Rakuten to challenge status quo of attribution

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 30 January 2015

With an increasing amount of brands saying that the ‘last-click-wins’ payment model for rewarding a channel is no longer the best approach, the hot topic of attribution continues to be at the forefront of marketers' minds.

As a result, Sydney-based Rakuten Marketing felt it was a good time to “challenge industry status quo for attribution”, and has announced the beta launch of its proprietary omnichannel attribution platform, Cadence Essential.

The platform provides marketers with a single, consistent view of performance across all communication channels, providing deeper understanding of specific consumer behaviors and insight into how each channel contributes to conversion. This includes channels such as affiliate marketing, retargeting, display advertising, social media and SEO.

The point behind attribution is to take a wider strategic approach to find the optimal combination of influences to drive a sale in the most efficient way possible – although the one model to suit all is no longer a good enough fit.

MD of Rakuten Marketing Australia, Anthony Capano, said it has become increasingly important to brands and advertisers to have a view of how different marketing and advertising channels are working together across the entire customer journey.

Capano said Cadence Essential gives complete transparency and allows marketers to make informed decisions that optimise campaign spend levels and deliver higher ROI.

Capano said it measures more than just the campaigns run through Rakuten Marketing. For example, if a client works with Rakuten Marketing on a retargeting campaign, but another marketing provider for social media activity, they could still compare performance on the new platform.

The new offering was built from the ground up with attribution technology gained via Rakuten Marketing’s acquisition of UK-based DC Storm (now Rakuten Attribution).

Prior to the acquisition, DC Storm made waves in the UK after teaming up with department store House of Fraser to test out an attribution model based on dwell time.

House of Fraser was aware its affiliate campaign was in decline, and said it was apparent that the ‘last click wins’ payment model was part of the reason. The majority of commission payments were being paid to cashback and voucher code affiliates, while affiliates contributing higher up the funnel were not being recognised.

DC Storm suggested that the attribution model adopted by House of Fraser could be implemented for making affiliate payments. This would ensure a complete alignment of commission payments linked to a valuation of the contribution to a sale.

After Implementing the new affiliate payment model it saw an 83% rise in the number of affiliate touchpoints awarded commission. No affiliates have left the program and affiliates are now rewarded for cross-device journeys .

Despite some suggesting high-level discussions on attribution and its varying models are lagging in Australia, Capano said views about attribution in Australia are similar to those that are coming out of the UK and US.

“Most brands realise that the last-click-wins payment model for rewarding a channel is no longer the best approach, however measuring the performance across a variety of channels has not been easy,” Capano said.

“That is why we are excited about offering our attribution tool to the Australian market to help marketers look beyond a single channel approach.”

Speaking to AdNews, Capano said the future of attribution in Australia looks bright as the conversations being had with more and more brands show that there is “certainly an appetite to better understand the overall user journey”.

“In Australia, most ‘omnichannel’ brands now have to have an integrated offline and online proposition, and measuring the performance of these channels will continue to be a focus in order to better allocate their budgets,” he said.

President of Rakuten Marketing Tony Zito said the business, which is owned by Japanese electronic commerce giant Rakuten Inc, aims to “transform the current industry approach to attribution” and what advertisers expect from their marketing partners.

“Advertisers shouldn’t have to pay for transparency into their marketing investments,” Zito said.
“The consumer purchase journey continues to grow more complex and advertisers need the barriers to understanding this journey removed,” he said.

“Other companies charge for even a baseline understanding of how their media investments work together; Rakuten Marketing is strengthening its commitment to transparency and leading a significant shift in the business of attribution.”

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