A Framework for Attribution Modeling
Attribution modeling, the process of identifying which marketing touch points contribute to a conversion, tells the story of how prospective buyers engage with you. It also reveals which marketing channels and activities result in the engagement you are trying to achieve. To evaluate the effectiveness of those channels and activities, you will need to develop a measurement strategy that tracks results that’s accessible across your organization.
Let’s start with a simple, common business scenario. Say you’re a marketing manager at a mid-sized tech company and you work with several different kinds of business leaders, i.e. product managers, sales directors, division managers, etc. You’ll definitely need to develop a measurement strategy that is well-vested across the board. We’ll show you why below really soon.
One of the key necessities for attribution modeling is analytics tracking. You will need to implement a tagging management solution (TMS) to track anything you want to measure on your website. For example, using a TMS like Google Tag Manager, Signal, or Ensighten to tag and track all of your links and conversions will give you the data you need to make good decisions on which channels and campaigns are successful, or which part of your website you need to optimize. There is no way around this because you need to have an appropriate measurement framework for attribution, and to build that model you need good data.
What kinds of analytics tracking are available? There are basically four high-level concepts you should know before getting started:
- Campaign Tracking – To understand which campaigns your customers are interacting with, you need to set-up campaign parameters within your landing pages and track incoming traffic with tracking links (i.e. UTM link builder)
- Value Event – These are actions that do not tie directly to a conversion, i.e. someone watches a video, you need to set-up Goals in your web analytics platform to track these events
- Conversion Event – These tie directly to baseline value-add on a website, i.e. someone fills out a form, you will also need to set-up goals for these as well (also called micro-conversions)
- Personal Identifiable Information (PII) – Getting even more granular, try building a framework that collects PII so you can attribute success at an individual level and optimize/personalize content along the customer journey (i.e. filling out a form and having that form fill out filter to your marketing automation system)
Now let’s get back to our business scenario. In order to set-up a successful measurement framework that takes into account the above analytics, try to carry out the following exercise in a meeting with your business leaders, web developers, or marketing managers: imagine all of the Conversion Events that need to occur to meet your business objectives, and what Value Events and Campaign Channels you are going to invest in to create the conversion.
Here is one example for a mid-size B2B tech company:
|Conversion Event:||Contact Request||Purchase of Services|
|Value Event:||Watching webcast, download an e-book, click-through from email||Signing up for email, watching a demo, making an appointment|
|Campaign Channel:||Display ad, SEO, email marketing, paid search||Email nurture campaign, direct marketing, etc.|
This is something you can share with your stakeholders. It will give you a visual way to get back to the fundamental purpose of every single webpage, event, and engagement. From the outside looking in, it gives you the purpose of each campaign, i.e. what value events you want as a result of these campaign investments.
These are the essential building blocks that will give you proper tracking to collect data for your attribution campaign. If you’re missing certain campaigns or data, you’re not going to have a complete picture of which marketing channels are contributing or not to your bottom line, or even just your incoming website traffic. You do need to involve other people in your company to get this completed, but it is not a complex task and you will reap the benefits from this exercise. No go get started!
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