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As customers continue to interact with brands across a growing number of channels, mature marketers recognize the need for a more holistic attribution strategy. But the biggest hurdles come when you try to actually connect the dots between campaigns and sales or other real-world business results.

Recent reports and surveys highlighted by market research leader eMarketer show how attribution in digital advertising is shaping up this year. Are you keeping pace? Take a look at these five charts to find out:

The Current State of Attribution

Giving credit where credit is due is a key part of measuring the successful elements of any marketing campaign. But when asked what the most challenging barriers to marketing attribution are, over a third of marketers cited analyzing campaigns by channel and attributing ROI to marketing. Not surprisingly, these two responses were also selected among the top three priorities for marketers in 2018.

Multi-Touch Models Are Paving the Way

The savviest marketers (45% overall) have already moved to a multi-touch attribution model, where advertisers get a clearer picture of what’s driving sales than do last-touch models. But outdated attribution methods are keeping some from more accurately linking marketing efforts to sales. A recent survey showed that first-click and last-click models together are still used by nearly seven out of ten marketers.

The Rest Plan to Invest

For those who haven’t cracked the attribution puzzle yet, investing in improved attribution for digital and offline sales is a key priority. Better reporting, measurement and attribution will command the attention of almost half of senior marketing professionals in 2018.

So What’s The Hold Up?

The challenges to improving attribution models are not what you expect. The technology to tie online and offline behaviors together and accurately attribute campaign elements exists. The real problem with improving attribution is often a disconnect between people or processes. This stems from the fact that marketing departments are typically siloed. As a result, each department prefers to use the model that shows the best results for their channel. Better collaboration across teams during execution and a consistent process to measure success are necessary if marketers want to more accurately map the customer journey start to finish. Those furthest along in the attribution game started with getting senior-level support to address these internal barriers.

Start Testing With The Low-Hanging Fruit

Despite the best of intentions to prioritize attribution, many hurdles still remain. Certain marketing channels are easier than others when it comes to assigning attribution. The nebulousness of content marketing makes it the most difficult channel for many marketers to analyze attribution. But low-hanging fruit, like email marketing, paid search and display advertising, are the best places to start testing what works for your organization.

While there is no perfect solution, smart marketers are working with a variety of partners and technologies to paint their attribution picture (and optimize toward it). If you are still struggling with marketing attribution, reach out to us to learn about more effective holistic solutions.