Nonprofits Learn about Attribution and Why It Should be Part of Marketing Strategy

By Julie Ellman, Partner, Senior Vice President

Attribution is a newer form of continuous measurement that evaluates the impact of media touchpoints on a person’s decision to donate, sign up, register, volunteer, or take a desired action.  To help nonprofits learn more about attribution, Connect360 hosted a “Couch Conversation,” a virtual nonprofit roundtable with a leading expert from Nielsen, Shirley Kinney, Vice President of Solution Consulting.

Shirley showcased how attribution can identify which channels, tactics, and creative content are more successful—as well as how long it takes a person to act after seeing ads.  For example, if your organization has a PSA on CBS at 7pm, on NBC at 8pm, on ABC at 9pm, and a few Facebook and Google ads throughout a given week, which spots get “credit” for converting a viewer into a donor?  Attribution can answer that!

Top takeaways include:

  • Attribution details include schedule, location, and other key aspects of TV, social media, Google, and other places where people see PSAs or other information about organizations.
  • Understanding attribution is important because it enables organizations to make the best possible decisions for making a PSA campaign successful.Based on what they learn from attribution data, organizations can adjust their strategies as needed—such as placement and creative content—based on real-time data relevant for reaching their target audiences.For instance, an organization might not be able to change everything about each PSA, but they might be able to adjust one or more aspects.  Modifications can include length, frequency, creative content priorities, time of day, seasonal scheduling, placement location (such as TV, radio, online, etc.), and other factors.
  • Attribution is a multifaceted responsibility that goes beyond the role of a single team member because it impacts the whole organization, including marketing, finance, operations, and other areas. Attribution data helps drive decisions such as budget, goal setting, campaign creative content, and more.
  • Attribution helps organizations customize campaigns based on different KPIs. By measuring and tracking attribution data, organizations can quickly know if their campaigns are effective, or they’ll see if something needs to be tweaked to improve effectiveness.

While all these variables can seem overwhelming, it’s most important to start attribution measurements in a way that works for your organization.  For example, a good first step is to choose one or two types of measurements (such as schedule or location) as a starting point, and then gradually add on additional measurements as you continue.  As you review and learn from analyzing your data, you can tweak your campaigns and measurements to collect additional data or adjust your strategy as needed.

If you have questions or if you’d like to suggest an idea for an upcoming Couch Conversation, please let me know.

Our next Couch Conversation is being planned now.  Be on the lookout for an invite soon.

About The Author

Julie Ellman

Julie Ellman is a Partner and Senior Vice President at Connect360 Multimedia in the Bay Area office. For over 25 years Julie has been a strategic media counselor for all types of nonprofits, associations, government organizations and PR/marketing firms.

About Connect 360

Connect360 is a leading media placement agency driving measurable results for some of Charity Navigator’s highest-ranked nonprofits, well-known associations, government agencies and public relations/marketing firms.

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