Solving The Problem of Marketing Attribution

With most marketing campaigns encompassing multiple channels, marketers have a bigger problem than trying to consistently produce engaging content: the problem of attribution. With so many different channels for lead generation and conversions, how do you figure out which ads, platforms, and channels are most effective at driving customer decisions? How do you solve the problem of attribution?

The Problem of Attribution

Attributing which pieces of content are responsible for driving awareness, engagement, and conversions is an essential part of marketing. Fortunately, some channels make it easy. For example, it’s easy to see your open rate, CTR, and unique opens for an email marketing campaign. A billboard, on the other hand, is less straightforward. 

a group of marketers working on a customer-focused marketing strategy and analyzing metricsConsider all the possible avenues a customer can take before making a buying decision. For example, a customer might:

-See a physical or digital advertisement

-Receive a marketing email

-Read an online review

-Ask a friend for advice

-Visit a brand website

Let’s say the prospective customer in question interacts with all these different advertisements in a short span. He or she ultimately ends up making a purchase from the brand in question, but not directly through any of the links offered in the aforementioned content. What made the customer decide to buy? Was it one piece of content or several pieces working together as a funnel?

Therein lies the problem of attribution. The more channels in which you advertise, the more resources–time, money, effort–it’s costing you. Attribution helps you track what works and what doesn’t. 

Solving The Problem

an illustration of how paid social media can positively impact your marketing effortsIn most cases, there is no single touchpoint or launching point for conversions. That’s because a well-planned conversion series uses pieces of content that complement each other, utilizing different archetypes, messages, and stages in the customer journey from generating awareness to reinforcing post-purchase. That’s what makes attribution modeling so valuable. 

In a single-touch attribution model, credit is given to either the first or last touchpoint before conversion. That means either the first or last piece of content the customer clicked, saw, or engaged with gets credit for the conversion, regardless of how many touchpoints the customer engaged with from start to finish. 

Multi-touch attribution models give credit to multiple touchpoints. These can be either time-based, linear, data-driven, or position-based. Though less widely used, multi-touch attribution modeling paints a more accurate picture of where conversions are coming from. There are so many touchpoints on the customer journey that single-touch attribution is akin to throwing darts at a wall. 

Setting Up Attribution Modeling

Setting up and tracking attribution models is as easy as taking advantage of analytics software like Google Analytics. You can look at things like how people are reaching your site, which combinations are effective at driving conversions and traffic, and how many touches each channel is getting. Cumulatively, these data give insight into which touchpoints are assisting conversions. 

an infographic showing different trends for digital marketingOf course, part of attribution modeling can also be simply asking your customers, “where did you hear about us?” Collecting that data can help glean insight into where to allocate your resources and how to plan out your content. 

The only remaining problem is figuring out which attribution model to use. Again, multi-touch is typically more effective and accurate, though there are myriad options to choose from. The best bet is to lay out your inventory and needs and choose a plan that aligns with your long-term goals. 

If you know which parts of your marketing strategy are effective at helping you achieve your goals, you can better tweak your strategy. Setting up and tracking attribution models is a no-brainer for any business looking to grow, improve, and provide a better overall customer experience!

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