What Are Digital Attribution Models and How Do They Help?

What Are Digital Attribution Models and How Do They Help?

Every marketer understands the value of knowing which efforts produce the best results. But it’s challenging to nail that down and find those correlations. Attribution models provide a structure to assign credit to key marketing touchpoints giving you the ability to attribute customer conversions to specific marketing tactics or campaigns.

Simply put, digital attribution models help you make sense of your marketing campaigns and determine what is and isn’t successful.

Here’s what you need to know about digital attribution models when marketing for your company.

What Is Digital Attribution Modeling?

Digital attribution modeling tries to make sense of the complicated relationship potential clients have with your brand.

On the surface, this seems easy to do. If you run a simple coupon campaign, it should be easy to track the number of customers who come in and make a purchase with the coupon. However, things become more complicated with modern digital marketing. In modern digital marketing, you take an omnichannel approach where customers interact with your brand dozens of times before even considering a purchase. If you’re running multiple social media campaigns, a traditional advertising campaign, and a digital advertising campaign, how are you supposed to know which is effective and which isn’t?

All attribution models give credits to key customer touchpoints and highlight different aspects of the customer journey. Each model comes with strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to understand which attribution model will best meet your needs.

What Are the Different Attribution Models?

The most common attribution models are:

  • First Touch/Interaction Attribution – The interaction that is the first point of contact with a new customer gains 100% of the credit for a final sale in this model. The strength of the first touch model is that it helps identify how consumers become aware of your brand. However, it does not provide a full picture of the rest of the customer journey to help you know what is or isn’t effective later in the process.
  • Last Touch/Interaction Attribution – For this model, the final point of contact before the user makes a purchase earns 100% of the credit. The last touch attribution model provides a great snapshot of the final step in the customer’s journey, but like the first touch attribution model, it lacks the full picture. None of the foundational touchpoints that helped propel a consumer towards conversion are given any credit.
  • Evenly Weighted Attribution – In this model, each touchpoint involved in a customer’s journey is weighed equally. This model is powerful in helping you identify which marketing efforts contribute to conversions. However, the biggest downfall of this model is that it assumes all touchpoints are equally effective, which is rarely true.
  • Positioned Based Attribution – This model gives 40% credit to the customer’s first and last touchpoints. The remaining 20% is evenly distributed to the interactions between those points. This is a mix of first and last touchpoint models while also including the evenly weighted attribution model. This model can show the bigger picture but assumes the middle touchpoints are of less value than the first and last touchpoints.
  • Time Decay Attribution – In time decay attribution, the touchpoints closest to the point of the sale are attributed for the most amount of credit but share a decaying percentage with earlier touchpoints. This model recognizes that the final conversion would never happen without the earlier touchpoints and tries to give some attribution to those early steps. However, this model has a potential problem for clarity because the sequences involved might not accurately portray the importance and impact of some earlier touchpoints.

What Is the Best Attribution Model?

Each model is like a tool in your marketing tool belt. Just like you wouldn’t use a hammer to saw a piece of wood or a screwdriver as a level, no model is the best answer in all situations.

Each model brings its strengths and weaknesses. For example, if your marketing campaign is focused more on growing brand awareness, the first touch attribution model might be the best to use. It will show you which strategies are effective in getting consumers’ attention and introducing them to your brand.

For those initiatives where you’re trying to get a complete picture of the success of your entire campaign, the time decay model and even positioned-based attribution models are better options. They show more information about the whole customer journey.

It is better to have a larger model in most situations because consumers will interact multiple times with brands before they ever become customers. Each touchpoint is worth attention and deserves to be attributed some percentage of the success of a campaign with an attribution model that realizes the breadth and depth of the customer journey.

Find Out More

Attribution models are an essential part of any marketing or advertising campaign. Without them, you won’t be able to track the success of a campaign or know which parts are (or are not) effective.

When you need help with targeting the right audience as part of your next marketing campaign, Agility Digital can help. Find out how we can help you get the most of your marketing budget by making sure the right potential customer sees your ad in the right place at the right time. Read our case studies to see how we’ve succeeded in driving results for other brands, or contact us for more information about how we can help you with your next marketing campaign.

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