Attribution is the process of assigning credit for a conversion or goal to specific touchpoints in the customer journey. It answers the question of what marketing activities are most responsible for driving results.
What is attribution in marketing and analytics?
Attribution is one of the most important concepts in marketing and analytics. It is the process of determining which actions lead to a desired outcome, such as a sale or sign-up. The goal of marketing attribution is to credit all the marketing touchpoints that play a role in driving a conversion. This can be difficult to determine, especially when there are multiple channels involved in a digital campaign.
There are many factors to consider when looking at attribution data, such as traffic, conversion rate, and revenue. This information can be used to optimize marketing decisions, for example, allocating more budget for better-performing campaigns.
Why is attribution important?
Attribution is crucial to successful marketing campaigns because it allows marketers to understand what is driving conversion and what isn’t. By knowing what touchpoints are most responsible for conversion results, teams can allocate their resources more effectively and focus on the practices that drive the most ROI.
This is easier said than done. Attribution models and analytics systems must assemble and disseminate consumer data from across channels to guarantee that each interaction is correctly valued. For effective attribution, marketing teams employ proven attribution models in an advanced analytics platform.
What is an attribution model and what are the different types?
An attribution model is a set of rules that dictate how credit for conversion is assigned. There are a variety of different models available, but the best attribution models share these common traits:
- Full data: good attribution models require access to all necessary data to make accurate calculations.
- Actionable insights: effective attribution models provide clear and actionable insights to improve marketing strategies.
- Customizable: the best attribution models can be tailored to the specific needs of a business.
First touch attribution
This model assigns credit to the first touchpoint a user interacts with. For example, if a user clicks on an ad, views several pages on your website, and then converts later on, the conversion is attributed to the ad.
First touch is often used for awareness campaigns where the goal is to get users to a site for the first time.
Last touch attribution
Last touch assigns credit to the last touchpoint a user interacts with. For example, if a user clicks on an ad, views several pages on your website, and then converts later on, the conversion is attributed to the last page they viewed before converting.
This model is appropriate for tracking campaigns where the goal is to get users to convert and it is used for both brand awareness and direct response campaigns.
Last post touched attribution
This attribution model is a variation of last touch. Last post touched credits specifically the last post (a content page as opposed to a landing page, product page, etc.) before conversion.
This multi-touch attribution model assigns credit to all touchpoints equally. For example, if a user clicks on an ad and then converts later, the conversion is attributed equally to the ad and each page they viewed before converting.
Linear attribution is best for campaigns where the goal is to increase brand awareness.
Choosing the right attribution model is key to overall success. Ideally, select a model that aligns with your sales cycle and campaign goals, using a data-driven approach to attribute credit and optimize performance.
There are other considerations to keep in mind when measuring attribution:
- Attribution is relative. What matters is not necessarily how much credit a particular channel or piece of content gets, but how it compares to other channels or pieces of content.
- Attribution is always changing. As new data becomes available, your understanding of what drove a particular conversion will likely change.
- Attribution is never perfect. There will always be uncertainty when attributing conversions to specific channels and content. However, that doesn’t mean attribution isn’t worth doing.
Traffic, conversion rate, and revenue are all key metrics worth tracking to provide visibility into the sales funnel and determine how to improve the content and touchpoints along the customer journey.
When considering direct traffic, it’s important to look not just at the number of pageviews but also at time spent engaged on each page and the number of returning visitors. This will give you a better idea of how engaged users are with your content and if they’re quickly bouncing from one page to the next.
Conversion is another key metric, telling you how many people are taking the desired action on your site, everything from signing up for a newsletter to making a purchase.
By understanding which pieces of content are driving the most traffic and conversion, you can make decisions that impact your bottom line.
Attribution in Parse.ly
Ready to get started leveraging attribution data? Start by investing in a premier content analytics tool. Our attribution analytics software is flexible and customizable, so you can attribute success to channels, content, and campaigns that matter most to your business. With our attribution reports, you can see which content efforts drive the most valuable traffic to your site.