What is Digital Marketing Attribution And Why Is It Important?

More often than not, there are multiple touchpoints between a brand and a consumer before a conversion, so how can companies zero in on the point that sealed the deal?

The consumer journey isn’t linear. Customers can take many different routes that lead them to the same buying destination. This ecosystem of channels in the sales funnel make it easier for brands to push the right message to the right user when they are most receptive. However, it also makes it more complicated in terms of identifying which marketing tools have been pulling most of the weight in generating the most ROI. 

Enter digital marketing attribution. Analytics are used to understand how each channel contributes to the overall sales effort with the overarching objective of helping marketers more successfully allocate their budget. So, how could this benefit your brand? 

Let’s dive in.

Benefits of Digital Marketing Attribution 

Multi-channel marketing strategies are the most effective for attracting potential customers. Combining the various strengths of each method, such as social media ads, PPC, and email campaigns (to name a few), can better help you get your products and services seen by a wider audience and entice them over to your website. 

However, not every method will be as effective as the next, and scattering your cyber presence between the various digital marketing baskets muddies the water somewhat in terms of understanding which one is bringing in the leads. When you’re spending more than you’d like on advertising, it’s good to know which avenues are worth it and which should be ditched. 

Beyond the potential for increasing ROI by investing more in the messages that are hitting home, understanding what your target audience responds to has positive implications for strengthening brand-consumer relationships. More customized campaigns that strike the right chords with the right people cultivate a stronger reputation for your brand, deepen trust, and as a result can lead to conversions that add to your bottom line. 

How Digital Marketing Attribution is Measured

As we’ve touched on, the increasingly complex nature of the consumer journey makes it more challenging to deconstruct that journey. Yet this is a vital aspect of marketing that will help you keep ahead of the competition. When looking at the methods that brought customers in, you’ll be wondering how far back into their journey you should look and which interactions should be factored in or out. 

Basic analytics from your website, GMB, etc., including traffic stats, click-through rates, and email open rates, can be helpful, but these only give half the picture. These people are engaged with your brand, but that doesn’t necessarily equal a conversion. 

In seeking to truly understand the success of marketing campaigns – both individually and in relation to one another – marketing attribution reports are the best solution. These give precise, in-depth insights into your marketing performance across an allocated time frame against what is referred to as an attribution model. These attach weight to different consumer-brand interactions helping you to identify the key players. 

Approaching this challenge of deep-diving into the consumer experience in a methodical and systematic way enables you to get a reasonably clear picture of what’s happening. However, the picture shifts somewhat depending on which attribution models you use to do this, as they each place value on these methods a little differently. 

Digital Marketing Attribution Models

There are various types of attribution models that the pros use depending on various factors, such as the size and type of the business in question. Generally speaking, though, they can be divided into two distinct categories:

Single-Touch Attribution  

More simplistic, not to mention cheaper, single-touch attribution models (as the name suggests) focus exclusively on one key point of the consumer’s journey. These can be further broken down into: 

First-Touch Attribution -This allots 100% of the credit to your business’s first interaction with the customer. For instance, if they first found you via Facebook ads, that is the method deemed most successful regardless of what came next. 

Last-Touch Attribution – Conversely, this method looks at the last click that led your customer to purchase. So, even if they discovered your brand by PPC, if they also took note of your website and visited your site directly later that day, the PPC ad is disregarded. 

You can likely already see the issue with these models. In most cases, they fail to give the whole story by disregarding the role of nurture campaigns, which may mislead you into investing less in these. Yet, they could still be valuable for companies with short sales funnels or those keen on widening the top end. They could also be used to determine the success of specific campaigns such as banner ads or to see how branding awareness strategies are shaping up. 

Multi-Touch Attribution 

Multi-touch attribution, on the other hand, considers all the touchpoints that each play a part in driving a conversion. These types of models tend to be more accurate than single-touch ones in most cases. 

Variations of these are a little more numerous, but some of the most popular include: 

Even-Weight Attribution – a type of linear model that distributes credit evenly between each click point.

Time-Decay Attribution – places a higher value on the methods that sit closer to the point of purchase than those at the start of the journey. 

Position-Based Attribution – also known as the u-shape model. Here the focus is given to the first and last touchpoints, with minimal credit being assigned to those that sit in the middle. 

Machine-Learning Attribution – which uses historical data to create specific rules of credit attribution based on the past performance of each method in question. 

Choosing The Best Model for You 

There’s no exact science to picking the perfect marketing attribution technique. Each comes with pros and cons that make it better suited to one type of business over another. Single-touch models are the easiest to understand and implement, but multi-touch ones do a better job of breaking down longer buying cycles. 

Within multi-touch attribution: 

  • even-weight models reduce the nuance of the impact of each touchpoint but are far easier to understand overall.
  • time-decay models provide good insights into relationship-building methods but minimize the effect of top-of-the-funnel marketing techniques.
  • position-based models are more robust. However, focusing on first and last clicks doesn’t always give credit where credit is due,
  • Machine-learning models might well be the most accurate, but they require reams of past information as well as access to tools for analyzing performance patterns. 

Often, it takes combining various attribution methods to gain deeper insight into a campaign’s overall success. You can focus on specific aspects of the buyer’s journey and overlap the data by creating your own custom models with their own weighting methods based on your brand’s expertise plus detailed knowledge and experience of your company. These have the advantage of being more successful in pinpointing areas of strength and weakness in a multi-channel marketing strategy. 

If you’re looking to strengthen your understanding about how well your current marketing methods are (or aren’t) working for your brand, Firon Marketing can help. 

Get in touch today to schedule a consultation to discuss your company’s specific marketing needs.