Why Use Marketing Attribution

Marketing Attribution is similarly an area that most business owners genuinely fail to grasp, either as a concept or its importance. Only half of firms carry out any form of attribution, but for those that do, it can help move marketing activities onto a new level.

Marketing Attribution is the way in which a business assigns the value of a traffic source based on the value of the sales it produces.  So if a visitor searches for “Blue Widgets” on Bing, finds the site and buys, the sale is attributed to Organic sales and all is well with the world…

The majority of sales though, do not happen in an event silo. Audiences are not captured with just one message, picture or advert but the seeds of the sale are planted for harvesting at a later date with the “last click” often going to a channel separate to the initial discovery.

For example, a man considering buying a new widget may…

  • Find a site after clicking on PPC advert.
  • Finds the info he needs, doesn’t buy but becomes a “fan” on Facebook.
  • A month later, he follows a Facebook link on his phone on the way home after receiving a status update that reminded him he still needs to get that widget.
  • Once at home, knowing what he wants after his research on the commute home he Google’s the name of the company, and proceeds to buy the widget.

In this scenario, the browser has used Paid, Social and organic channels to reach a sale. But using the last click model it is only the organic channel that receives any credit. As a business owner, this may fool you into discounting the other channels as ineffective or direct advertising spend in the incorrect manner.

In fact, 70% of the firms using marketing attribution will do so simply to justify their marketing spend decision. More subtly, and just as two thirds of companies do, it can be also used as a method of developing an understanding of the customer journey.

And online is only part of the picture. Whilst only a third of companies use offline touch points in their attribution models. Of those that do, over 50% say the impact has been “major”.

Attribution Costing
One big hurdle to get over is the fact that despite being a fundamental part of the marketing mix, it’s impossible to actually find an attribution model that is 100% correct. The simple fact is that you can’t truly know what touch point it was that tipped the balance towards making a sale. But that said, any model is better than nothing at all.

The biggest reason firms fail to do anything, is that the difficulty to combine all the data-sources into a meaningful output: Even of those that have the data, 38% of firms say they lack the analysts to interpret it correctly.

But if you get the mix right and the resources in place to do it well, you begin to identify the areas which are feeding your customer acquisitions and budgeting decisions can be made with a holistic view of what is and isn’t effective.