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“The game has changed because the consumer’s purchase journey has become so fragmented” – Seth Richardson, CEO of DC Storm

What’s next for attribution? Industry leaders discuss latest innovations.  Brands and publishers debate changes in attribution at annual industry event

Over 400 leading and emerging brands attended Rakuten Marketing’s annual Symposium conference to debate hot industry topics and share insights on how to grow their businesses in the CPA sector. Top of the agenda was attribution, fuelled by a keynote from digital measurement expert Seth Richardson, CEO of DC Storm.

According to Richardson: “Last click wins doesn’t work anymore. The game has changed because the consumer’s purchase journey has become so fragmented. Publishers are credited five times more when they move to an attribution model. It’s time to start rewarding those publishers whose role in the buying decision has previously been overlooked and for there to transparency about which publishers are really driving brand’s sales.”

Today 68% of total revenue from retail purchases is made in more than one step according to Google so audience members raised questions about whether last click wins reflects consumer shopping habits. Christine Fitzgerald, Head of Commercial for ShopStyle by PopSugar, commented: “For many content publishers, it’s difficult to benefit from last click, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been a part of the shopper’s purchasing decision. We need to see change so that advertisers reward the influence that every touch point has, not just the last one.”

In contrast, James Little, Commercial Director at Top CashBack said: “I believe that last click wins will be the ongoing model in this industry – attribution has been talked about for 10 years and I’m not convinced that it will become a payment mechanism for more than a handful of merchants, especially as entire businesses have been built around it. What I would say is that the recent availability of more data and insights is a wonderful thing and I think it will be crucial that publishers continue to become destination sites for consumers in order to drive conversions.”

Mark Haviland, MD Rakuten Marketing Europe added: “The last click model has been hugely successful for many organisations, but with access to more data retailers now have the chance to contrast it with other theories. Our annual Symposium is a fantastic event to encourage this industry debate and at Rakuten Marketing we are facilitating these discussions to build our customers’ knowledge of the attribution models available. It’s so important that our clients are exposed to the latest models and digital innovation. This will be a slow evolution rather than a sudden shift, and we should explore all possible outcomes.”

Attendees also heard keynotes from Frank Lampen, Founder of Independents United on the new technologies changing e-commerce, as well as a talk on disruptive start-ups from Ian Merricks of the Accelerator Academy. Shopping cart recovery and onsite engagement expert Ve Interactive was the platinum sponsor for the event, with on-site retargeting platform Yieldify as the silver sponsor and voucher site Voucherbox.co.uk was the bronze sponsor.

Neela Ahmed, Director of Retail, at Ve Interactive commented: “The Rakuten Marketing Symposium is a great opportunity for publishers and brands alike to establish personal relationships and drive their CPA programmes forward with new innovations and technologies. Events like these prompt debate; the varying views on attribution are a fantastic conversation starter for a continuous discussion across the industry.”

Ollie Jones, VP Partnerships and Sales at Yieldify adds: “Being able to understand the strategies and goals of the brands attending is invaluable. Consumer shopping habits are constantly evolving and the event enables advertisers and publishers to stay ahead of the game by forging innovative partnerships that embrace this online behaviour and using it to drive success within the strategies of those brands.”