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Attribution Implementation: What to Expect

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As a marketer, you’re probably no stranger to dipping your toes in a variety of tactics — Google display and search ads, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, the list goes on and on. The biggest challenge is knowing which avenue generates the most revenue, and which ones to get rid of. That’s where attribution comes into play. However, when you’re getting started with attribution implementation, many questions will arise.

Let’s go over which analytics attribution model is best for your business, whether your business needs a third party vendor and the questions you should ask to select one. 

The Pitfalls of Attribution

When attribution implementation, there are inevitably a lot of questions that’ll surface. Here are a few common pitfalls that you may encounter: 

Knowing which touchpoints to assign credit to. The biggest challenge that marketers face is accurately assigning credit to touchpoints. After all, you’re manually assigning where to give credit, so results can be flawed due to human error. Pay attention to all avenues of media spend, including brand awareness efforts. Many marketers make the mistake of overlooking brand campaigns because they don’t necessarily drive conversions right off the bat. However, you don’t know where and how your customers ultimately converted unless you look at the customer journey holistically and assign credit correctly. 

Knowing which model works best for your business. A question that many people ask is, “What model works best for my business?” While last click was the way to go in the past, it’s much less effective now that we have hundreds of different marketing channels to consider. 

Ask yourself what the end goal of your marketing campaign is and which attribution model will be the most effective at measuring conversions. Then, do deep-dive research on the different multi-touch attribution models — look for the pros and cons to see which is the best fit for your marketing campaign. Note that while attribution models are designed to help correlate data, there isn’t a one-stop model that’s 100% reliable. The most effective attribution model is the one that provides you with valuable information to increase return on investment (ROI) from your strategy. 

Finding a source of truth amidst all of the data. The third challenge is finding a source of truth when you have so much data across different platforms. If you have a small business, it’s easiest to stick with Google Analytics because it’s free and straightforward to use. However, this is yet another pitfall that people face when getting started with attribution. Google Analytics was built for site analytics, not attribution. It's hard to understand, is built for search (and therefore favors Google), and doesn't provide very tangible insights into how and what to improve. 

Do You Need an Attribution Vendor?

If you’re using one marketing platform as a source of truth, it might not take into account user touchpoints from any other channel. Marketing platforms also read conversions differently from each other and have limited click and view attribution windows. All of this makes it easy to over-report conversions from certain channels, under-report on others, and not understand how to allocate your spend optimally based on how those channels are actually working together. 

This is where the third-party attribution vendor steps in. Marketing attribution software helps you see the full picture, with tools that can provide insight into KPIs such as customer lifetime value (CLV), cost per lead (CPL), lead quality, and ROI. They enable you to accurately see which acquisition sources are driving conversion and provide you with a detailed, holistic picture of the customer journey. Marketing teams can use this information to determine spend across channels for maximum engagement and conversion.

Selecting An Attribution Vendor

When picking out an attribution vendor, ask the following questions

  • How granular can you track touchpoints? 
  • What kind of consumer data do you leverage for your insights?
  • Do your tools take branding into account?
  • Do you provide tools that offer unique key insights that other vendors don’t?
  • What kind of modeling do you use? Rule-based? Data-driven?
  • Are you cross-device or cross-platform aware?

To Recap

Marketers know that it’s crucial to create a cohesive experience for their customers without breaking the bank. The only way to do this is through comprehensive attribution data. When you select the right multi-channel attribution tools and vendor, you can benefit from granular, person-level insights to thoroughly understand campaign effectiveness across a multi-channel marketing mix.

There are many attribution vendors out there — marketers must look at their options carefully and make sure that whatever they choose meets the specific needs of the business and marketing team.

Now that you know what to expect with attribution implementation, read about how brand awareness ties into attribution

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