Thursday, July 16, 2015

With a variety of devices used by tech-savvy consumers these days, last touch analysis might not make much of a difference in the long run for businesses tracking mobile sales. Last touch analysis is essentially measuring how a customer is led to a purchase based on the last search or ad channel that customer used prior to the sale. Interestingly, there's a big flaw in using this system, especially for mobile users.

Marketers of course want to understand how their mobile marketing is working, but is last touch attribution the way to find out? Expedia CMO, David Doctorow says, “Last touch mobile marketing attribution is dead.” If that’s true, why is last touch analysis such an insignificant analytical tool when it comes to mobile marketing? Ultimately, the results of last touch attribution are inconclusive because when consumers get online to make purchases, they typically use a variety of devices and perform several searches before purchasing.

The Problem with Last Touch Analysis

When consumers get online to shop for flights or hotels, for instance, they don't make on-the-spot decisions. A consumer might log on to their mobile device from a coffee shop to search for deals, then do a number of other searches at home to compare prices on their tablet, and finally make the actual purchase on a laptop. There really is no way to actually track what search or advertisement influenced a purchase on a particular device when there are both mobile and web clicks, in addition to a history of searching, to be accounted for. Last touch analysis would therefore be quite inaccurate to determine which search, ad, or device successfully led to a sale.

The Answer to Accurate Analysis

Although there isn’t a surefire way to get accurate last touch analysis statistics, there is a way to track sales paths, if only somewhat, through continuous testing of ad channels, marketing strategies, and search marketing efforts. The key is to continue optimizing web and mobile efforts, using a multiple attribution analysis, to measure overall ROI. Turning on and off particular ads, A/B testing, and other optimization efforts to discover what directly affects sales is a viable answer to the problem of accurate marketing analysis.

If you're a business owner tracking sales and traffic pathways by examining last touch attribution, you’re probably missing a lot of accurate data. Begin to reformulate the way you think about advertising and consumer sales processes. As consumers grow evermore tech and purchase savvy, multiple device and touch attribution exploration will be necessary analytical tools.