The Importance of Attribution: Measure the Impact of Your Marketing

By: Madison Johanesen

What is the Importance of Attribution?

Attribution has been a primary challenge in digital marketing for years – the way conversions are attributed can drastically change important decisions regarding your marketing budget and business goals. The end goal is to determine if you are effectively spending your budget and optimizing revenue, which means that you need to know the value of each channel or touchpoint during the purchase or conversion process.

How is Attribution Determined?

There are several models or sets of rules that determine how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to each touchpoint, but arguably the most commonly used model, has been ‘last-touch’ (or ‘last-click’). This ‘last-touch’ model gives all credit of the conversion to the last ad or channel that the customer saw or clicked on – even if that last view or click was not ultimately what convinced them to convert. This model makes sense, but as you can see, it is also flawed as it doesn’t properly give credit to all channels that the customer was exposed to.

A more sophisticated model is the ‘multi-touch’ attribution model – which looks at the entire sequence of conversions (based on a look-back window or path definition) and allocates credit between channels and campaigns that occur throughout the entire customer journey. Even though ‘multi-touch’ is technically one model, there are many different rule-based and algorithmic versions aimed at properly attributing the credit and value throughout the funnel. A challenge with this is that in order to utilize a ‘multi-touch’ model, you will likely need to work with a third-party vendor.

Attribution Tools and Vendors

There are a number of different vendors or tools offering these rule-based, algorithmic attribution solutions such as C3Metrics, Bizible, and Full Circle Insights, to name a few. These are all great options and each has their own perks, but like many third party tools, they also have some drawbacks. They can be costly and difficult to set up, and they aren’t integrated with ad tools (such as AdWords or Google Analytics). These challenges sure seem like something a little company called Google could tackle…

Why Hasn’t Google Figured this out Already?

Well, they have – Google has recently announced a new attribution offering of their own called, none other than, Google Attribution. This is a simplified version of their enterprise level offering, Attribution 360. They are “making it possible for every marketer to measure the impact of their marketing across devices and across channels – all in one place, and at no additional cost.” Google Attribution takes in data across AdWords, Google Analytics, and DoubleClick Search, analyzes performance across devices and channels based on your selected attribution model, then automatically sends you the results for easy optimization and reporting. You are also able to utilize Google’s data-driven attribution which uses machine learning to determine the credit to assign to each touchpoint in the customer journey. Basically, it is a multi-touch attribution solution, tracking customers cross-device and cross-channel, that requires no additional setup or cost. Sounds like a decent answer to a lot of the attribution challenges! This offering is in beta now and will be rolling out to more advertisers in the coming months.

To Wrap It Up
Us marketers have a number of attribution offerings at our fingertips – and although Google Attribution is an exciting new solution for those utilizing Google’s ad tools, ultimately it is a matter of what you decide to adopt as a company in order to properly answer the question “Is my digital marketing working?”. If you are struggling with your marketing efforts in general, our team at Pico will develop a custom marketing solution for you and help you to feel more confident in answering that daunting question. Learn more about our digital programs.

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