Multi-Touch Attribution in a Hyper Connected World
How to Evaluate Your Online Marketing Channels
In today’s highly competitive world, businesses have to work extra hard to reach and influence their target market. To achieve this, organizations must tap into multiple marketing channels from Email Marketing and Paid Search, to Social Media and Display Advertising. But how can the modern marketer ensure that their marketing dollars are being spent in an efficient and effective manner? Further, how do we understand which channels are working the hardest for us and are generating maximum ROI? The answer, my friends, is Multi-Touch Attribution.
Questions, Questions, & More Questions!
- I get a lot of traffic from my paid campaigns, but my online conversion rate is just so-so. Is it worth it?
- Are my social campaigns actually contributing to my final conversions?
- Our email program requires a lot of effort, what does it really get me?
In the digital world the consumer’s final purchase decision is rarely derived from just one source. Conversely, they were likely influenced by multiple touch points before actually converting, which has created a unique challenge for digital marketers. Simply put, accurate measurement and attribution across multiple channels is difficult; however, great strides have been made in understanding online consumer behaviour thanks to the “multi-channel funnel” tool in Google Analytics.
Do You Have Attribution Issues?
Before deciding on an attribution model, one must first understand the nature of the attribution issue that they are attempting to resolve. You will want to begin by digging into the customer journey itself. Is the purchase path straightforward or complex? Is it a lengthy sales cycle or an impulse buy? Is it an established product category or does it require customer education. Once you understand the customer journey, you can investigate your attribution situation with the following reports in Google Analytics:
Multi-Channel Funnel Overview
This report gives a quick overview of how different channels are interacting with one another leading to the final conversion. It shows the overlap between the channels and how much each channel is contributing to the total conversions. If there is little or no overlap between channels, there is less chance of having an attribution issue. If there is heavy overlap, the opposite is likely true.
Multi-Channel Funnel Time Lag
This report shows the time difference from the user’s first visit to the actual conversion. If you are seeing multiple days between the first engagement and the conversion, you probably have an attribution issue.
Multi-Channel Funnel Path Length
This report illustrates how many channels the user has interacted with before actually converting. A high amount of conversions associated with a high amount of channels is another indicator an attribution issue.
Ok, I Have Issues… Now What?
Different channels bring users to the website at different times in the conversion path. This is the reality. Thankfully, there are also a couple of reports available in Google Analytics that are helpful in understanding which channels are driving conversions and which ones are assisting in those conversions.
Top Conversion Paths
This report shows the pattern of visitor interactions with various digital channels and the number of conversions associated with each combination. This view is useful for understanding how particular channels support one another throughout the customer journey.
This report contrasts the channel that drove the final interaction before the conversion with the assisting digital channels in the journey. This will help in identifying channels that are being undervalued and also which channels are leading to the final conversion.
How to Attribute Value to Various Channels?
Once you know that you have an attribution issue and you understand the customer journey, you will need to develop an internal attribution methodology. Attribution models help businesses understand conversion paths and analyze marketing spends. There are five main models that can be used to assign value to each channel in relation to the conversion. Let’s discuss each of them:
First Interaction Model – This model attributes 100% of the conversion value to the first channel that the users interacts with. This model helps in identifying channels which brought users to the website for the very first time.
Last Interaction Model – This model attributes 100% of conversion value to the last channel that the user interacted with before the final conversion.
Linear Model – This model gives equal credit to each channel involved in the user journey until the final conversion.
Time Decay Model – Weighted value is given to each touch point, with the greatest sum going to the touch point closest in time to the sale or conversion.
Position based Model – This model attributes 40% credit to first and the last interacted channel, and the remaining 20% is distributed across the middle interactions evenly.
A “one size fits all” model does not exist. Instead, every organization must select the model that makes the most sense to their business and their products or services. Google Analytics uses “sampled data”, so it may not be 100% correct; however, it surely guides the marketer in the right direction and provides meaningful and actionable insights when used properly.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started with attribution today to gain a better understanding of your marketing channels to help you make better business decisions.