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Marketing Attribution Best Practices: Four Easy Steps

December 8, 2020 DJ Team

marketing attribution best practices

Have you ever tried to watch a 3D movie without the glasses? Not only does it cause a headache, it’s hard to know exactly what is going on. While the accompanying audio and general activity might leave you with a general sense of the plot, without putting on the glasses, you’re going to miss out on a lot of the film.

In much the same way, marketing attribution brings clarity and focus to a marketing strategy. You can certainly do marketing without attribution, but then you really aren’t going to understand what is working for you and what isn’t. Back in the early days of marketing, teams had to ask customers to tell them the story of attribution—did they see a billboard, hear a radio ad, or get a referral from a friend? 

Today, with digital marketing, how to measure marketing attribution has gotten a lot more simple and complex at the same time. With analytics tools marketers can get a clear picture of which ads, content, and content platforms are providing the best results. But before jumping in the deep end, there are some marketing attribution definitions and best practices you should be aware of going into the setup. 

What is Cross Channel Attribution and Why is it Difficult?

Cross-channel attribution is the process of tracking how your customers find your content and ultimately decide to make a purchase from your company. This happens across several media platforms, and even across devices. Was it a paid search ad, a blog article you shared on Facebook, a webinar they attended, or a combination of these marketing pieces that led to the conversion? With cross-channel attribution, the answer becomes more obvious than guesswork. 

However, this type of tracking can also be extremely difficult, especially if you’re trying to set it up internally on your own. But on the flip side, some third-party marketing attribution tools are prone to breaks or security risks. And, some social apps or other channels prioritize security to an extent that you won’t be able to extract customer data. 

However, these challenges don’t mean you shouldn’t try cross-channel attribution. It’s a proven method to reduce unnecessary marketing spend and help teams focus their efforts in a very crowded digital environment. 

Cross Channel Marketing Attribution Best Practices for Setup


Marketing Attribution Best Practice Steps


1. Educate Stakeholders About Attribution Methods 

How do you measure attribution in marketing? Some stakeholders at your company might not even know it’s possible. Before starting to gather data like which ads attract the most clicks or which videos are most convincing, it’s important that everyone understand why this data is being collected. Part of this is also setting expectations for what will come after the marketing attribution data is collected. Will this mean changes to the marketing strategy or budget? Will team members have new or additional duties? Make sure everyone understands what limits there might be on getting access to data and the timeline for understanding the results. Having everyone involved on board with the new lens for marketing will ensure later reports don’t get an unexpected reaction or cause confusion.

2. Decide the Key Performance Indicators for Attribution Tracking

Measuring marketing attribution is great in and of itself, but how will your team specifically define success? Once the glasses are put on, you won’t be able to un-see the data and everything it tells you about your company’s online and social media presence. Are you more concerned with clicks or interactions? Do you want to know more which content catches a user’s attention first, or right before the conversion? The ideal way to make these decisions is not based on personal preference, but by instead working together to determine which marketing performance indicators are most closely tied to business goals.

3. Prepare to Organize and Accept Recurring Marketing Data 

Next, before implementing multi-touch attribution, your team needs a clearly-defined strategy for how often data will be analyzed, and from which channels. Make a list of the sources of data, update frequency, collection methods, responsible parties, and other resources. The same applies to a plan for reviewing and making decisions based on the data you receive back from your attribution analytics. Some multi-touch attribution platforms, like DemandJump, carry out a lot of this work on your behalf in real-time. But even in those cases, the process of defining your high-priority channels and defining what reporting and fine-tuning is to be done with data is extremely valuable.

4. Start Small and Prepare to Scale

Lastly, a great best practice for marketing attribution is to start your cross-channel analytics with a single campaign. This has several benefits. First, it lets your team become familiar with results of marketing attribution and talk about the information. You’ll also be able to test the technology’s performance and correct any issues with your data inputs, the formatting of results, or even the internal processes you’ve defined. Focusing on a single campaign will also give you a small benchmark of how your content performs across social media, email, and web channels. Then, when you do expand analysis to the full scope of your historic marketing data, you can see how the numbers differ and discuss any implications. 

All these best practices are consistent whether you will work with a partner or set up your own internal cross-channel marketing analytics process. 

Measure Marketing Performance and Gain Consumer Insights in One Place

The DemandJump platform was deliberately developed to work around many of the pitfalls that catch other marketing attribution platforms. Our team of in-house developers is constantly working to maintain security and functionality to keep our users and their customers protected against threats. And within the platform, our primary goal is to make the work of analysis easier by also translating findings into clear, actionable steps. Rather than serve a list of numbers and figures, we share channel-specific insights about your best-performing content and how it’s stacking up against competitors. 

We’re honored and proud to help marketers carry out marketing attribution in line with these and other best practices, and take the guesswork out of marketing so you can do your job with confidence. Start your free trial to get the actionable marketing attribution tracking insights that will make a difference for your business.

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