Attribution 7 min read

Marketing Attribution, Simplified – Definition, Types, and the Problems with Current Solutions

By Chloe Henderson 18 September, 2020

Good marketing attribution is essential to measuring campaign success. It’s fundamental to working out which of your marketing touchpoints are leading to customer conversions and driving return-on-investment (ROI).  

And yet, attributing accurately is one of the top challenges faced by marketer’s today.  

So what actually is marketing attribution? And how can you make it work more effectively for your business? We’ve created this handy guide to bring you up to speed with the basics.  

What is Marketing Attribution?

Marketing attribution is the process of determining which marketing touchpoints and activities are contributing to conversions. Conversions can come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on your business objectives, including purchases, newsletter sign-ups, and asset downloads.  

Marketing environments are usually complex and use an ever-increasing mix of channels simultaneously, such as Display AdvertisingPaid SocialOrganic (SEO) and Paid Search (PPC), and above-the-line media such as TV.  

Attribution is about understanding the impact that these channels have on your sales activity, helping you determine how credit is given to these different marketing touchpoints for conversions and calculating the ROI of different, and often complimentary, tactics.  

McKinsey’s study of customer decision journeys, overlaid with Google’s equivalent framework for discussing complex customer journeys in highly mobile online transactions. 

Download our detailed guide to marketing attribution today

Why is Marketing Attribution Important?

Effective marketing attribution lets you: 

  • Link marketing spend directly to growth and revenue 
  • Keep full control over the nature of marketing spend 
  • Show your value to the business and build stakeholder trust 
  • Secure and ring-fence budgets based on sound marketing analysis 
  • Improve your marketing return-on-investment  
  • Reduce reliance on perceived short-term media ‘fixes’  
  • Take control of a more challenging and complex media environment. 

What are the Different Types of Marketing Attribution Models?

There is no definitive, one-size-fits-all attribution model for everyone. Identifying which model is right for you is impacted by a variety of different factors, including the scale and maturity of your marketing activity and how much budget and time you can apply to it.  

Attribution models are broadly split into two types – single-channel attribution and multi-channel attribution.  

Types of Single-Channel Attribution

Single-channel attribution models allocate 100% of the credit for a conversion to a single interaction with the customer, ignoring all other touchpoints in the journey.  

  1. First-touch Attribution: Gives 100% conversion credit to the first touchpoint a customer made with your brand or marketing activity. 
  2. Last-touch Attribution: Gives 100% conversion credit to the last touchpoint a user made with your brand or marketing activity. 

Types of Multi-Channel Attribution 

Multi-channel attribution models take a broader view of attribution and try to place value on the impact of all touchpoints across the customer journey. 

  • Linear Attribution: Gives equal credit to all touchpoints in the customer journey.  
  • U-Shaped Attribution: Takes the view the first and last touchpoints have more influence on conversions than others. 
  • Time Decay Attribution: Is driven by the assumption that touchpoints closer to sale should get more credit. 
  • W-shaped Attribution: First-touch, last-touch, and ‘opportunity creation’ share 30% credit each with 10% shared out between the other touchpoints.  

Discover our proprietary solution to the attribution problem

The problem with current attribution solutions

“Attribution is broken, and it’s screwing up your entire approach to digital marketing”

While attribution modelling has seen significant progress over the years, most marketers understand that current solutions offer only a limited view of the customer journey to a conversion.  

This is primarily because:  

  1. Current solutions are too historical in nature and models such as last-touch provide an oversimplified view of the conversion journey. 
  1. Lookback windows are too short and can only partially attribute what is often a long and complex customer journey.  

Improving attribution is a key goal for many marketers, yet research by QueryClick found that over 90% of those responsible for improving marketing ROI are unable to access more sophisticated attribution models.  

Our Solution

At QueryClick we believe that data is the foundation for your attribution success – therefore it is the backbone of your marketing strategy. It’s highly likely that over 80% of your core analytics data is wrong, and the quality of “data in” to your attribution model has a huge bearing on the quality of your analysis.  

Corvidae is QueryClick’s SaaS marketing attribution platform and the only attribution solution which completely rebuilds your marketing data, reaching beyond Google 360 and Adobe Analytics to give you visit-level attribution. 

Talk to us about Corvidae and book a demo today. 

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