For Rue La La, Multitouch Attribution Is a Work in Progress

An interview with Melissa Studzinski

Author: Maria Minsker

August 24, 2017

Effective attribution requires more than just looking at the last channel a customer interacted with before making a purchase, but attributing a sale to multiple touchpoints is easier said than done. Data isn’t perfect, and assigning weight to individual engagements isn’t an exact science, so solution flexibility is key. Melissa Studzinski, head of customer engagement and loyalty at flash sale site Rue La La, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about why the company opted for an in-house attribution tool.

eMarketer: How effective is your brand at measuring campaign and channel effectiveness?

Melissa Studzinski: We are focused on giving our members an omnichannel experience, but our measurement of that experience isn’t perfect yet. We talk to our customers all the time. We look at customer satisfaction scores, we conduct focus groups and we do regular surveys. We want to know what’s missing from customers’ experiences, our product line and our sales approach, but measurement and attribution are by no means perfect yet.

eMarketer: What are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing with measurement?

Studzinski: Look at a channel like email, for example. You know who you sent it to, and you know who opened it. But even metrics like that aren’t perfect, because not every browser records every open. Plus, if someone is viewing a message on a mobile device and their signal isn’t great, then we might not capture that click. Brands are constantly losing data fidelity. That’s why it’s important to monitor trends over time, whether that’s visitation metrics, sales metrics or customer satisfaction metrics.

eMarketer: Do you use last-click attribution, or are you looking at multiple touchpoints?

Studzinski: We are building an internal team—instead of relying on third-party tools for measurement or analytics—so that we can be more flexible about the touchpoints we look at for attribution. It’s still a work in progress, and we know that in some cases we can’t tease apart which touchpoint is driving an action, but we can already set up tests to help us understand how the channels work together.

“It’s still a work in progress, and we know that in some cases we can’t tease apart which touchpoint is driving an action.”

eMarketer: How important is it to integrate digital and traditional media in your attribution model?

Studzinski: Ideally, it should all be integrated. Even though we are a digital business, we know consumers aren’t on their phones or computers 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, the staying power of digital touches isn’t long-lasting, but traditional media engagements tend to have more lasting effects. That’s why a lot of ecommerce brands are launching physical pop-up shops—to foster deeper connections with consumers. Brands are doing a better job of understanding their customers and building stronger relationships. Integrating digital and traditional media has a lot to do with that.