Attribution for marketers is a topic that is becoming ever more important. With the need for better ROMI and to spend marketing money in the ‘right place’, attributing marketing success is key. There is a lack of understanding about how to attribute amongst marketers, however. This post will help you find a way to optimise spend through analytics and insight.
What is attribution?
Attribution is giving merit to each interaction that drives a desired action. A visit, a goal page view, a telephone call, a conversion etc are all given the credit they deserve in achieving the overall user goal (i.e. enquire and buy something).
A lot of marketers are fans of last click attribution. When the conversion (or sale) occurs, they give credit to that last action that made the conversion happen.
What about first click?
That said, while the last click is something that occurs immediately prior to the sale, it could still be followed up by another action such as a phone call (and how are you tracking those?). Also, shouldn’t the first action taken by your prospects count for something? First click attribution puts weight on the action that initially draws in your prospect and gets them to interact with you the first time. This is seen by some marketers as the equivalent of 1st gear in a car – the speed is lower but the ‘pull’ is more powerful to get the sales process moving.
If a lot of your conversions or sales come from keywords you’re actively using and growing via your PPC adverts, then a first click attribution analytics model lets you learn more about keywords you’ll want to buy more of.
There still seems to be a widespread reliance on first or last click attribution. It can be easier just dealing with a single touchpoint, but in designating 100% of the conversion credit to a single action, marketers devalue their investments in other marketing channels.
Moving to a multi-click or ‘full-funnel’ attribution model helps to smooth out any extremism in your marketing investment decisions and stops you spending reactively on last click actions that may occur before your prospect is ready or are not relevant to you.
Why multi-click / full-funnel?
As previously mentioned there will always be actions that occur offline, interactions that now you don’t measure or take account of.
Think about a typical customer journey:
They search for your product, have a look round your website. Perhaps they download something while there or sign up to your emails. A while later they react to one of your emails and request more information. As a result, they stop by your exhibition stand and have a conversation, which leads to a follow-up phone call and a sale.
In first click, you’ll only see SEO as important. In last click, only the final phone call. In an online only attribution model, you will have missed the expo and the phone calls. This is where analytics and attribution tracking become invaluable.
Analytics and attribution tracking
By tracking what your prospects do to arrive on your website, using a tool such as Mediahawk, you can give credit (and future investment consideration) to valuable PPC keywords – and stop investing in ones with a poor return. You know, the vanity or brand keywords most marketers have in their portfolio.
Then track them all the way through every single other interaction. If they come back to your website, it’s captured. That exhibition stand visit that’s put into your CRM becomes part of the mix. And when they call you to buy after all this activity, you’ll know who they are and what they’ve done to get this far with you.
A unique ID per prospect / visitor to your website allows you to knit together all the activity undertaken, across all the channels, including that important phone call that closed the deal (there’s always “one more activity” after the last-click that might normally take the credit!)
Imagine all that rich information in your CRM. Sales people can confidently talk to a prospect while seeing their historical actions, attributed 100% correctly, 100% of the time. Marketers could make their lead-to-close window shrink and turn the sales cycle faster.
How to make the most of full-funnel attribution
After implementing tracking and attribution analytics, you’ll need to use reporting to see what is driving your sales. If you use the phone as any part of your marketing mix you’ll currently have a blind spot that will be revealed and over time, you’ll get the information you need.
You’ll learn what keywords make your phone ring and sales happen – and what keywords don’t. You’ll be able to make more intelligent spending decisions, either taking investment back to the bottom line, or investing it only in keywords or other activities that make a difference.
Even a simple approach such as reviewing phone calls that led to a quick, or brilliantly executed sale, then rating them for use in sharing best practice in your organisation can make a fast difference to your results.
What to do next
- Understand how you attribute against your funnel today
- Think about what other actions you don’t capture (such as phone calls)
- Make a plan to move to full-funnel attribution