Blog Post

A Guide to Digital Marketing Attribution Models for 2021

September 8, 2020 - Liz Murphy

It’s important to think about how prospects enter your marketing funnel and what each of your tracked metrics imply. You want to avoid getting caught on vanity metrics and focus on finding those attribution models that help you understand what leads to conversion. What is sparking the highest ROI? Where should you focus your digital marketing spend?

Digital marketing attribution models help find the value of each channel and campaign and are a key strategic component of your digital marketing strategy

Digital Marketing Attribution Models for 2021

Not all touchpoints are the same. A customer might make a purchase decision and be prompted by a timely ad or email—not convinced and converted. Loyal customers shouldn’t be conflated with newly converted leads. People who finally reach the purchase decision and type your company name into the URL address bar (or do a direct Google search), shouldn’t be counted as converted from organic search.

The cumulation of a customer’s traffic has to be accounted for and not just the last touchpoint.

First Touch Attribution Model

This digital marketing attribution model puts all of the focus on the point where the customer had their very first experience with your brand. It is one of the more simplified models, but it is only helpful if your company usually has visitors with very fast journeys. This would only give top-of-funnel vision and ignores the stepping stones in-between. However, it can help you identify channels that are drawing in the most qualified and interested leads, so it plays a valuable role if used correctly.

Last Touch Attribution Model

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some brands will look at the last touchpoint of their customer. This is a popular digital marketing attribution model because it highlights that last stepping stone that sealed the deal. But, as we already stated above, sometimes that last stepping stone is a reminder and not a true point of conversion. While this model will fall short on showing the full picture in many cases, it can be used in a time pinch to show conversion points.

Even-Weighted Attribution Model

When you make the effort to consider all touchpoints on the customer journey, it becomes a sophisticated, but realistic, digital marketing attribution model. The even-weighted (or linear) attribution model provides a much more detailed and accurate view of the conversion process than a one-touch model. It gets the larger picture of the journey, but it does fall short on considering the value (or weight) of each touchpoint. Some experiences are going to have more impact than others on your customer.

Unique-Weight Attribution Model

You can use time-decay models, W-shaped models, U-shaped models—there are a number of themes for weighted attribution. But the unique weights you apply to different points where it’s likely there was a larger impact. You might assign a heavier load to first touch and lead creation (U-shaped model) or you might add the touchpoint of opportunity creation as evenly split with first touch and lead creation (W-shaped model). Narrowing down your key touchpoints and assigning weights requires real-world experience.

Machine-Learning Attribution Models

Algorithm-based attribution models are by far the most powerful, accurate and labor-lite of the digital marketing attribution models. This sophisticated method looks at patterns to determine common touchpoints and help optimize advertising spend. Of course, you have to have an advanced skill set and cover the hefty price tag of the AI. This is often a top solution for enterprises with larger data sets to cull and bigger budgets for digital marketing but is often out of reach for mid and small-sized businesses.

Find Expert Digital Marketing Attribution Model Strategists

Stop flying blind. You can get help from experts who will help you establish the right digital marketing attribution model for you and adjust your marketing spend. Digilant brings effective digital marketing solutions to agencies and brands. We operate as an innovative and omnichannel media solutions provider. Here at Digilant, we don’t operate on hunches. We rely on consumer insights, campaign performance benchmarks, and data-driven strategy.

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