How to nail marketing attribution

How to nail marketing attribution

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When you market your website or brand, there are many effective channels you can use to reach customers. Most buyers take a lengthy journey before purchasing a product of any kind. While the journey may begin by viewing a TV ad, it may also involve visiting the company's website, clicking a retargeting ad, reading a blog post, or entering the company's Facebook page. Buyer journeys are rarely ever linear and are usually spread out across numerous touch points before a purchase is even made. 

Even though being able to market across numerous touch points is great for boosting customer engagement, there are also several hurdles and challenges that you will be tasked with navigating in this situation. If you effectively use marketing materials across many different channels, it's possible that your efforts will cause customer conversion rates and sales numbers to increase considerably. However, you or your marketing team must then find out which channels were most effective at pushing people to finally go through with making a purchase. 

If you want your marketing techniques to be as effective as possible, it's essential to fully understand how leads are being generated and how customers are being converted. With this information, you can then predict what will happen when you increase or decrease marketing spend across various channels. Accurate predictions can help you implement a strong marketing strategy that allows you to obtain the results you're looking for. 

Because of the complexity of the journeys that different buyers take, marketers can find it difficult to identify which channels are the most successful. In fact, gaining visibility on this kind of information is practically impossible unless you use marketing attribution. This reporting strategy gives you the opportunity to determine the exact impact that each channel had on helping you reach your marketing goals. To help you navigate this rather complex yet important topic, we have compiled a guide for you that will dive into marketing attribution and provide you with everything you need to know. Be it explanations, definitions, or useful tips, tricks and strategies that will help you get your marketing attribution efforts on point - we got you covered.

What Is Marketing Attribution?

Marketing attribution is a technique that involves measuring the overall effectiveness of each interaction that a potential customer has with a brand. Regardless of the types of marketing that you utilize in your marketing campaign, the main goal of any marketing is to eventually convert people who are interested in the brand into paying customers.

Because of the immense competition that most businesses must contend with on today's market, getting a prospect to convert into a customer usually involves a combination of different marketing channels, which can include everything from email campaigns and paid ads to social media marketing and content creation. The right strategy will allow you to keep prospects engaged throughout the entire buyer journey, which should eventually result in a sale. 

Once you've deployed your marketing materials across various channels, it's highly recommended that you return to your marketing to analyze what worked well, what needs improvement, and what is enhancing customer acquisition. The answers to these questions should tell you all you need to know about what marketing channels to focus on for future campaigns, which will allow you to save both time and money. 

Over the past decade, attribution has become increasingly challenging because of the introduction of more fluid interaction along the buyer's journey. Today, customers usually don't purchase a product after just a single interaction with a brand. Marketing expert Dr. Jeffrey Lant calls this the ‘rule of seven’, meaning that on average a person needs to interact with your brand at least 7 times within an 18-month period before making a purchase. Because of the importance of identifying the impact of each marketing touch point you use, you should consider using marketing attribution models to further analyze the touch points or channels that have helped you increase conversion rates.

Types of Marketing Attribution Models

There are many attribution models at your disposal that can help you gather the data you need to identify the channels that are helping you reach your marketing goals. Keep in mind that each marketing attribution is different and will provide you with slightly different results. 

There isn't one single model that's proven to be the best and most effective model for marketers to use. There are several factors that can help you determine which of these models is right for you, the primary of which include buying cycles as well as your business goals. 

When you start using marketing attribution models, you'll find that you don't need to stick with a single model. Compare each model's performance to better understand how important it is to provide customers with many touch points along their journey. Four of the primary attribution models at your disposal include:

  • First interaction attribution
  • Last interaction attribution
  • Linear attribution
  • Last non-direct click

First Interaction Attribution

This attribution model places 100% of the credit on a conversion with the first interaction that the customer has with the brand. Let's say that a customer first views an ad of yours on Facebook. This ad would be given 100% of the credit in the event that a sale occurs. Even if the sale didn't take place for an entire week after the ad was first viewed, this ad would still be given the credit. 

The primary reason to use this attribution model is because of its simplicity. It's easy to determine how successful your marketing campaigns are by identifying which channel has brought about the most conversions. Even though the results of first interaction attribution are useful, ignoring all future interactions may not provide you with a wholly accurate picture of the buyer's journey.

