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What is Multi-Channel Attribution?

Mar 2, 2020
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Multi-channel attribution helps marketers and business owners know which channels are impacting conversions. But in order to get actionable insight with your data, you need to first understand how it works and decide which model you are going to use. In the video below, we break it down for you.

 

Video Transcript: 

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Like I said in the intro, we're going to be talking about multi-channel attribution. This is a must for marketers who want to know which touches or really which channels and in which sequence are providing you the best results.

Why is the answer to this question important? Well, it's really important to understand how our leads became leads and what the process was and which channels influenced them.  According to Salesforce, it takes about 6 to 8  touches to generate a viable sales lead. So more than one channel working together to make sure that your prospects are moving through the funnel.

This article is five years old, but it's still very important. I think it still has a lot to say for us today. And this quote, I just wanted to pull out and then read because I think it was at the heart of what we're looking at.

"The 6 to 8 touches it takes to qualify a lead are crucial components of the lead nurturing process, allowing marketing the opportunity to educate and inform prospects as they move through each stage in the buyer journey. These touch points are opportunities to prepare these for the final stage in the buyers journey. The point of decision making. The better the experience and the more value each of these touch points are to the leads, the more ready they'll be to make a buying decision, the more likely they are to convert to paying customers."

What this is saying is that at each stage and each touch we are given an opportunity to educate as marketers and walk our leads or walk our opportunities through their buying journey, and making sure that they have all the information they need to make an informed decision.

As marketers and business owners, wouldn't it be nice to know which channels are leading towards the sale? This is where multi-channel attribution comes in. It's a method for marketing measurement that evaluates the impact of each channel in driving a conversion. And this allows us to determine the value of each specific channel. I recently did a video on which channel is the best ROI and at the end of that video it comes down to it depends. It depends on what your goals are and depends on how you're moving people through the funnel. And this is how you can define which one has that. This is where multi-channel attribution is extremely valuable.

Here are the three core benefits. One, it allows you to know which channels to invest in. Two, it helps you understand how users are engaging with your brand. And three, it helps you optimize your digital funnel. It allows you to do these three things in a way that saves you time, it saves you money, and should end up producing much better and higher qualified leads. There's a number of different attribution models that we can leverage in order to give us these results. And we're going to walk through each one of these. Some of the most well known ones, really the ones that are commonly used across the industry. The first one is first touch attribution.

This model gives the full sales credit to the first marketing touch point or the interaction before the conversion. So if they came in through organic search, and then they converted as a lead, organic would get all the credit. A lot of businesses I work with choose this model where they want to see which was that first source that led to a conversion.

The opposite of that is last touch attribution. And this is actually what Google Analytics has set up by default. And this model gives the full credit or the full sales credit to the last marketing touch point. So maybe they came to your site organic and then maybe they came back again later on through social media. And then finally, maybe they clicked on an ad and that ad drove them to conversion. Well now, the ad would get full credit for that sale.

Linear attribution is where we evenly distribute each channel and we give credit all across the board, the same amount of credit all through the journey, no matter which channel was the one with conversion. So some credit would go to organics, some credit would go to social, and some credit would go to ads in the example I gave before. I break it down evenly. It's evenly distributed. The position based model is a model where it gives 40% of each conversion to the first and the last touch point. And then the other 20% is divided by the additional touch points in between. This model creates a U, where the first touch and the last are going to get the most priority, but then we'll also divide some of that to the touch points in between.

Time decay model. This model gives credit more to the touch points as they move closer towards conversion. So again, if we talked about organic, would be at the beginning, would only get a little bit. If they came back through social, social would have more of a play. IF they came back through direct, that a little bit more. And then let's say ads was the final one, that would get the most credit in this specific model here.

So how do we choose the right model for our business? As we talked about, you have a couple of different options, a couple of different choices and you can run tests on these to see which ones make the most sense for you. As we talked about, last touch is actually the default in Google Analytics for your conversions, your goals, your e-commerce. It's also the default in Google ads if you're using it there. Now this is the most conservative strategy and it's going to give all the credit on the last channel engaged. On the opposite of that would be more growth oriented. So this'll be focusing on generating the most amount of companies who are looking at varied growth models or want to just get a number of people in the pipeline. First touch might be the one for you and this gives all the credit to that first channel, so you would invest in that channel that's going to drive the most amounts, the massive amount of people to your site.

Linear is going to distribute it like we talked about equally across the channels. This would be more of a moderate approach. Another conservative approach, little bit less conservative than last touch would be time decay where you're giving more of the credit towards the person closest to the conversion. And then an average growth oriented would be positioned based, where you're giving 40% to both the first and the last channel and the remaining 20% spread out across.

In a future video, I'm going to put together a demo of how to set this up in your Google analytics. But right now it's important for us to understand what multi-channel is and how we can begin to leverage it to make sure each of our channels are performing the way we want them to in our marketing campaign. And we can rework our investments to get the best results for our business. You have any questions about what we talked about today, please comment below and until next time, Happy Marketing.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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