What is marketing attribution?
Anyone who is engaged in online marketing has probably experienced the frustration of trying to tie sales to particular marketing activities. An active digital marketer will use email campaigns, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Re-targeting ads, Facebook ads, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and increasingly SnapChat. Did I miss anything?
A commonly cited statistic revolves around the number of “touches” needed before a prospect converts to a lead. Most of the time, the stat shows up as 12, however I have personally seen a significant level of variation for this stat. The fact that this is not even a consistently reported fact points to the difficulty of collecting reliable data on touches and integrating them across different channels. Obviously, as digital marketing continues to rise, attribution becomes more and more difficult and less and less precise.
How to attribute sales to campaigns
With all these different channels and platforms to reach your clients, how can you say that one campaign produces ROI and another doesn’t? How can you attribute to success for one campaign or another? In the past, one of the best methods was little more than an educated guess. A marketer would run a campaign, review sales for an arbitrarily defined time period afterwards and assign ROI based off the difference in sales between that period and the trailing period. The really savvy marketers would use surveys to collect data to reinforce their attribution and gather data that can help sales down the line in the process.
The advent of marketing tracking software has begun to change this equation for the better. You can use an intelligently designed solution to make sure you know every touch point and get a much greater level of insight into what you are losing money on and what is making you money. There are many different tools available for tracking. Some are relevant for one format, while others are better suited for a different platforms and channels. One of the things you want to be most conscious of is making sure that you do not simply assign all the ROI to the last touch point, this has been a fatal flaw for marketers in the past, and continues to plague some firms. Achieving this is best accomplished via tool that uses digital fingerprinting or permanent cookies, this way you can follow interactions on an individual level for the life of the device owned by that individual which is currently the gold standard for tracking and attribution without using a registration wall.
Steps to setting up Marketing Attribution
1. Determine your needs. This will require you to review your current marketing plan to review which platforms and channels you will be using to drive customers to your brand and fill your funnel.
2. Review monitoring abilities that are already in place. You may have an ad agency or another marketing partner in place. Have an in depth conversation with them regarding what type of analytics you have at your disposal. Inquire if they have further capabilities that might be activated or reported. Also, it would be best to push for your own log in for these sources of data and not leave it to them to issue reports.
3. Become familiar with the free tools that are out there. Google analytics is a very useful tool. But, there are many free tools that can help you get some idea of what is going on with your marketing campaigns and where your best spend will be moving forward.
4. Identify gaps for your current model. You may have an eCommerce site that has a password wall. That will allow you to see clicks within your system and get a good idea of how people landed within your site, you may be able to see reports off social media enabled campaigns as well. Consolidate this info and look at where you are blind. Do you know how many times people have come to your site and simply clicked around without buying or registering? Can you identify those people? That is money on the table, don’t leave it!
5. Look into lead identification and tracking tools. The best of these will be able to shed a lot of light on the parts of the customer buying cycle that are currently in darkness. At the same time, they will help to identify interested buyers who may need a nudge. If the tool is really great, it will also give you a way to reach out to them.
6. Using mass email software and landing page software is a great way to make the tracking tool even more effective. The proper integration of the three can offer the ability to identify unknown visitors via multiple avenues and then be aware of their interactions and exposure to various assets for the life of their devices.
7. Look into analytics sets if you want to take all of this info and put it into a single source. There are a myriad of options, and more are popping up every day. It can often be the best choice to go and find several different tools that specialize in niches and then integrate them with an analytics dashboard. A one stop shop that claims to operate all of the steps can leave you wanting more in some categories. Better to take a tailored approach than buy off the rack. Though oddly enough, tailored choices can often end up being more affordable than the jack of all trade, master of none options out there.
8. Once you have all of this in place and have built a solid plan for marketing and adjusting based of analytics, you will now be in control of the destiny of your company. It may seem daunting at first, but the final product and the ability to adjust, optimize, reduce waste and prove value will end up making your business life much more easy, effective and fulfilling.
If you have direct questions about how we can help with marketing attribution, let us know. We are always glad to help!