Introduction to Marketing Attribution

No doubt, quite a lot of things have changed in the marketing industry as there is almost nothing that looks the same as it did in times past. Based on new and emerging channels that determine how marketers secure leads, the digital age has helped to pave way for much more intricacies that go beyond ads and slogans and product-specific messaging. It is important to understand that marketers are always expected to meet buyers in the Age of the Customer.

But before visitors, consumers or customers make any purchase (whether it’s a product or service) online, there are several marketing “touchpoints” they are exposed to. From watching a commercial ad on TV to visiting a comparison shopping engine (CSE) to performing online price comparisons, these touchpoints are basically known to cover a wide range of interactions.

What is marketing attribution?

Simply put, marketing attribution can be referred to as means by which customers come to find and obtain products and services advertised by marketers. Basically, it is concerned with the way and manner in which marketers assess the ROI or value of the channels through which they are connected to potential customers. It’s pretty easy to consider the final sale, but the real question is how many customers would go straight to a website and make a purchase on the initial visit? Obviously, before a final buying decision can be taken, several channels and messages are likely to be involved.

For many years now, attribution has been a priority for marketing products and services online. Unfortunately, this has been one of the biggest challenges most marketers have been facing in the retail industry. As a science necessary for determining media responsible for driving purchases, marketing attribution deals with the allocation of money or assigning credit from a business trade or transaction to the marketing touchpoints exposed to the customer prior to making the purchase.

A conversion event can be said to have taken place when a paid product or service is directly involved in the process. However, it is good to know that rather than a sale, a registration or signup for a website can be utilized particularly when there is no direct involvement with a paid product or service. In the same way, marketing touchpoints can be apportioned credits for such conversions.

An overview of how it works

In a proper attribution modeling scenario, each touchpoint is expected to be allotted proportional credit. However, this depends on the influence it has on the customer’s conversion decision or purchase. When it comes to marketing attribution, the main objective is to ascertain those touchpoints that are yielding positive results. An advanced attribution system can effectively demonstrate profitable touchpoints by employing the cost of each of them. As a result, an exceptional optimization of marketing expenditures can be achieved.

The aim of understanding each touchpoint was well proven inadequate by early attribution models. For instance, every earlier activity was ignored even after assigning all credit to the last touchpoint by the “Last Touch” or “Last Click” model. Unlike this model, the First Click model is designed to assign credit only to the first touchpoint thereby ignoring others. Despite the obvious state of inexactness, these models are still being employed by many advertisers today. Just so you know, many advertisers are still using these models to determine the value of touchpoints.

However, it is becoming more and more complex to effectively ascribe operational marketing roles due to the availability of numerous touchpoints. Interestingly, marketers can now account and participate effectively in multi-channel selling, thanks to the recent introduction of several marketing attribution models. This has helped to ensure proper understanding and modeling across various touchpoints. In order to ensure a flawless and accurate attribution system, it is important to understand the interactions that occur across devices (such as PC, tablet, smartphone etc.) and across marketing channels.

The introduction of advanced attribution systems has helped to present a truly privacy-compliant means through which user behavior can be anonymously followed, thanks to recent technological advancements. For the first time, marketers are now being able to accurately predict results that will be produced by a particular marketing expenditure and interactions. This can be done by observing every touchpoint leading to a conversion. With these innovative and scientifically improved attribution systems, authentic predictions can be achieved based on the results obtained by advertisers. In a bid to dramatically improve their results, many companies in the industry are already taking advantage of these systems which have enabled a revolution in marketing measurement.