What does your small business know about assessing attribution? The answer, hopefully, is that you’re fairly well versed in it. Attribution allows you to assign credit to the different marketing touches that influenced your customers to complete a conversion action—such as product purchases, demo requests, and content downloads. Once you know how you’re influencing your customers, you can create more impactful ads and optimize your marketing budget.

Regardless of the size of your business, the road to assessing attribution is best accomplished by using a wide variety of resources. In this post, we’ll delve into the basics of how campaign measurement can save you money and drive more sales.

Determine the attribution model that works best for your business

Assessing attribution can be done through a wide variety of strategies and models. Before choosing the model that works best for you, it’s important to consider your marketing goals and competitive environment. Here’s a look at some of the most common ones:

  • First-click attribution: Where all credit is given to the first marketing channel encountered during the path to conversion—such as a search engine like Google.
  • Last-click attribution: Where all credit is given to the last marketing channel touched by the user before conversion. We will discuss this one in-depth below.
  • Linear attribution: Credit is equally distributed to each marketing touchpoint the user encounters.
  • Position-based attribution: The first and last touchpoints each get 40% of the credit and the remaining 20% is given to all remaining touchpoints.
  • Algorithmic attribution: Credit is assigned to effective touchpoints and optimized with the help of statistical modeling.

Optimize your attribution with analytics

The best way to improve the effectiveness of your marketing attribution is to pair it with data-backed analytics. As this Think with Google piece explains, attribution and analytics are a dynamic duo that help you better understand your customers’ experience across all engagement points. Data will help you strengthen your campaigns by giving you clear insights to the performance metrics of the ads that convince your users to convert. Using both together will enable you to learn how to optimize how your user comes in contact with your brand—ensuring you reach customers in the right place at the right time.

Many brands are already utilizing analytics to gain a deeper understanding of which marketing efforts are actually working. Before beginning, it’s important for those who are not currently using attribution to first ask the following questions:

  1. Am I taking into account all of my marketing touchpoints, or just the last / first one?
  2. Will attribution help my marketing department spend their dollars on the campaigns most effective at driving results?
  3. Does my team have the expertise needed for attribution or should we consider looking into a third-party vendor?
  4. Am I duplicating my efforts by getting attribution insights from multiple different solutions?

Answering these questions will help you better understand the baseline you need to kick off from when it comes to attribution.

Rely on cookies to feed your attribution efforts

Cookies are a great way to track the actions of your customers. Essentially, when a visitor comes to your website, a tracking cookie, or pixel, is placed on their browser. These cookies allow you to track where that user goes online once they leave your site (including social media and mobile). This cookie helps you serve ads to users as they move through the consideration cycle. Once a customer converts, you can use your cookie data to see the trail they took to go from visitor to buyer.

In the past, most businesses used a last-click attribution model, which only gave credit to the last marketing channel that a visitor touched before converting. For example, let’s imagine that someone Googled a question. From the search, they clicked to a blog post, followed by downloading an e-book, and finally buying a product or service. In a last-click attribution model, the e-book would get all the credit.

Luckily, businesses are moving away from this model because last-click attribution doesn’t tell the full story about the relationship that customers have had with your advertising. Instead, it’s necessary to take into account things like third-party referral sources, retargeting partners, and other marketing efforts as they influence customers’ actions.

For businesses with enough data (and yours should have plenty of it), attribution is a very necessary component to understanding the impact of your ads, effectively managing your marketing budget, and proving the ROI of your business. No attribution model is perfect, but if you take time to optimize your attribution model over time, the benefits are definitely worth it.


Next Steps

If you’d like to see where other organizations stand on attribution, be sure to check out our State of Marketing Attribution Report. We surveyed over 900 marketers from both brands and agencies to find out where they stand on with their attribution models and strategies. Get the free report below.











Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.