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News Plus 16 Mar 2021 - 3 min read

Telstra trying to kick last click attribution "drug", ramping up in-house studio, says dynamic creative "not easy"

By Brendan Coyne - Editor

Amanda Nazar, Group Manager, Digital Marketing, Telstra (second from left): “We are getting every single stakeholder in the business behind the idea of moving away from last click."

Telstra is pinning hopes on Markov models and Google’s data clean room to kick last click attribution into touch. The telco is also “massively ramping up” in-house creative studio work, but admits dynamic creative tech remains work in progress.

What you need to know:

  • Telco using Markov model and moving to Google Ads Data Hub to gauge which ads and channels contributed to sale.
  • Also ramping up in-house ad output, but says dynamic creative tech not up to scratch.
  • Optus also looking for “pointier” personalised creative that better drives results.

Last click for us is a drug that people are addicted to, it’s really terrible.

Amanda Nazar, Group Manager, Digital Marketing, Telstra

Telstra is building out more sophisticated methods of working out how different media channels are driving sales in a bid to kick a last click attribution habit, according to Amanda Nazar, Group Manager, Digital Marketing.

“Last click for us is a drug that people are addicted to, it’s really terrible,” Nazar told Ashton Media’s Programmatic Summit, suggesting it is akin to blaming the last drink of a session for getting you drunk, rather than all of the drinks along the way.

“So we’ve doubled down on attribution. We’ve always had a Markov model, but we are also moving over to ADH [Ads Data Hub], which is Google’s Markov solution,” said Nazar. (A Markov attribution model is a probabilistic model that shows buyer journeys as a graph.)

“We are getting every single stakeholder in the business behind the idea of moving away from last click. It is all about getting more insight into what’s actually driving sales. Using Markov has really shifted that. Using ADH and the [data] clean rooms is going to amplify that even more.”

Optimal attribution?

However, speaking on the same panel Sven Lindell, CMO at Winning Group, said he is yet to be convinced by complex attribution models.

“The way attribution is calculated, there is no consistency to it. With any model, you have to give yourself consistency and measure it over time. Then you also need comparability over time,” said Lindell.

While first and last click models are imperfect, “anything in between is quite debatable, and there are lots of providers out there that try to put fancy algorithms in place to say 'this is how we attribute the equation,” said Lindell.

"But there is no consistency. You ask Facebook to do attribution, they will do it their way; ask Google to do it, and they will do it their way.” As such, he believes it is simpler for teams to understand "indisputable" first or last click approaches.

Telstra’s Nazar countered by suggesting that a “layered measurement approach” using marketing mix modelling and lift analysis “provides validation” that marketers using those approaches are “heading in the right direction”.

“And if your studies show that last click is the right model for your business, do it,” she said, “but don't do it blindly”.

In-house creative

Meanwhile, Telstra’s move to in-house more creative work is also paying off, said Nazar.

“We have an in-house studio and it's ramping up massively. Over the last couple of months, we've ramped up again and we're bringing more remit into the internal studio, which has been really interesting. It's made them go faster [and that is enabling] a more positive return.”

The telco hopes to dynamically personalise creative, but Nazar indicated the technology is not there yet.

“We have a project called ‘create once, distribute everywhere’ that we are trying to get up and running. It’s going to be great when we can ‘templatise’ as much as we can, being able to put in an asset and create all the different variants that you need.

“But it is not as easy as it sounds,” she said. “It is great in theory, but really hard to maintain.”

Optus dials up pressure

Optus Director of Revenue and Growth, Lamberto Di Gioia, also outlined the need for greater creative personalisation at the summit – and sharper results.

“Ultimately, creative is going to have to do a much better job at converting quicker. Third party cookies are disappearing … so creative will have to be a lot more pointy,” she said.

“There is going to be a bit more pressure on creative agencies for sure, just to ensure that they're delivering that [personalised] message … No doubt it will be a bit more challenging going forward.”

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