As data collection expands, the need to understand exactly how it affects consumer behavior is critical to driving revenue. However, in many cases, that can mean hundreds of different touchpoints along the way. In fact, a Google study found that in 3 months, a buyer could have over 900+ digital interactions prior to purchasing a car.
Digital marketing has replaced traditional methods, which means there are a variety of channels we can communicate in. It’s no longer easy to track the origin of sales. That’s why there is a need to look into where your best data is coming from. Otherwise known as “attribution.”
The broad definition of this strategy is the identification of a set of user actions (touchpoints, interactions, events, etc…) that contribute to a desired outcome (typically sale). They are then assigned a value based on these events.
Marketing attribution allows a brand to understand what touchpoints lead to conversion, and even the different combinations that can raise the rate. For example, a user that finds you on social media, then receives an email, and finally converts with a paid ad, takes a different customer path than an individual who receives an email, then sees you in a paid search, and finally converts through social media.
Despite both scenarios containing the same three channels, order can dictate the percentage of conversions. Studying these permutations is part of how you can find the strategies that contribute the most to your data and marketing efforts. Various channels can include:
- Social media platforms
- Paid and organic search
- Email marketing
- Paid social advertising
Marketing attribution provides a level of understanding about what combination of events (in a particular order) influence people to engage in a desired behavior.
There is no right or wrong way of applying data to your marketing efforts. There is only what works. That is why there are several different types of ways you can attribute your data to conversions and sales. This will answer the age-old question of “where should I invest my marketing budget?”
An attribution model is a simple way of looking at how credit is assigned to events in a conversion path. In other words, which touchpoints along the funnel are the strongest and making the best use of data. Since every business has different objectives, attribution models should be tailored to those goals. These models include:
- Even Credit/Linear: Every touchpoint that has contributed to the conversion gets an equal amount of attribution. The first and last clicks get the same amount of credit.
- Last Click/Time Decay: This model assumes the last event in the funnel is what caused the conversion. In other words, the last channel or piece of content the consumer clicked on before converting.
- Position-based: This attributes a 40%-20%-40% split among the first, middle, and last channels. The first and last events are equally more important than what happens in between.
- First/Last Click: These are two separate models, but the concept is the same. 100% of the attribution either goes entirely to the first click in the funnel or the last one before a conversion.
- Data-driven: This model analyzes all of the data points to determine what leads to conversion. It typically favors converting associated keyword and ads, campaigns, and ad groups.
Lookback windows are commonly used to define the limits within marketing attribution. It is typically derived from an overview of the path to conversion. However, be careful because this can also hamper your efforts. If you are looking at only 30 days to the path of conversion, you may end up only focusing on later stage channels.
Attribution is an easier concept than it seems. As digital marketing continues to evolve, there will only be more and more data points to track. Looking at your funnel in increments can help define which data you collect that is really useful. The more you pay attention to the information that matters, the easier it will be to convert your leads.