5 Things You Need to Know About Marketing Attribution

Marketing Attribution Image

Now more than ever, the topic of attribution is front and center as marketing teams work to justify and allocate their precious advertising dollars among the plethora of traditional and emerging channels in today’s marketplace. In a recent virtual event, SeQuel’s Chris Hofmann, VP of Digital Services, discussed all things direct marketing attribution with a group of more than 100 marketers from across the globe. Here are five of our favorite takeaways from the webinar to help marketers allocate credit and optimize their spend:

1. Never stop learning about attribution

Marketing attribution is a complex and challenging concept, with no perfect method that can be duplicated across the board. Chris says the goal is to get comfortable with the notion that you will never have a perfect view of attribution. If you continue to educate yourself on the topic and adjust your models, the goal is to be less wrong over time.

2. There is no perfect attribution model

First touch, last click, U-shaped, linear, custom … the list of attribution models available to marketers goes on and on. Each attribution model offers its pros and cons. As a best practice, Chris recommends comparing models  to provide greater insight and a more holistic view of multichannel performance.

3. Question your metrics

Have a clear understanding of the source of each metric and what is represents. Choose your programmatic ad provider wisely, as some are guilty of attribution traps or inflating conversions. Ask yourself: what does impression mean in your reporting, what does conversion mean, how long is the look-back window, and if it’s configurable? Ultimately, attribution accuracy depends on the types of data you have available and the model you choose to use.

4. Test

To truly see how your channels are working together, test them. Implementing a holdout strategy allows marketers to track the impact of one channel over another using a control group. In direct mail specifically, marketers can match new customer files with mail records to identify successful conversions and allocate channel credit. Holdout strategies illustrate a program’s incremental lift and assist when measuring a channel’s effectiveness.

5. Focus on what you can control

Maximize the insights available from your attribution modeling tools (such as Google Analytics and social media attribution reports) for a deeper understanding of digital conversion paths.  Path length, multi-channel paths, lag between first and last interaction, and conversion reports are incredibly useful when measuring effectiveness. You can also manipulate the default platform models to create custom attribution models that give credit to the actions that mean the most to your brand.

Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all attribution model. Staying informed on models and best practices will help you build a program that measures the variables that matter most to your funnel and your budget. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask an expert for help.