For the uninitiated, in marketing, “attribution” refers to the concept of attributing the credit for a customer achieving a particular goal in their journey to the channel(s) or touchpoint(s) which lead to it. Sounds complicated, however in simple terms, attribution is just “recognising what leads people to do what you want”.
But, in this era of multi-channel marketing, it’s important to remember that when a person reaches one of your defined goals – when they convert – more than one channel may have contributed. In order to recognise this, things get a bit more intricate. After all, customer journeys can be complicated! For example; a customer might see a billboard, causing them to search online, leading them to download an app, with which they consume several pieces of content over a period of weeks, before eventually making a purchase. Which of these touch-points should get the credit for this purchase? If the credit should be shared, should it be shared evenly, or is it possible to say that one touchpoint contributed more than another?
Perhaps even more importantly – what about the people who didn’t make a purchase?
Attribution Modelling and the Last Click
Ostensibly, attribution models can help marketers gain greater insight. The term “attribution model” refers to a set of rules by which you attribute credit for a conversion across any touch points that were involved in a customer’s journey. From Linear models, which award credit evenly across each touchpoint, to Time Decay models, which favour more recent interactions, attribution models can be relatively straightforward, or very complicated.
Unfortunately, in their search for quick wins, marketers have often been guilty of wilful blindness. Commonly used models, such as Last Click, which awards 100% of the credit to the last interaction are a profound oversimplification. Additionally, attribution models are binary – they don’t speak to the quality of customers’ experiences – just whether they had them.
Developing Content for Customer Journeys
Modern marketers know that they need to provide high-quality omni-channel experiences. They’re also aware that they have finite budgets and resources. To reconcile these two facts, it’s necessary to step away from attribution data for a minute, and focus on content.
Happily, from tutorials to articles, videos, blogs, even full-blown magazines, marketers are creating more than they ever have before. The challenge then, is deploying it to customers, and delivering high-quality experiences across platforms.
After all, if iOS or Android users are struggling to interact with your content, they’ll go looking for your competitors. If that happens, an attribution model isn’t going to help!
Customers expect brands to engage with them on whatever device they decide to use. To achieve this, marketers need to implement automated content repurposing and deployment technology, enabling a “native everywhere” model.
Committing budget to solving these challenges can have a significant impact on customer journeys. From top-of-funnel to existing customers, if marketers can ensure that no customer has a bad experience, they can dramatically improve engagement throughout the lifecycle.
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Common Attribution Models
- Last Click (Last Interaction) – the last touchpoint before the goal was achieved is given 100% of the credit
- Last Paid Click (Last Adwords Click on Google Analytics)- only useful with paid-for campaigns (or in GAs case, AdWords campaigns), attributing all credit for achieving a goal to the last click on a paid campaign.
- Last Non-Direct Click – direct traffic (where the visitor types the URL of your website and is not driven by any particular marketing activity) is ignored and all the credit is awarded to the last channel that the customer arrived from indirectly (a display ad for example).
- First Click- first click or first interaction awards all the credit for achieving a goal to the first touchpoint; the interaction which “woke a consumer up” to your brand or product(s).
- Linear – attempt to recognise all contributors to a goal event. Each channel that caused a customer to interact with your site/app is given equal credit for the eventual conversion, with no weighting given to the first, last or any contributor in between.
- Time Decay – credit is awarded to all contributors based on their proximity to the final conversion. Thus, if there was an interaction immediately preceding a conversion, it would garner significantly more credit than an earlier interaction (perhaps the first) a week previously.
- Position Based- attribution of 40% of the credit for a conversion to the first interaction and 40% to the last. The rest is awarded evenly to any interactions in between.