What Is Marketing Attribution? Benefits, Types, Models and Tips

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Evaluating the success of your marketing strategies can help you increase your conversions. With marketing attribution, you can identify what parts of your techniques are performing well on the market. Understanding how to practice marketing attribution can enable you to better target your consumers. In this article, we explore the definition and benefits of marketing attribution, as well as attribution models you can use to develop reports.

Related: What Is ROI in Marketing?

What is marketing attribution?

Marketing attribution is a reporting tool that illustrates the channel that encouraged the consumer to make a purchase. Campaigns typically use multiple channels to engage their target audiences, such as blog posts and email marketing. Using marketing attribution, you can determine what part of your campaign resonated with your consumers the most.

For example, to promote the launch of a new eyeshadow palette, you publish tutorials on one platform and a thread of written instructions on another platform. Your marketing attribution report shows customers bought the palette after watching the tutorial which means tutorials are the most impactful technique for your target audience.

Why is marketing attribution important?

As a marketing professional, it's important to practice marketing attribution because you can discover ways to improve your strategy. Suppose one of your channels didn't perform as well as you initially planned. You can evaluate the reasons for its performance, such as a lack of keywords or an inconsistent series of content, and refine your technique for the future.

Also, the needs of your consumers may evolve with time. For example, a facial sunscreen with a high SPF may be more important to your customers today than it was twenty years ago. Each one of your products may require a customized marketing strategy. Marketing attribution allows you to determine how to build content that answers customers' questions and includes persuasive tactics, which may be necessary for them to invest in your product.

Benefits of marketing attribution

Marketing attribution can produce benefits for your promotional strategy, such as:

  • Simplifying the evaluation process: With an extensive marketing campaign, it may be challenging to evaluate the success of channels individually. Marketing attribution organizes the metrics of your campaign, making it easier for you to identify the strong points of your strategy in one place.

  • Saving time and resources: You can allocate resources from less successful channels into the ones you know are contributing to the success of your campaign. For example, if marketing attribution shows your blog posts have low conversion rates, you may decide to devote your time to boosting your social media posts, which have high conversion rates.

  • Discovering what consumers want: Detailed evaluation can indicate the needs of your consumers, which can enable you to develop products that satisfy their expectations. For instance, your report shows the commercial that emphasized environmentally friendly packaging was the most successful. Now you know what factors your consumers look for before buying your product.

  • Boosting creativity: Once you understand when your target audiences make a purchase, you can improve your technique. For example, you conclude from your marketing attribution that most consumers make a purchase after a social media influencer reviews the product. Thus, you decide to sponsor the influencer's tutorials to expand your marketing reach.

  • Increasing the return on investment (ROI): Higher ROI can be the ultimate benefit of marketing attribution. With a more focused, creative campaign, you can target your consumers better, leading them to make more purchases.

Related: Ultimate Guide To What Is Included in a Marketing Plan

Types of marketing attribution

There are three types of marketing attribution, which are:

Lead attribution

Lead attribution encompasses prospective customers, which are groups of people who may invest in your product in the future. Practicing lead attribution can allow you to see the impact of your marketing strategies. For instance, if the content on your platform is generating a lot of leads, then you know it's making progress, or you can modify the content to streamline the buying process.

Contact create attribution

Contact create attribution shows every channel your lead encountered throughout the buyer's journey. You can find out what platforms are the best at generating leads and which contributed the most to a purchase. For example, the report shows your customer read the landing page on your website and clicked on the promotional email, but the landing page contributed more to the customer making an investment.

Related: The Marketing Mix: The Art of Using the 4 Ps of Marketing

Revenue attribution

Revenue attribution analyzes how much revenue you gained when a customer completed a purchase. You can pinpoint what platforms lead to the most revenue, which can guide you through spending resources for advertisements in the future.

Marketing attribution models

Here are two attribution models you can use to analyze your marketing strategies:

Single-source attribution

The single-source attribution model has two touch points:

  • First-touch attribution: The platform the consumer interacted with first receives the credit for the conversion. For example, if a consumer views a social media advertisement, then makes a purchase, the models counts the conversion towards the social media advertisement.

  • Last-touch attribution: The platform the consumer interacted with last receives the credit. For instance, if a consumer visits a website before making a purchase, then the model counts the conversion towards the website.

Multi-source marketing attribution

The multi-touch (MTA) marketing attribution model distributes credit to every channel the customer visited before deciding to purchase. It includes six types:

  • Linear: The linear model assigns equal credit to every touch point. For example, if a consumer read a blog post, clicked on an advertisement and visited the website, then all those channels equally contributed to the purchase decision.

  • Time decay: The time decay model gives credit to the platforms the consumer visited most recently. For instance, if a consumer shared a video post after reading the newsletter, then the model designates the video post as more impactful. Marketers may use the time decay format for lengthy campaigns.

  • U-shaped: In the U-shaped model, the first touch point and the lead creation each receive 40% of the credit. The model assigns the last 20% to the encounters that occurred in between.

  • W-shaped: The W-shaped model is similar to the U-shape, except it includes a third touch point. All three encounters receive 30% of the credit, and the 10% goes to the middle touch points.

  • Full-path: The full-path model includes the follow-up encounters the marketers initiate with their consumers. Most of the credit goes to the channel that created the lead and the last touch point, and the channel that closed the deal of the sale receives credit as well.

  • Custom: With customization, you can choose how to designate credit to your touch points that fit your marketing objectives. You may weigh the impact of your platforms differently based on the typical buying behavior of your customers.

Related: 12 Marketing Tips for Your Marketing Campaign

Tips for practicing marketing attribution

For more information about marketing attribution, consider the following tips:

Align your model choice with your campaign

The scope of your campaign can influence the type of attribution model you use. For example, you may decide to use the B2B attribution model for a project that targeted fellow businesses. Aligning your model choice with your project can enable you to produce accurate numbers and interpret your success accurately.

Use a marketing attribution software

Software can streamline the marketing attribution process. You can input the data to use the attribution models of your choosing, and you can receive a report with accurate analyses of your marketing strategy. Consider an attribution software that matches the extent of your campaign. For example, if your campaign takes place largely on social media, you may use a software that specializes in analyzing social media metrics.

Develop reports consistently

Consistent marketing attribution allows you to evaluate your success over time. You can distinguish patterns with channels that generate high conversions, which can help you plan future techniques. With repeated reports of channels with low conversions, you may decide to devote your time and resources elsewhere. It may be helpful to practice marketing attribution after every major campaign, and you can refer to the reports when strategizing new promotional techniques.

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