TUMI’s Charlie Cole On The Limits Of Last Click Attribution

Even as shopper journeys become more difficult to track, the need for accurate attribution increases. It’s become a major challenge for retailers to understand how every single touch point influences the road to purchase.

“Attribution is a very nebulous thing,” said Charlie Cole, VP and Chief Digital Officer at TUMI, when kicking off his RIC17 session titled: Attribution: A Simple Way To Apply It To Your Business.

Think about President Donald Trump’s media impressions, Cole told the audience. He referenced Trump’s Wikipedia page, which listed numerous mentions of his name, including comics, hip hop songs and movies such as Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. The result? All of those varied media impressions somehow impacted the election results of November 2016, according to Cole.

“There’s a really good chance that marketing attribution just led to a new President,” said Cole. “And I mean that, but it’s hard to understand which one of those things and people did what.”

Forget Last Click

The first rule of basic attribution: don’t start with last click attribution. “[Last click] is not the way to manage a business,” said Cole. “Attribution — at its core — is understanding how to market your brand on more than a last click basis.

Cole continued to showcase an example of an attribution journey:

  1. A customer views a TUMI display ad on Vogue.com, does not click on it, and later visits the web site via an organic search. This is a view through conversion.
  2. The customer goes on Google.com and types in luggage, finds TUMI.com, visits the web site, but does not buy. This is a first click conversion.
  3. The customer signs up for the email…