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What is Attribution in Digital Marketing?

November 4, 2020 DJ Team

what is attribution in digital marketing

Digital marketing is a strategy where many roads all lead customers to the same destination. Whether it’s social media, email, or paid search ads, the goal of getting new business is the same. How can marketing teams understand whether social media, email, search engine optimization, or a combination of all these are driving customer conversions? The answer is through digital marketing attribution. This is the analytical science of determining which digital marketing strategies are most effective for your company.

A Simple Explanation of Marketing Attribution

Digital marketing attribution lets you assign the credit for a customer’s buying decision to the correct sources. Maybe you’re spending lots of money on Facebook Ads or pay-per-click search marketing, but does that spending translate to a high number of customer conversions? The only way to know for sure is through detailed marketing attribution analytics. These insights, in turn, let you spend the marketing budget more efficiently and make the most of the unique customers who are finding you through each channel.

How to Measure Marketing Attribution

Analytics platforms like those available through Google Analytics or Wordpress can provide some marketing attribution insights. Some of the basic attribution models include:

o   First Interaction: The first ad or content a customer interacts with gets 100% of the credit.

o   Last Interaction: The last ad or content a customer interacts with gets 100% of the credit.

o   Last Non-Direct Click: The last content the customer interacted with that isn’t on your website gets 100% of the credit.

What probably stands out to you about these models is that they aren’t really representative of the customer journey. If one piece of content or one ad was all that customers needed to be convinced, digital marketing would be a lot simpler.

But depending on the price of your product or service and the industry you’re focused in, converting a customer may require anywhere from 5 to 20 individual marketing impressions, both online and offline. Because digital content marketing has gotten so much more sophisticated, the multi-touch attribution model started to gain popularity.

What is Multi Touch Attribution?

Multi-touch attribution is a form of cross-channel marketing analytics that helps represent the different pieces of content that inspire customers to buy from your brand. Some of these models include:

o   Linear: Each piece of content the customer has ever interacted with is given an equal portion of the credit.

o   Time-Decay: Content the customer interacted with more recently gets more of the credit, but all content still gets some credit.

o   U-Shaped Model: The first piece of content and the lead conversion content are each given 40% of credit, with the remaining 20% divided between every other touchpoint the customer has ever encountered.

o   W-Shaped Model: The first piece of content, lead creation content, and lead conversion content each receive 30% of the credit, with the remaining 10% divided between every other touchpoint the customer has ever encountered.

Each of these approaches to multi-touch attribution represents the ways digital marketing strategies can become more complex. No two strategies are alike, and therefore each strategy may benefit from a different approach to multi-touch attribution. The complexity of your marketing funnel is just one element to consider as you plan how to build a multi touch attribution model.

For instance, there may not be a clear difference in your marketing between lead creation content and lead conversion content. Perhaps this is because you don’t use email marketing, or you have a highly-engaged sales team that converts leads. Therefore, a W-shaped model wouldn’t reveal as much useful information for you as another attribution model. Just because analytics are more complicated, doesn’t mean they are more useful.

Go Beyond an Attribution Model to Identify Actionable Steps

What is an attribution tool? Ultimately, it’s a way to learn more about what parts of your marketing are working and not working, so you can invest in the good stuff and improve the weaker elements. We created the DemandJump platform to take the guesswork out of marketing analytics and translate data into simple actionable insights.

Our Marketing Attribution feature helps users identify where customers are coming from, how they behave once they find your content, and what materials keep them coming back. The platform also ties in data from your different social, paid advertising, email, and web channels to compare ad performance in real-time.

We’re proud to help marketers better understand digital attribution in practical terms, and use those insights to benefit their business every day. We invite you to sign up for a free trial of DemandJump and see the difference for yourself.


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