Attribution basics

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What is marketing attribution?

At Odyssey, our definition of marketing attribution is:

“Marketing Attribution is the process of analysing your data in order to give credit to the touchpoints in a customer journey, enabling you to identify the incremental performance of every traffic source based on its role in the customer journey. This analysis should result in actionable insights that help you to spend your marketing budget as efficiently as possible.”

Why Marketing Attribution is needed

Marketing Attribution has been a complex issue for as long as digital marketing has been around. Ever since marketers are using ads and sponsorships to influence people, questions about the performance of the different media activities are asked.

At this moment, the industry’s standard is last-click attribution. Meaning only the last click in the customer journey is being credited. In Google Analytics, the standard attribution model is last non-direct click.

Both of these attribution models are commonly known and used, but they are also both single-touch attribution models. With multi-touch attribution, every touchpoint in the customer journey is being credited.

The big advantage of multi-touch attribution over single-touch attribution is that both touchpoints that are initiating customer journeys (TOFU) and touchpoints that are closing journeys (BOFU) can be credited for their added value. Every touchpoint in the customer journey is being credited for its performance in the customer journey.

Click here to read an article our co-founder and CEO Jelle Oskam wrote on how a customer journey is similar to a football team.

The goal of marketing attribution

The goal of applying marketing attribution is simply to get a better view of the performance of the different marketing channels.

Applying marketing attribution makes marketers understand the path to conversion and the role of the different attribution models in that journey.

Thanks to these additional insights into the full customer journey, companies can optimise the marketing campaigns and ad spend distribution over different marketing channels and look at their marketing spend holistically instead of in siloes.

An example

In order to understand marketing attribution. We are using an example of one single customer journey. Below you can find an example:

An example of a customer journey

In the example above you see an example customer journey for the purchase of a pair of new sneakers. This customer journey consists of five touchpoints before the customer purchases the product.

When applying last-click attribution, only the last click (Affiliate in this case) is being rewarded for the purchase of the new sneakers.

An example of a customer journey

So let’s take a look at the same customer journey with a multi-touch attribution model. When applying multi-touch attribution we are crediting all of the touchpoints for their value in the customer journey.

The way that’s being done is based on the selected attribution model. In this example we are looking at a first click linear attribution model, meaning that the first click will be rewarded most, and the added value of the other channels is being reduced linearly, depending on the position of the touchpoint.

An example of a customer journey

As you can see, all touchpoints are being rewarded, but the credit each touchpoint receives depends on the position. This way, we get a far more ‘fair’ image of the performance of the different touchpoints in the customer journey.

Conclusion

When determining the added value of your marketing activities, you are missing the complete picture when just using a single-touch attribution model.

In order to truly understand the added value different touchpoints bring, in different phases of the customer journey, applying a multi-touch attribution model is essential.