Marketing attribution: Five important benefits you shouldn’t ignore

Category: Marketing attribution

Marketing attribution: does it fill you with dread? Or do you consider yourself a marketing attribution master?

However you feel about it, understanding which of your marketing channels are responsible for generating leads and sales can be a huge headache. Customer journeys flit between online and offline channels in the blink of an eye. This makes tracking which of your marketing activities are having the most influence on buying decisions seem an impossible task.

These days, accurately reporting on where leads are really coming from requires deeper insights than ever before. The traditional first touch or last touch marketing attribution models – while easy to implement – just don’t cut it anymore. Why? Because they don’t take into account the fact that multiple marketing channels can work together to generate conversions.

Today, there isn’t one, single source that can truly take all the credit for lead generation.

It really doesn’t make sense to give your pay-per-click (PPC) ad full credit for a sale, when the prospect went on to have five more equally important interactions with your business before they converted, for example.

Let’s talk multi-touch marketing attribution

This is where multi-touch marketing attribution – or multi-source marketing attribution – comes into play. You may already be familiar with multi-touch attribution models and the way they apply weighting or scoring for lead conversion:

  • Linear – each interaction your prospect has with you is given equal credit for the conversion
  • Time decay – this one spreads the credit for the conversion across all interactions but gives more credit to interactions that happened recently
  • U-shape – splits the credit evenly between the first and last interaction, and divides the rest between the remaining interactions
  • W-shape – gives credit to the first and last interactions, but also assigns the same value to the middle of the funnel. The remaining 10% is then credited equally to any other touchpoints in between

If this is all new to you, take a look at our blog post Marketing attribution 101: which model is right for you? It goes into more detail on each model and how to choose the best one for your business.

The trouble with multi-touch attribution is that it is inherently more complicated to set up and manage than single-touch models. Rather than simply assigning all the conversion credit to one interaction – the first or the last – you need to figure out a way to monitor and track every possible touchpoint a prospect could have with your business.

Over a typical customer journey, that could be a PPC ad click, an eBook download, a demo video view. And that’s just the online journey. What about offline? After the demo video view, your prospect may then go on to have three phone conversations with your sales team, before finally signing on the dotted line as a paying customer.

In this made-up scenario, those three phone calls may have been the crucial tipping point that drove the prospect to convert. But if you’re only tracking the online journey, for example, your reporting won’t recognise this.

How to track online and offline conversions with multi-touch attribution

So, what to do? A dedicated multi-touch marketing attribution tool like Mediahawk will help you monitor and report on all your marketing touchpoints – online and offline.

Here are five benefits of taking a multi-touch approach, using marketing attribution software to help gather the insights you need:

  1. You’ll have a complete view of exactly which activities are worth spending money on. Did that PPC ad really influence the buying decision? Now you can know for sure and give it the true value (and future budget allocation!) it deserves.
  2. You’ll maximise your marketing ROI. With optimised campaigns, you’ll be able to reach the right person, at the right time, with the right message and content. In turn, this will lead to improved conversion rates and increased marketing campaign ROI.
  3. You’ll know how to better personalise campaigns. The insights you’ll gather from your marketing attribution software will help you better understand customer preferences. You’ll know more about the messaging that resonates best, the channels they prefer, the times they’re most active and more.
  4. Your insights will help other areas of your business. Multi-touch attribution doesn’t just benefit the marketing department. The insights you gather can help you further develop your product or service in line with customer needs and wants. Where phone calls are part of the customer journey, your insights can also be useful to sales teams, helping to improve call handling, for example.
  5. You’ll develop far better-targeted campaign content. Now you know more about your prospects’ preferences, you’ll also be able to create more engaging content for your campaigns, further improving conversion rates and marketing ROI.

Marketing attribution really is a minefield

And there’s no right or wrong answer in how you manage it. Ultimately, you have to do what’s right for your business.

The key thing to remember is to always consider the customer journey. Are your customers converting purely online, or do they take a mixed online and offline path?

Either way, it’s likely they’ll have multiple interactions with your business along the way. Factor this in to your attribution modelling and make sure you have the right tools in place to maintain complete visibility at every step.

About the author - Natalia Selby

Marketing Executive at Mediahawk, with 20 years experience in analytics and content management.

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