The Smart Guide to Multi-Channel Attribution Tracking
Think about the last product or service you purchased. How many brand experiences or touchpoints did you encounter along the way?
Take buying a car, for example. To research vehicle availability, features, and comparisons, you’re interacting with a dealership’s:
- Website inventory
- Social media feeds
- Email marketing campaigns
- In-person sales team
And that’s all before the billboards, radio ads, and print campaigns you pass along the way.
Each of these marketing channels plays a significant role in convincing you to ultimately purchase a brand new or used vehicle. But which marketing channel should get the credit for converting you from an interested prospect into a customer?
That is where multi-channel attribution tracking comes into play. With such a plan in place, marketers can make great strides with their campaigns—but only if executed properly!
What is Multi-Channel Attribution Tracking?
Multi-channel attribution refers to the process of tracking and assigning levels of credit to channels that contribute to online conversions or sales.
The amount of credit assigned to a specific channel remains dependent upon its overall contribution to the sales cycle, campaign, and strategy as a whole.
Each business or marketing team leverages one or more attribution models to effectively track and analyze the success, failure, and status of their campaigns as a whole.
Why Every Marketer Should Care About Multi-Channel Attribution Tracking
For some businesses, the sales cycle is relatively short. Customers interact with one, maybe two, touchpoints before making a purchase. In situations like this, marketers can easily see which channel drove the conversion.
However, for more extensive marketing campaigns or longer sales processes, customers will interact with several channels before making a final purchase decision. Multi-channel attribution models help marketers identify exactly which channels lead to the conversion, in which order, and how significant each interaction was.
As a result, multi-channel attribution tracking offers benefits such as:
Conversion Path Transparency
Have you ever purchased something from a small business and had the owner or employee ask, “How’d you hear about us?”
It’s a bit harder to ask that question for online conversion. Marketers can implement tactics like post-purchase surveys, but these steps often go uncompleted by the customer.
With a multi-channel attribution tracking plan in place, marketers can see exactly which marketing efforts, campaigns, and channels led to the conversion or purchase.
Multi-channel attribution tracking enables marketers to make sound, informed decisions about their campaigns. There’s no need to guess which channels are performing well or guiding the most leads down the sales funnel—your reports will tell you.
By eliminating the guesswork involved with marketing campaigns, companies can have peace of mind and confidence knowing their campaign decisions get based on data from multi-channel attribution models.
Identifies Top-Performing Marketing Channels
When a marketing campaign utilizes multiple channels to accomplish a goal, it’s hard to tell which channel is pulling the weight of the campaign if you don’t have proper tracking in place.
With multi-channel attribution models, marketers can see which channels perform well, which do not drive as many leads as desired, and barely contribute to a campaign’s success or failure.
Proper Budget Allocation
If your marketing team doesn’t have a way to assign conversion credit to specific channels, you may be spending money on campaigns and efforts that do not contribute to the overall return.
A major benefit of multi-channel attribution is the ability to identify top-performing channels, channel opportunities and adequately dedicated funds to these avenues. With budgets being tight across all industries, using data to justify expenditures is vital to the success of any marketing campaign.
7 Types of Multi-Channel Attribution Models to Choose From
Attribution models are not a “one size fits all” solution. Instead, marketers must choose the multi-channel attribution model that makes the most sense for their goals, data organization, and strategies.
Generally, there are seven models to choose from.
1. First Click Attribution
If your marketing plan utilizes multiple channels or platforms, your audience interacts with several touchpoints before making a final purchase decision. So, which channel or piece of content should get the credit for completing the conversion?
According to a first-click attribution model, the content or channel the customer clicks on receives 100% of the credit.
For example, if a customer clicks on a link in an email newsletter but doesn’t convert until interacting with a branded Facebook post a few days later, the email link will still receive all of the credit.
2. Last Click Attribution
On the other end of the spectrum is last-click attribution. This model gives all of the conversion credit to the user’s last channel interaction.
Therefore, in our previous example, the organic Facebook ad would be responsible for encouraging a purchase or conversion.
3. Last Non-Direct Click Attribution
After interacting with your content on social media or as the result of a PPC ad, some users will leave your website. However, they’ll return a few days later as direct traffic. After all, they’re familiar with your brand and website now.
The last non-direct click attribution model pays attention to every channel except direct traffic. This option gives credit to the last channel the customer clicked on before converting.
If the customer clicked on a PPC ad and returned later as direct traffic, the PPC ad would get credit for the conversion.
This option is ideal for marketers looking to identify top-performing channels.
4. Linear Attribution
For many marketers, multi-channel attribution is about identifying the channels that lead to a successful conversion.
With this in mind, linear attribution distributes equal credit to all marketing channels involved in a purchase or conversion.
For instance, if a customer found your organic search listing, entered their information into a contact form, engaged with the email newsletter, and clicked on the link in your Instagram bio—all before converting—each channel would receive equal responsibility for convincing the user to make a purchase.
Marketers interested in discovering which marketing channels lead to a conversion most often won’t find linear multi-channel attribution to remain the best pathway.
5. Time-Decay Attribution
Time-decay attribution distributes credit based on the timing of each interaction. Those channels that interacted closer to the conversion (i.e., the end of the sales cycle) receive more credit, while those at the beginning of the sales process receive less.
This model helps demonstrate the path a user took to conversion and how influential each channel was along the way.
6. Position-Based or U-Based Attribution
This attribution model bases credit distribution on the position of each channel in the overall cycle.
Channels at the beginning and end of a conversion receive the most credit, with the rest distributed evenly to the channel interactions that happened in between. The methodology behind this model is rooted in the belief that the first and last interactions played the most profound role in enticing a user to convert.
7. Custom Attribution Models
Remember, multi-channel attribution models are not “one size fits all.” If none of these methods sound right for your marketing strategy, make your own!
You can create custom multi-channel attribution tracking models to best suit your brand’s needs, goals, and efforts.
Make Multi-Channel Attribution Less Complicated With Call Tracking
Multi-channel attribution tracking solves the problem of having a wealth of overwhelming marketing data. With your chosen attribution model in place, you can make strategic marketing campaign decisions, have an up-close look at the success or failure of your existing strategy, and better understand consumer actions.
But, even multi-channel attribution has its flaws: it fails to consider offline interactions and conversions.
With multiple tracking tools monitoring the results of your social media, website, email, and other channels, how are you analyzing leads that connect with your business or convert via a phone call?
Call tracking platforms to bridge the gap between missing channel data and proper attribution.
Using a toll-free or vanity phone number, businesses can assign specific phone numbers to a respective channel. If a customer calls a designated phone number, you’ll know exactly which channel generated the phone number.
Plus, with features like call recording and call notes, you’ll have a wealth of information available about your lead’s conversion pathway.
With this contextual and quantitative data available to your team, multi-channel attribution tracking will be far less complicated!
For instance, if you use the last non-direct click attribution model and a customer calls a number they found as part of your Facebook ad before converting, the ad campaign gets the credit for the sale.
Every Multi-Channel Attribution Strategy Needs a Call Tracking Plan
Without a call tracking platform, your attribution model is missing out on significant customer behavior, marketing, and sales data. And, without this data, how will you make wise decisions for your next strategy or campaign?
Make sure your multi-channel attribution tracking plan includes call tracking capabilities.
Claim your toll-free or vanity number today and start leveraging the power of call tracking for your marketing efforts.