realizing the futuristic visions outlined in popular Hollywood film; Steven Spielberg’s ‘Minority Report’ springs to mind with its consumer confronting digital billboards. Within the next few decades, attribution based on consumer engagement will take centre stage and marketers will be able to ascertain the ‘real’ impact of their marketing campaigns like never before. Soon, our fully connected devices will be able to paint a better picture of why, where and how consumers engage with brands online and the impact that each touch point truly has on their decision to purchase. Whether this be through retinal-scan technology, the developed intelligence of wearables, our connected internet of things or any other seemingly whimsical technology that may sit just out of reach in 2016, marketers will soon be given the power to understand their consumers purchase behaviour in a truly personal way.

While some strides have been made towards implementing new and intuitive multi-touch attribution models, we still find ourselves often lumbered with outdated last-touch attribution systems that devolve digital marketing to a race for the last-touch; an inefficient and unfortunately still widely perpetuated reality. It is important to respect the humble legacy of the last-touch attribution model and understand that it is only the rapid evolution of our industry that has forced us into attempting to develop more precise tools. Equally, it remains that the last-touch a consumer makes before converting will always be a highly valuable piece of information. Within our evolved programmatic environment however, where campaigns have started to be measured against both brand and performance KPI’s, the need to advance our attribution technology to understand the entire user journey is growing.  So what can marketers do today, to ensure that campaigns are set up to attribute in the most meaningful way? One important step marketers can take is acknowledging that conversions, clicks and impressions are not just qualitative metrics for understanding the success of a campaign, but also the digital embodiment of the real world actions of an actual person. Devolving the success metric to a last-touch attribution model, suggests that only the final impact has any marked effect on the consumer.

The truth is that offline and online marketing impacts users in a myriad of differing ways, from emotive storytelling to involving native content, and a one size fits all approach is rarely the most efficient.When all parties involved are working collaboratively towards a team goal, as opposed to competing for the last-touch not only are campaigns likely to be more successful, but advertisers can focus on making sure that the consumer experience is at the heart of their efforts. In reality, building bespoke client attribution models is the sole way that we can better serve all stages of the funnel from engagement through to conversion.As the industry evolves, and if we are not swift enough to build new attribution models, we may soon find ourselves surrounded by touch points which are valuable, but ultimately impossible to properly attribute.

A recent study by Magna Global predicts that by 2019, $37 billion will be spent on programmatic media alone with newly programmatically tradable platforms making up a substantial share of this. TV, radio and native will all be largely traded programmatically, which is an exciting prospect. That said, considering the complexity of monitoring and attributing the user journey on desktop alone, it opens up a whole new challenge regarding multi-touch attribution. Moving into the next stage of programmatic across all digital mediums, the businesses that are able to attribute intelligently across devices, will be those that are able to generate the strongest ROI from their marketing spend.Every touch point on the consumer journey has a unique value and success should be attributed accordingly. This is how we can ensure that our programmatic media campaigns remain relevant as technological advances continue to help accurately measure a customer’s journey to purchase.