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    Attribution: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Attribution in Digital Marketing

    PPCPPC Basics

    There are many advertising touchpoints, and you can find them in in-boxes, on live TV, or when you browse websites. These touchpoints help customers decide their final destination, the conversion.

    But it’s just as crucial to understand the journey that leads to your destination. Marketers can create marketing attribution models that allow them to analyze and optimize the unique touch points that lead to conversions or sales.

    Understanding the shopping habits of consumers is essential, which is where digital marketing attribution comes in.

    Table of Contents

    What Is Attribution in Digital Marketing?

    Marketing attribution, in digital marketing, is a mathematical problem that assigns recognition to an outcome. B2B marketers will see the outcome of a lead and the action in the marketing channel that resulted in conversion.

    Marketing attribution is a process that analyzes marketing activities to determine the impact they have on achieving a specific end goal. It also helps to optimize the marketing mix and makes better decisions, such as lowering acquisition costs to increase efficiency.

    Attribution Example

    Suppose you want to purchase an espresso coffee machine. You search on Amazon to see which products are available — you have brands such as Sage, De’ Longhi, and Nespresso. You also happen to stumble upon a coffee maker from Swan, an unfamiliar brand.

    The machine is affordable and enjoys positive reviews online. However, you still doubt the product because of its novelty. You have no connection to the brand, and it would be cumbersome to return the coffee maker if it breaks or works poorly. So, you go with the Sage coffee maker and place an order.

    The Marketing Manager at Sage realizes his campaign has resulted in a sale. But should he connect the value of the sale only to his investment in the Amazon Campaign ad? No. You bought Sage coffee maker because you trusted the brand, not because of the advertisement you saw on Amazon.

    Maybe you saw the coffee machine at a retail store or in a magazine, in a TV advertisement, or your colleague’s kitchen. But how you interacted with the brand gave you the confidence that you were purchasing the right product.

    So, the marketing manager’s challenge is determining which other interactions with their brand build confidence. For instance, they’d want to know if the magazine advertising influenced you to make the decision and what difference it’d make to the overall sales if they remove magazine advertising altogether.

    This process is a matter of incrementality. Attribution is among the significant challenges most marketing professionals face since there are numerous communication channels to choose from, so many ways to incorporate these channels, various creative tactics to execute, and all these in a constantly changing environment.

    Attribution is among the significant challenges most marketing professionals face since there are numerous communication channels to choose from, so many ways to incorporate these channels, various creative tactics to execute, and all these in a constantly changing environment.

    Marketing Attribution Models and Software

    Marketing attribution models are a great way to accurately predict how customers will interact with your marketing efforts before they convert. These frameworks allow you to weigh the impact of each marketing channel and its conversion rate. 

    They’re also crucial in measuring campaign performance. You should be familiar with specific marketing attribution models if you are a budding marketer. These models include:

    • The First Click Attribution Model

    This model refers to cases where all credit is obtained through the first channel customer engages.

    • Last Click Attribution Model

    All credits go to the channel that the customer used before conversion.

    • Linear Attribution Model

    This type is when credit is given to customers at each step of their journey from point A to point B.

    • The Position-Based Attribution Model

    Also known as the U-shaped Model, this one is a multi-touch option. It prioritizes the first anonymous touchpoint, which initiates the guest to your website and results in conversion.

    • Last Non-Direct Attribution Model

    Direct traffic is not taken into consideration in this instance. Instead, credit goes to any channel the potential customer used before buying.

    • A Time-Decay Attribution Model

    This model is when credit gets split among all marketing touchpoints. The percentage of credit given to the last touchpoint is more significant than others.

    How To Use Marketing Attribution Models Like a Pro

    1. Research your target market and product industry
    2. Make sure the attribution models you choose can answer questions about how your marketing efforts can help get more clients, the best campaigns to pursue, and where to invest your marketing budget
    3. Test your marketing attribution models frequently because objectives and advertising keeps evolving
    4. Get yourself a marketing attribution software to monitor your customer’s journey and checkpoints

    Top Software for Marketing Attribution

    Many tools are available to help you leverage marketing attribution and its models. When choosing a tool, look at features, affordability, and native integration. Software that tracks customer journeys can provide insights. Here are some software types worth your consideration.

    • Connecting Marketing Channels

    Many tools provide a real-time platform for conversion data that connects your sales and marketing channels. These tools can utilize data signals from marketing funnels and send them back to Google Ads API. You can track conversions and reduce the cost per action (CPA) while increasing return on advertising spending (ROAS).

    • Google Analytics Annotations

    Although annotations won’t provide statistical value for marketing assessments, they’ll help determine the potential effects of your actions. You can use annotations to analyze traffic spikes and valleys and connect events and activities to help you understand why customers may behave differently.

    Google Analytics is, without a doubt, the most popular marketing platform. It automatically allows you to add ads, campaign annotations, google updates, and holidays. This feature will enable you to see the peak and bottom.

    • Customer Journey

    Use a growth platform that tracks the customer journey. It’d be best if you also credited the marketing channels influencing conversion. The platform should provide insight into how each campaign is performing across channels.

    Conclusion: What Can You Learn From Attribution Reports?

    Attribution in digital marketing starts by understanding the points of contact with customers and placing them in a specific sequence. The company can use one or more of these attribution models, depending on which marketing channels it operates and what purpose the analysis serves. Both single-source and multi-source models give quick insights into each channel’s credits. The algorithmic model, however, will provide more accurate information.

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