3 Tips for Managing Attribution Modeling

For months, our rallying cry has been “Drop your Last-Click Crutch!

Our argument is straightforward: How can marketers track the digital pathway buyers followed to reach them if the only clue is the buyers’ final step?

Sure, not long ago, we had little choice but to rely on the last click. The data connecting each touch point along a customer’s path to purchase wasn’t available or reliable. What’s more is the tools for analyzing this type of information were neither sophisticated nor affordable.

And yes, time was spending most of your marketing time and budget figuring out whether or not marketing was working just didn’t make a lot of sense. What did make sense was giving the last marketing tactic in a campaign that produced a sale 100% of the credit, because the data was fresh and unambiguous. We knew it was real — even though we also knew a mix of campaigns and as many as five touch points preceded that sale. In those days, we just couldn’t see those facts in front of us.

Well, today we can. Google’s recent research tells us as many as nine of every 10 marketers has access to some form of analytics tool, and the reasons for using those tools are more compelling than ever:

  • 90 percent of media interactions today are screen-based, a statistic that includes TVs, PCs, smartphones and tablets
  • 67 percent of buyers start shopping on one device and continue on another.

In other words, today’s digital commerce is complex. In turn, Smart marketing dictates that you invest your budget dollars where they will do the most good. And in my last post, we offered four ways you can approach this analysis – i.e., we’re pointing directions for stepping beyond the last click.

We understand that throwing down that last-click crutch and venturing into new analytical terrain can be intimidating, especially without a trusted means of support. So, here are a few pointers for approaching attribution modeling with new techniques:

  1. Know Before You Go. Earlier, we referred to the way today’s customers come to your company as a digital pathway. So, let’s stick to the analogy. If you want to discover a route to a new destination, you look at a map. In the case of attribution modeling, you should plug data into your analytics tool – just like you enter addresses into mapping software before hitting the road. Be sure full details – tactics, dates, dollars, etc. — about each digital campaign are entered into your modeling software.
  2. Walk First, Don’t Run. Explore alternative attribution models one at a time before trying combined or comprehensive analysis with any given technique. Before attempting an obstacle course, walking along the path and examining each challenge is a great way to prepare and minimize stumbling when the time comes to run the race.
  3. Carry Your “Last-Click Crutch.” Ok, we confess we were going for dramatic impact when we told you to “drop” your crutch. But that doesn’t mean we believe you should disregard it. Last-click analysis plays an important role in attribution modeling. Your picture of your customers’ journey would be incomplete without being able to see their final steps. So, you shouldn’t lean on that crutch, but you should carry the knowledge of how to use it along your way.

Expect some confusion at first but your competency will grow with time. And after a few trips, you’ll be finding efficient shortcuts and some more scenic routes than you’ve traveled before.

Analytics Attribution Modeling

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