Last Interaction Attribution

Just like the first interaction attribution model, last interaction attribution puts all of the credit on a single interaction, which is the final interaction that takes place before a sale occurs. Let's say that a prospect first interacted with your brand by clicking on an ad. If the customer visits your website and reads a blog post a week later, the blog post would be considered the last interaction if they go on to purchase the product that the blog post was advertising. 

Tools like Google Analytics use the last interaction attribution model because of its purported accuracy. Many marketers and businesses believe that last interaction attribution is the most effective and accurate form of attribution around. Even if several brand interactions occur before a purchase occurs, the final interaction may be the thing that gave the prospect the final push they needed to make a purchase. The downside to this model is that all previous interactions are fully ignored. However, these interactions can be difficult to track in the first place, which is why last interaction attribution is widely used.

Linear Attribution

This model effectively splits credit evenly across all interactions that a prospect has before a sale takes place. If a buyer has five interactions with your brand along their journey, each interaction will be given an equal 20% share of the credit. If you want to obtain a more balanced view of your marketing efforts and their success, linear attribution might be useful to you. However, this model doesn't allow you to determine which channel has produced the best results.

Last Non-direct Click

The final interaction that occurs is considered to be a direct click or interaction. This attribution model takes a look at the final non-direct interaction/click that occurs, which gives you insight into how potential customers learned about your brand in the first place. All direct interactions take place only after a customer has learned of your brand.

How to Use Google Analytics to Run an Attribution Report

If you're currently using Google Analytics to assess the performance of your marketing efforts, you can also use the tool to run attribution reports and models. As mentioned previously, Google Analytics uses the last interaction attribution model by default. It's possible, however, to compare the different attribution models by going to your Google Analytics account. 

Once you've reached your account, locate the "Attribution" tab on the left side of the page. You'll then be given the opportunity to compare results from every attribution model, which allows you to view the value that each channel has had when looking at the different models. When making this comparison, you may find that last interaction attribution measures direct traffic results in 2,300 conversions. In comparison, the first interaction model could show you that only 1,400 direct conversions occurred, which marks a 40% decrease.

How to Bolster Your Marketing Attribution Efforts

There are many strategies and techniques you can use to boost your marketing attribution efforts and properly identify which channels are providing you with the best results.

Invest in the Right Tools

The first thing you should do is to invest some of your budget in the right tools. While there are a myriad of tools available to you and your marketing team, two of the most important types include customer-relationship management and marketing automation platform tools. Customer-relationship management platforms will allow you to record and store ample amounts of activity data pertaining to the many prospects, leads, and customers that you currently have. 

When you pair a CRM platform with a marketing automation platform, you'll be able to accurately record the different marketing touch points that each lead uses and create marketing attribution reports that allow you to clarify what this data means.

Focus on Your Naming Conventions

If you're analyzing your marketing data with a CRM, each touch point should be clearly labeled in the reports that you create. Many businesses and marketing teams make the mistake of using dates and abbreviations to label each touch point. While dates can be useful, make sure that any abbreviations are changed to full words, which will make it easier for you to reference these reports months or even years into the future.

Consider the Journey the Buyer Takes

A prospect will respond differently to marketing materials depending on where he or she is on the buyer's journey. You may find that channels like organic search and paid search are resulting in a notable increase to lead acquisition. On the other hand, it's possible that the same channels aren't increasing customer conversion rates. This scenario should be taken into account when you're looking at different marketing attribution models. How credit is distributed in the model should directly correlate to the value that the conversion has.

Address the Common Marketing Attribution Challenges

While marketing attribution is essential for the success of your current and future marketing campaigns, there are several challenges that should be addressed as soon as possible. While marketing attribution can be used to properly identify the return on your ad spend (ROAS), it doesn't necessarily reflect the real ROI that you're bringing in. Marketing attribution is only able to look at information about touch-point conversions when calculating ROI, which means that any offline efforts won't be taken into account. 

All marketing attribution models also somewhat limit the channels in which revenue generation is measured, which makes it challenging to measure the effectiveness of specific strategies. For instance, your paid search strategy relies on measuring the total marketing efforts against how much customer interest has increased. While it's not necessarily possible to negate these challenges altogether, understanding what these challenges are will allow you to use marketing attribution more effectively. 

Tracking your ROAS is necessary if you want to accurately measure current success and improve your future marketing campaigns. After all, successful marketing should never be based on guesses and intuition, but rather objective data and insights. At Juni, we can provide you with the tools you need to identify your ROAS and understand the results that your marketing spend is paying for. 

Start your journey with Juni today and take your marketing game to the next level.

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How to nail marketing attribution
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