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How Multi-Touch Attribution Helps CPG Brands Tackle Seven Challenges

5 minute read | July 2019

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands are following consumers to the web and facing significant hurdles in the process. Shifts in shopper preferences, a complex path-to-purchase, digital platforms and channels, and new competitors have changed the way CPG brands reach, engage and convert their best customers.

Several trends have made growth in the CPG sector more difficult. These new factors require brands, many of them in the market for decades, to ramp up tools, resources and skills in the face of industry disruption. It also means taking a new approach to marketing measurement and, for some, using multi-touch attribution. 

Here are seven factors changing the CPG ecosystem:

  1. Digital adoption: While digital and mobile offer new ways for CPG brands to reach and engage consumers, the lower barrier to entry and relatively lower cost have made it easier for new competitors to gain traction and for customers to shift from brick-and-mortar to web.
  2. New competitors: The CPG industry as a whole remains crowded and competitive—and it’s only getting more so, as new small and mid-sized competitors enter the marketplace.
  3. Online ordering: Brick-and-mortar-based CPG brands have also been affected by the widespread use of online ordering as consumers—wooed by the convenience of mobile shopping, the speed of shipping and new options such as curbside pickup—spend more time and money on their phones.
  4. Sustainability: Consumers demand for sustainable products—those that are environmentally friendly—will continue to rise. Shoppers are willing to pay more for these products and will spend up to $150 billion on items with recycled packaging, organic, cruelty free and other attributes by 2021.
  5. Private label: More consumers than ever are purchasing private-label products at the expense of national brands. Private-label sales have increased by $7.9 billion across brick-and-mortar stores in the past three years. Online, private label’s dollar share more than doubled over the past year to 3%, up from 1.3%.
  6. Amazon’s portfolio: According to ScrapeHero, Amazon now sells almost 120 million products including clothing, shoes, jewelry, tools, personal care, home and kitchen items. CPG items are a rapidly growing category on Amazon. 
  7. Global markets: Digital adoption isn’t just for consumers. CPG marketers are no longer bound by the location of audience segments and their proximity to physical storefronts in local markets. But brands must adapt to leverage mobile and online tools to understand and influence buyers around the world.


As these trends make clear, it’s becoming more important for CPG brands to consider how they engage consumers in the digital space. This requires greater ability to understand which marketing campaigns are converting customers efficiently—touchpoint by touchpoint.

CMOs need this information to plan strategically. Channel managers need it to plan tactically. It’s no longer sufficient to look at the last consumer touch before purchase. To understand what contributes to each sale, brands need insight into the entire customer journey, online and offline, at a granular level.

CPG brands must also engage consistently with consumers and create personalized, relevant experiences across digital, mobile and physical spaces. This means they need tools that will let them tweak and adjust ad frequency, messaging, creative and placement to boost high performing media and shift spend away from those that aren’t converting.


Many CPG companies are recognizing that the digital world requires a new approach to marketing measurement and are adopting multi-touch attribution. This approach lets marketers take advantage of the unique set of data produced by digital channels to understand effectiveness at granular levels, by audience, and at a much faster cadence. 

Multi-touch attribution tracks the consumer journey across all addressable touchpoints—digital, mobile and physical—and assigns fractional credit to the channels and tactics that influenced a desired business outcome.

With a clear understanding of the touchpoints that drive performance, CPG marketers can make smarter investment decisions that enhance the consumer journey from first impression through conversion. By using data about consumer buying behaviors to target offers, CPG brands can improve conversions and increase market share on a global or local level.


Situation: CPG Brand A seeks to increase the efficiency of its advertising budget by reducing wasted spend and improving its ability to target specific, high-value individuals. In the face of increasing competition, it would also like to improve customer experience by incorporating dynamic content and greater customization. Its ultimate goal is to drive revenue and improve return on investment (ROI).

Challenge: To do this, Brand A needs insight into the consumer journey and which touchpoints are influencing conversion. This will allow it to optimize for higher ROI and incremental volume in audiences that are more effective. 

Solution: Nielsen’s multi-touch attribution solution offers a means to enrich Brand A’s customer data and measure customer activity to see what’s working and what isn’t. With this insight, Brand A is able to create audience segments, measure performance, and shift budget and creative, while its agency can optimize media buying and creatives for each audience.

Results: As a result of adopting multi-touch attribution, CPG Brand A is able to drive substantial incremental volume and optimize media to engage and convert the most important and highly impactful target audiences.

The company also gains a competitive edge—learning where each consumer is in the journey has a huge impact on purchase. By using enriched targeting capabilities in concert with the results of multi-touch attribution, Brand A marketing can focus on consumers that have the most potential.

To learn more about multi-touch attribution, download Nielsen’s Attribution for CPGs.

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