How the Whole Business Wins with Successful Marketing Attribution [Part 2]

In part one of this series, I compared marketing attribution to the Big Bad Wolf, a once-intimidating presence that kept marketers from successfully connecting their marketing to revenue. While the act is no longer such a scary monster, the intricacies of attribution models remains a beast. Fortunately, it’s one you can easily tame with a little bit of information.

So, let’s dive into the two chief types of marketing attribution models and cover the many merits of each.

Single-touch attribution models

These models offer marketers the simple solution of applying all credit to a single touch point in the customer journey. There are three widely used single-touch attribution models:

Without a doubt, single-touch models are the easiest to implement and understand. But they have obvious drawbacks—namely, they attribute all the credit to one activity, prohibiting marketers from connecting revenue to multichannel strategies. While these may work in B2C scenarios, where customer journeys tend to be shorter and more straightforward, they are insufficient for B2B revenue attribution. For example, a first-click model will never help you understand the impact of a retargeting campaign because, by definition, it won’t be the first click. Similarly, a last-click model will never help you understand the impact of a top-of-the-funnel acquisition campaign.

Multi-touch attribution models

Unlike single-touch models, multi-touch attribution gives marketers the chance to allocate different revenue credit to different activities. There are five particularly popular multi-touch models:

Multi-touch attribution models are particularly useful in B2B marketing environments, where customer journeys are regularly drawn-out and nonlinear. Because these models align with crucial funnel stages, marketers can use them to gain an improved understanding of customer journeys and accelerate purchases.

Additionally, for B2B marketers with particularly complex, long, or irregular customer journeys, it may be worthwhile to consider a custom attribution model—or one powered by machine learning. While pre-configured multi-touch models, like the ones previously discussed, align closely with the stages of a typical B2B journey, it’s important to use an attribution model that matches your business.

Select the right marketing attribution model for you

While marketing attribution is typically discussed in the context of attributing revenue, marketers also use attribution to understand what activities are driving other outcomes, such as pipeline and leads. Picking a marketing attribution model that fits your needs ultimately depends on what you’re trying to measure.

If your goal is to see how effectively marketing attributes leads, you need a model that measures the first touch and lead creation: a U-shaped model.

On the other hand, if you want to understand how your marketing is impacting revenue generation, using a full-path attribution model for a more comprehensive approach is the way to go.

Whatever you choose, marketing attribution is the key to understanding how you’re reaching your anticipated outcomes. And it’ll put you on a path to influencing desired behaviors and driving more conversions.

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