Marketing Attribution: A Simple Guide For Marketers

By Miriam Kung | 3 Sep 2019
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If you're a marketer looking for a quick primer on Marketing Attribution - we're breaking down what marketing attribution is in the simplest terms and including a few cheat sheets that piece everything together for easy reference.

The path to getting customers these days continues to be more complex, with an average of 6 to 8 touches across multiple channels and devices before a conversion. So it's become even more important to get a clear view of which channels contribute to your customer conversion funnel, using marketing attribution tools 🎉.

For a more comprehensive Marketing Attribution guide, visit our article on how to Measure Customer Journeys with Marketing Attribution.

Let's get to it!

What Is Marketing Attribution?

Marketing attribution is the method for letting you identify and assign credit to each marketing touchpoint that leads to a conversion.

Defining a few key attribution terms:

  • 💳 Credit: The value assigned to each visitor's touchpoint in their path to conversion, which varies by marketing attribution models. For example, in a linear attribution model, credit gets assigned evenly - so if there were 2 touchpoints, each one would get 50% of the credit.
  • 👆 Touchpoint: A touchpoint (sometimes called an event) is any interaction a prospect has on their path to becoming a customer. For example, clicking on a Facebook Ad.
  • 💰 Conversion: A conversion is any action taken by a visitor that's important to you. It's typically used to measure a visitor who becomes a customer, such as a purchase.

Benefits of Marketing Attribution

Marketing attribution has many benefits, the highlight being that it aggregates all your multi-channel marketing data so you can get a complete picture of which efforts work best.

The top 5 benefits include:

  • 🚀 Uncover your top channels by automatically tracking your ROI across any channel.
  • 👯‍♀️ Understand customer journeys by seeing all the touchpoints that lead to a conversion.
  • 📊 Use multi-touch attribution to measure every touchpoint, and see where each of your marketing channels fit into your customer journeys.
  • ⚙️ Unify marketing data across all your acquisition campaigns and tools.
  • 💰 Take out any guesswork in budget allocation, by investing in channels that convert.

Examples of Marketing Attribution Models

Let's look at the 5 most common marketing attribution models below.

The first two are single touch attribution models, which assign credit for a conversion to only one touchpoint. The last 3 are multi-touch attribution models, which assign credit to all your touchpoints and let you better track your entire customer journey.

1️⃣ Single touch attribution models

  • First touch: First touch attribution assigns all the credit for a conversion to the first touchpoint a visitor interacted with. It's a good way to see how people first discover you.
  • Last touch: Last touch attribution gives all the credit for a conversion to the last touchpoint. This is the standard model used in ads platforms like Facebook & Google.

🔢 Multi-touch attribution models

  • Linear: Linear attribution is the simplest multi-touch model, which assigns credit evenly for each touchpoint a visitor interacted with before converting.
  • Time Decay: Time Decay attribution assigns more credit to touchpoints that happen right before a conversion. For example, it can be used if you have a long sales cycle that requires more hand-holding and resources to nurture a lead into a customer, as it assumes the first few touchpoints have less weight than the last few touchpoints.
  • U-shaped (Position-based): U-shaped attribution gives 40% of the credit to both the first and last touchpoints, and divides the remaining 20% credit evenly to the touchpoints in between. It assumes how people find out about you and what leads them to convert are the most important parts.

Note: If you have a complex customer journey and long sales cycle, it may be worth investing in a Custom attribution model to customize how you track and assign credit to various marketing touchpoints.

Marketing Attribution Tools That Improve Your Marketing

Smart Attribution is the first Customer Attribution solution that automatically unifies all your marketing data to clearly show your customer paths and what's working from the get-go 🔥.

3 reasons why people use Smart Attribution instead of tools like Google Analytics:

  • Measure holy grail KPIs: Reveal Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC), revenue, ROAS, LTV, and ROI across any channel.
  • Discover customer journeys: Track user-level paths to see each touchpoint that led to a conversion, on top of aggregated customer journeys (coming soon: the best conversion paths and more).
  • Integrate all your tools: Pull the plug on using painful and manual spreadsheets. Instead, easily plug in your customer data (Segment), ads platforms, CRM tools, and more in one click.

Watch how to easily setup Smart Attribution in only a few minutes:

Steps for getting setup:

  • 💻 PixelMe conversion tracking script: Install this across your webpages, to track your traffic and key conversion events across your website.
  • 🔗 UTM tags: Add UTM tags to all your links, so we can accurately attribute your conversions. Plus, easily segment your data by UTM tags in your dashboard.
  • 🛠 Integrations: Unify data from your customer events (Segment & Google Tag Manager), ads (Facebook & Google), E-commerce platforms (Shopify), CRMs (coming soon), and more.

Wrapping Up

To bring everything together, here is a recap of the benefits of Marketing Attribution:

And here's a visual infographic of the Top 5 Marketing Attribution Models:

Want to try out the first Customer Attribution solution? Sign up for a free PixelMe trial 🎉. Or message us from the blue chat icon in the bottom-right corner to learn more! 💬

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