July 26, 2018

What is Marketing Attribution?

Marketing attribution has become a very popular subject to talk about in recent years. Ideas, methods, and theories about best practices and infrastructure are floating around the internet in ever-increasing abundance. Even with all the in-depth data circulating out there, a lot of people are still trying to figure out exactly what marketing attribution is and where to start. In short, marketing attribution is how you track and prove marketing's role and impact on revenue.

By connecting marketing to this important sales data, your team no longer has to guess the impact of their efforts.

Not long ago, it was nearly impossible to do this. Sure you could theorize about marketing's contribution, and even throw around some guesses, but accurate data was hard to come by. With the adoption of inbound marketing methods and some sweet reporting tools, we now have reliable data that can better inform us about the impact of our marketing efforts.

What is Marketing Attribution?

To phrase it another way, marketing attribution is how you calculate the ROI of your marketing effort. It gives insights into how your work influences customers, what efforts are most effective and how your work impacts revenue.

Now, it's important to do your research and make informed decisions about how you set up your marketing attribution because the infrastructure you have in place is vital to the success of your reporting. If you don't have a well-set up infrastructure, you're going to get unreliable data. This will only end up leading to more questions than answers.

Download our Marketing Goals Calculator Template to find out just how many  contacts you need at each stage of the funnel.

How Do You Set Up Marketing Attribution?

Start by thinking about the model you want implemented. If you're just getting into marketing attribution, a good place to begin is with a single-touch model. First or last-touch attribution are popular choices in the single-touch model and are easier to set up than some of the more complex options.

With the single-touch model you're consistently tracking that specific conversion point (whether you choose first or last), and tracking it all the way to revenue. This will paint a picture of what conversion points are performing well as lead generators, or creating opportunities, and this type of data can be very powerful for content development and positioning, as well as better understanding customer behavioral patterns.

Multi-touch marketing attribution

Multi-touch marketing attribution does exactly what the name infers: it tracks multiple touch points. If you have the time, money, and infrastructure to set this up, you're going to get a lot more granularity with your data, but you will need the time to dig into it. This model will show you how well, and how often, different pieces of content influence revenue. Multi-touch modeling also gives you depth and the ability to weight the attribution differently. By running separate types of reports you have the advantage of leveraging your data to make more tactical changes to your marketing efforts.

Regardless of which attribution model you choose, just having the reports isn't enough. You have to make sure you can dedicate the time to not only review, but also understand them. The goal is to use the reports to make tactical changes to better suit the needs of your customers and your organization.

Key Takeaways

Marketing attribution is a powerful tool that is able to provide a wealth of information about your marketing efforts. It can be as simple or complex as you need it to be, from tracking a single conversion point to every conversion point. Your infrastructure, investment, and time requirements will be based on the model you pick. If you're just starting out, single-touch marketing attribution is a great place to begin. If you find you need more in-depth reporting, you can build up to multi-touch.

Remember that no matter which model you choose, the reports are only as good as you make them. Ensure you have not only a reliable infrastructure that provides clean data, but also the time needed to review and understand the reports you are developing. When done well, marketing attribution shows us how much influence marketing efforts have on customers, and ultimately, organizational revenue.

Download our CMO's Guide to Marketing Attribution to learn the essential fundamentals of attributing marketing's contribution to revenue. By connecting marketing to this key sales data, your team no longer has to be in the dark about their revenue impact.

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James Henault

James is a former New Breeder.


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