4 steps to completely owning your marketing attribution

May 21, 2018 Elliott Moore

In the past, most businesses used a last-click attribution model to measure their campaigns. Last-click attribution gives credit only to the last marketing channel a visitor touches before converting. For example, let’s imagine that someone Googles a question. From the search, they click on a blog post, then download an eBook, and finally purchase a product or service. In a last-click attribution model, the eBook would get all the credit.

Luckily, businesses are moving away from this model because last-click attribution doesn’t tell the full story about a customer’s relationship with their advertising. They are learning to take into account the influence of third-party referral sources, retargeting partners, and other marketing efforts on customers’ actions. 

Attribution allows you to assign credit to the different marketing touchpoints that influence your customers to complete a conversion action. Once you know how you’re influencing your customers, you can create more impactful ads and better manage your marketing budget. Whether you are already using attribution or are just getting started, the following steps will help you measure your campaigns more effectively:

1. Determine the attribution model that works best for your business

There are many ways to assess attribution. Before choosing the model that works best for you, it’s important to consider your marketing goals and competitive environment. Here’s a look at some of the most common attribution models:

First-click attribution: First-click attribution gives all credit to the first marketing channel a user encounters on the path to conversion—such as a search engine like Google.

Last-click attribution: Last-click attribution gives all credit to the last marketing channel the user touches before converting.

Linear attribution: Linear attribution distributes credit equally to each marketing touchpoint the user encounters.

Position-based attribution: Position-based attribution gives 40% of the credit to the first touchpoint, 40% to the last, and 20% to the remaining touchpoints.

Algorithmic attribution: Algorithmic attribution uses data and statistical modeling to assign credit to effective touchpoints.

2. Use analytics to enhance your attribution

The best way to improve the effectiveness of your marketing attribution is to pair it with data-backed analytics. Data helps you strengthen your campaigns by showing you the performance metrics of the ads that convince your users to convert. Using both data and analytics enables you to manage how your user comes into contact with your brand—ensuring you reach customers in the right place and at the right time.

This Think with Google piece goes into more detail on how to use attribution and analytics to better understand your customers’ experience across all engagement points.

3. Find your baseline

Many brands are already using analytics to assess their marketing efforts and find out which ones are actually working. If you are not using attribution, or if you are looking to improve on your current method, ask yourself the following questions to find your baseline before proceeding:

Am I taking into account all of my marketing touchpoints, or just the first or last one?

Will attribution help my marketing department spend their dollars on the campaigns that drive results most effectively?

Does my team have the expertise needed to use the attribution model that best suits our business, or should we consider looking into a third-party vendor?

Am I duplicating my efforts by getting attribution insights from multiple different solutions?

4. Rely on cookies to feed your attribution efforts

When someone visits your website, a tracking cookie—or pixel—is placed on their browser. This allows you to track where that user goes online once they leave your site, including social media and mobile, and helps you serve ads as the user moves through the consideration cycle. Once a customer converts, you can use your cookie data to see the path they took to go from visitor to buyer.

Next steps

If you’d like to see where more than 900 other brands and agencies stand on attribution, be sure to check out our State of Marketing Attribution report. The strategies and findings of the marketers we surveyed can inspire you and help your business to succeed with attribution.

About the Author

Elliott Moore

Elliott Moore // North America Marketing Manager // AdRoll

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