October 24, 2014

Written by Kurt Anagnostopoulos

4 Alternatives to Last-Click Attribution Modeling

My last post framed today’s marketing challenge as investing budget dollars where those funds will do the most good – and doing it quickly and precisely.

And then, I posed this provocative question: How can you meet that challenge without practicing sophisticated attribution modeling?

By sophisticated, of course, I mean dropping your Last-Click Crutch and using the powerful attribution analytics available to you to dig deeper. Here are four attribution modeling methods worth exploring for your digital campaigns:

1.  First Interaction. In this model, you’re placing all your focus on discovering what caused a prospect to become interested in your products or services in the first place. Did they click on a banner ad? Search on specific keywords? However they got there, this view can be just as limiting as Last Click, if you apply it in isolation. You still would have only one touchpoint on which to base your marketing decisions – it’s just moved to an earlier point in the process.

2.  Position-Based. Now we’re getting somewhere. With this model you’re accounting for all the different positions in the sales funnel and weighing them based on what you believe to be most important. For example, you may give 40 percent of the weight to First Interaction, 40 percent to Last Click, and 20 percent to what happens in the middle. The key is it’s showing every single touchpoint throughout the sales cycle. As you learn more about what motivates your customers to action, you can adjust weighting to better reflect how they interact with your brand. You can set up multiple customer models to give weight to different touchpoints, too. You also can perform a great deal of customization based on what’s important to the sale. For example, you can make adjustments for time on your site, page views (the more pages viewed, the more credit a particular channel gets), position rules that weight the value of a conversion based on each interaction, and more.

3.  Time-Delay. As the name implies, while you’re still looking at the entire sales funnel you give more weight to actions that occur closer to the conversion. So, for example, while some credit is given to an organic search that occurred 30 days ago, it is not nearly as much credit as the banner ad that was clicked two days ago, or the paid social media ad that was clicked today.

 4.  Linear. This model is incredibly powerful, but also requires the greatest degree of expertise. Rather than working from a starting point, you are customizing everything, with many more parameters available to you. Really, it’s the best of all the other models, combining elements of Positioned-Based and Time-Delay. For example, you can look at media in the past and the actual media type. If you feel paid search is more important than organic search, you can adjust the weighting that way. You can look at the path to get to a conversion and/or you can look at the different interactions.

All this capability at your fingertips can be confusing at first. Your best approach is start slowly with one of the less complicated models, and as your competency grows move into Linear attribution marketing. The process will take time. Be patient, and tweak, tweak, tweak as you learn.