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Why are Current Attribution and Analytics Tools so Limited?

January 30, 2018 Egan Montgomery



There are many limitations with current attribution and analytics tools.

To truly deliver Prescriptive Attribution requires an entirely new methodology, from mathematics and development, to messaging and positioning.

Most importantly, attribution must be based on the slice of the internet you actually live within, not just based on the silo data provided by ad vendors. Marketers are accustomed to “the old way” - guess and test and hope for the best.

Not to mention, the entire ecosystem of marketing tools has been built upon this unproductive, insufficient and broken foundation.

What happens when the internet pops up - seemingly out of nowhere - and an ecosystem evolves without rhyme or reason?


1) The silo effect

The internet is connected.

That’s the whole point, right? Actions on the web don’t occur in a vacuum. They make ripples across the network that transcend any one source or channel.

However - thanks to the haphazard construction of the web and the isolated structure of marketing departments / agencies, the thronged martech landscape evolved with more silos than the United States grain industry.

Seriously! Just look at the landscape.

Your customers don’t live in a silo world.

An attribution or analytics solution that is not equipped to process advanced, multi-touch, cross-channel attribution is simply a waste of time and energy.

2) Goliath’s bias

How well would you do in school if you graded your own tests and papers? 4.0?

Most likely.

So let’s try this on for size… the global digital advertising market is controlled by just a few players. And it just so happens that these companies sell attribution tools. Should we rely on companies selling ads to power how we think about attribution? It’s probably not a good idea.

This would be akin to the fox guarding the henhouse.

There are several analytics and attribution providers that also own digital advertising networks - including Adobe. And many marketers still rely on social platforms for analytics on paid campaigns and ad performance.

So not only are we again plagued by silos, but we’re also relying on data and insights to inform media and advertising decisions, which are provided by the same person selling you the advertising real estate.

We’re not pleading deliberate foul play, but imperfect competition helps ad networks return internal massive profits and margins, year after year after year.

3) First and last click attribution is dead

Most analytics and attribution tools on the market today are based on first or last click attribution.

It’s a model that has failed marketers for more than a decade, yet most modern solutions still lack the technological capacity to offer anything better. As we discover a much better way to approach attribution at DemandJump it leads us to the realization that first and last click attribution isn’t really dead.

They’re too irrelevant to have ever really existed in the first place. The only time there is ever any real credibility to a first or last touch model is when a customer engages with your brand only one time and converts.

This model is inherently flawed considering most research shows it takes between 3 and 8 touches (just online!) before a customer converts.

4) Technology limitations

Computational power, database structure and (certain) mathematics have only recently evolved to handle the massive workload required to solve multi-touch Prescriptive Attribution.

Tools built on older principles and methods are simply too far down the rabbit hole to redact. Short of erasing cumbersome amounts of technology debt and effectively rebuilding the software from square one, it would be difficult for an outdated analytics and attribution tool to catch up with a modern solution like Traffic Cloud™.

It takes the right math applied to the right job, cutting edge database and development principles, and much more in order to truly solve for Prescriptive Attribution.


If you are using current attribution and analytics tools, chances are they are unequipped to truly measure the effectiveness your marketing efforts are having on your audience. Most marketers rely on the 'spray and pray' method and cannot see which channels will have the highest ROI for their marketing spend. Attribution and analytics tools that are based on first/last touch attribution are failing marketers and it's time to take a serious look at your attribuiton and analytics tools because chances are, the capabilities are much more limited than you realize.

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