Customers may encounter many different marketing touchpoints before they ever take action on your website – a social media post, a display ad, a radio or TV commercial. Unfortunately, marketers oftentimes credit only the marketing channels that drove the visit that resulted in a sale or a lead. Called ‘last-click attribution’, this analytics methodology ignores the fact that other marketing channels may have assisted in the conversion.
With the newer attribution models, marketers are looking at the bigger picture of the customer journey, taking into consideration all the marketing touchpoints that are influencing a conversion. As a result, they are making better decisions about channel and budget allocation.
The Problem with Last-Click Attribution
If a marketer sees that most conversions are coming from a PPC campaign, he or she is apt to funnel money toward Adwords and Bing Ads. If a display campaign runs through a programmatic campaign is underperforming from a cost-per-conversion standpoint, the temptation will be to reduce the spend or stop the campaign all together.
But shutting down one channel can negatively impact other channels. Stopping display may have a negative impact on PPC. Why? Because your display ads may have influenced your prospects earlier in their customer journey, increasing the likelihood that they would convert through PPC when they were ready to take action. And that is the problem with last-click attribution. This relationship between your display campaigns and your PPC campaigns is not considered or even measurable with last-click attribution. By switching off display, the marketer may very well be undermining the success of PPC.
A Better Attribution Model
When digital marketing is done properly, all channels – display, PPC, remarketing, SEO, social media marketing, email and content marketing – work together to usher prospects through the customer journey. Moving beyond last-click attribution allows you to foster and optimize the interplay between your digital channels. Looking at all the touchpoints in the consumer journey, not just the ‘last click’, will give you the insight you need to make smart decisions and chart a more predictable course towards success.
As is the case with any sophisticated marketing practice, you need the right technology and the right people. Tools like Google Analytics offer a set of attribution models that can be leveraged. But these models have been around for some time now, and outside the ecommerce world, we rarely encounter businesses that take advantage of them – or even understand them. Enter the ‘right people’. You need organizational support and commitment. And you need the smart marketing minds to make the most of the broad new understanding you get when you move beyond last-click attribution.