Marketing Attribution: What it Is and Why Does it Matter?

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In the ever-growing world of digital marketing, new trends are constantly emerging. There’s always new ways to track data, new ways to analyze it, and new ways to find the best ways to reach your users. This can lead to a dizzying amount of information to take in, and it can be difficult for marketers and businesses to keep track of what’s worth the time and investment. 

One way to keep track of what’s working and what isn’t is through marketing attribution. Using different tools and reports, marketing attribution can give you a clearer picture of what your users are positively responding to, allowing you to trim the fat and streamline your online experience and marketing tactics. But how does attribution work and what are the benefits? What are the downsides? In this Backtracks blog, we’ll break it down for you.

What is Marketing Attribution?

In the simplest terms, marketing attribution is deceptively easy to understand. In short, attribution is a methodology that shows you what marketing channels are leading to conversions and other success metrics. 

Of course, as with anything in marketing, things are never that simple. There are various attribution models to consider. Properly evaluating the data you receive from those models is just as important. Marketing attribution’s main goal is to show you the path your customers take through the marketing funnel, how those steps in the process affected their decision to convert, and potentially where in the process they may be getting held up.

With marketing attribution, you can take a look into the minutiae of your marketing campaigns and find out what’s most important to the consumer. Maybe you’d see that a certain blog is getting a lot of visitors organically, but what’s converting them is the promotion popup they get when they first click through to the site. This shows you exactly where you’re getting the most conversions.

Benefits of Marketing Attribution

The previous example is just a general idea of what you can do and find out with marketing attribution, but what are the exact benefits of using this method of analysis.

Increasing Your Return on Investment

Perhaps the most obvious benefit, and the reason any marketer would pursue a new method of analysis, is that your marketing efforts will produce a higher return on investment. With successful attribution modeling, you’ll be able to see which touchpoints on the customer journey are the most effective, which are leading to more engagement, and which are leading to more sales and conversions. This allows you to focus on and refine these touchpoints to best match what your customer wants to see. On your end, it leads to less guesswork and more successful marketing campaigns.

Better User Experience

Not only will you be improving your ROI and marketing funnels, you’ll also be making things better for your users. With marketing attribution, you should also be able to see what channels and touchpoints are causing customers to drop out of the customer journey. This allows you to recognize what turns customers off and eliminate those negative touchpoints for them.

Potential Downsides of Attribution

Of course, attribution won’t always be perfect. There are a few ways that it can be misused, leading to less than ideal results. The biggest downside of attribution models is that it can sometimes be hard to analyze every factor in the customer’s decision to convert, and you might make a wrong assumption or misassign a correlation because of the data, when no correlation was there to begin with. For example, you might see a ton more conversions for a product with a lower cost or different color fabric than another. Attribution modeling doesn’t account for the correlation between customers naturally buying a lower cost model or popular color, that’s up to the individual doing the analysis. 

Now, obviously it’s easy to say that more people are buying a lower cost item than a higher cost item, but the correlations aren’t always that straightforward. It takes careful analysis of attribution reports to correctly identify the relationship between touchpoints and conversions. Still, with that being said, attribution models allow you to have that data to interpret in the first place, making them an overall useful tool once you find the right model for your business.

Attribution Models: Single and Multi-Touchpoint

Speaking of attribution models, there are a wide variety of models you can implement. Which one is right for you depends on your business. Two of the most commonly used models are single touchpoint and multi-touchpoint. Let’s take a look at these:

Single Touchpoint Attribution

Single touchpoint gives the most credit to the first or last click of the customer journey. In first click, the attribution credit is given to the first activity they go through in the funnel, like clicking on an email campaign. Last click is the bottom of the funnel, where the credit is given to the final click a customer makes before making the conversion.

Multi-Touchpoint Attribution

Multi-touchpoint models divide up the credit for different touchpoints in the journey. In a linear model, every touchpoint is given equal credit, while some models give more credit to first and final touchpoints. Other models that use multi-touchpoint attribution include u-shaped and time decay. All of these models assign different percentages to different parts of the customer journey, but their commonality is they all use multiple touchpoints, thus the name. Multi-touchpoint is great for businesses who also consider impressions a success metric in their marketing efforts.

How Does Marketing Attribution Relate to Podcasts?

So now that we have a better idea of what exactly marketing attribution is and how it works, you might be wondering how this works with podcasting. You are on the Backtracks blog after all. When done right, marketing attribution can fit quite neatly into the podcast world. For publishers, you can see what streaming platforms people are downloading your podcast the most from, allowing you to get a better picture of your customer base. But attribution can be even more important for advertisers. Are your podcast advertising efforts going unnoticed or are they making significant contributions to your sales and conversion rates? With marketing attribution and podcasts, there are two common and simple ways to see if your conversions are originating from your podcast ads. They are:

Promo Codes

With a promo code that you specifically give to the podcast publisher, and only them, you can see how many people have been utilizing that promo code, giving you a good idea of how many of your conversions are related to that touchpoint.

Special URLS

Similarly, having a specific URL that is read by the podcast host is another great way to use attribution in podcasts. 

As marketing attribution evolves, it evolves for every industry it affects. This is especially true for podcast attribution, since more and more companies are seeing the tremendous reach podcasts have and how effective they are at reaching specific niche audiences.

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