Digital Marketing Attribution: Engineering Success Across Channels

Anyone that is in digital marketing today understands the challenge of measuring performance across attribution. Especially if you are in the B2B market, how often have you seen a prospective client not be diligent in qualifying you as a partner? I would wager not very often. Anyone can and usually will revisit your site multiple times before making a purchasing decision working through various channels (Organic, Paid Search, Display, Retargeting, Affiliate, Social, E-mail), through multiple devices (Desktop, Laptops, Smart Phones, Tablets). What ultimately influenced them to purchase, or just as importantly, to not purchase?

There are many things to consider when reviewing a marketing strategy, all of which should consider the effects of multi-touch and multi-device attribution.

What channels have historically performed best for your product/service?
What kind of baseline data do you have to build off of? Most organizations use tools such as Google Analytics and SalesForce in order to analyze everything from incoming traffic, through to lead conversions, e-commerce sales and finally won/lost sales opportunities. Traffic analytics and sales CRM solutions are key to tracking touches both leading up to and after the point of purchase.

When you investigate the marketing channels you have employed, what drove results?
While utilizing Google Analytics a business can track everything from where traffic originates, to what campaigns and channels drove them to convert and/or purchase.  Setting up Google Analytics correctly and utilizing UTM variables are key to not only optimizing performance, but also building on successes and minimizing failures.

Does your marketing strategy maintain balance between “First Touch” and “Last Touch”?
Assuming you employ most, if not all of the available channels, typically First Touch will be driven by channels that are focused around brand awareness like: Display, Organic, and Social. Last Touch can be driven by the following channels after a prospective customer/client has been exposed to your brand: Affiliate, Paid Search, E-mail and Retargeting.

Do you utilize advanced reporting in Google Analytics to get insight into traffic behavior?
There are so many reports and options in Google Analytics that is can be overwhelming. Everything below is assuming that a business has goals set-up properly to track conversions (form submissions, chat completions, phone calls) and transactions (e-commerce sales) while also employing UTM variable tracking. It is essential to maximize the granular reporting capabilities of Google Analytics to maximize ROI. Some Questions to pose regarding campaign tracking and optimization via Google Analytics:

  • Do you use custom reporting with RegEx?
  • Do you review the reports under Acquisition (Overview and Channels) to get insight into how marketing channels perform independently? These are NEW and should be explored.
  • Do you review the reports under Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels (Assisted Conversions and Top Conversion Paths) to get insight into how traffic converts most effectively across channels?
  • Do you track at what point people abandon your purchasing funnel by using Conversions > Goals (Funnel Visualization) to see what flaws there are in your ordering process or pricing model?

Consider building a marketing strategy across attribution akin to building a house. Your baseline of historical data is the foundation, each of the marketing channels are parts of the framing (interconnected), which support the core business - or the roof. None of which properly supports or holds the weight of the business, if the whole is not engineered correctly. What are you doing to “engineer” your marketing efforts? How do you track and optimize your marketing performance across attribution? What has worked and what has not?