How solving the skills gap could solve the attribution challenge

Adroll's Ben Sharp considers the link between Australia's skills gap and its failure to solve the attribution challenge.

A lot has been made about the digital skills shortage, but could a skills shortage be what’s holding marketers back from attribution?

For all the all the discussion and education about attribution, our State of Marketing Attribution report showed that marketers are skill preferencing first-click and last-click attribution. As far back as 2012, first-click and last-click have been recognised as the least effective attribution.

In October, we reported only 27% of marketers globally believe last-click is very effective. That number gets worse locally with only 18% of Australian marketers reporting that last-click is very effective. Nearly half the marketers we spoke to thought custom attribution was very effective.

But last-click and first-click attribution is the easiest attribution to explain, implement and measure. Two out of three marketers globally don’t carry out attribution or have delayed its implementation due to a lack of knowledge.

Globally, 77% of marketers globally agree they are challenged in attracting the right staff to manage attribution. In Australia the difficulty in hiring is even more pronounced – 92% of marketers reporting that they can’t hire the right staff for attribution.

Marketers know they need some form of attribution but, without the right staff in place, the simpler it is to manage, the better. Putting these factors together, it seems like talent could be the key to moving away from last-click attribution.

So what can marketers do to attract the right talent to implement a meaningful attribution model?

Marketers need to start looking beyond traditional marketing backgrounds. While this might sound counter-intuitive, Australia marketers see statistical modelling as the biggest skill gap to meaningful attribution. While the face of marketing is changing, statistical modelling still isn’t part of the marketing curriculum at most educational institutions.

When attracting different talent it’s important to write open job descriptions which emphasis the key characteristics and skill sets required. It’s also good to look outside the traditional places where you would advertise the role.  

Marketing and advertising has been one of the most disrupted disciplines in recent years, so the desire to continually learn and grow is incredibly important. Marketers need to be curious, ask questions, develop hypotheses and run experiments.

Marketers need to be brave to test new technologies and build daring campaigns. You can train people on how your business works or the finer points of an integrated marketing campaign, but these can’t be taught and are critical to a successful marketer.  

Once you’ve attracted the right talent, it is also important to create a culture of inclusion and empowerment. As the role of marketing within businesses diversifies, so does the team. It’s important to understand and acknowledge how the team fits together and the contribution they make to the overall results.

Marketers know that last-click attribution is holding them back from a true understanding of how their marketing channels are working together.

The change in the role of the marketing team has created new roles for people who traditionally haven’t thought about themselves as marketers. If marketing teams can work out how to attract these types of people then we’ll definitely see a shift and sophistication in attribution.

Ben Sharp is managing director at AdRoll APAC.


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