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Data building blocks: Marketing attribution

Data building blocks: Marketing attribution

One piece of the marketing data puzzle

Marketing attribution is a term that has become increasingly popular in the digital marketing world over the last several decades. It refers to the process of identifying the channels and touchpoints that contribute to a customer’s decision to make a purchase. As marketing channels proliferate and ad networks balloon, attribution has become increasingly complicated and, at times, controversial. But in today’s world, getting attribution right is a critical building block in enabling a broader view of marketing ROI.

The rise of digital marketing has made it possible to track customers’ journeys across multiple touchpoints. This means that marketers can now see which channels are driving the most traffic, which campaigns are converting the most customers, and which messages are resonating with their target audience.

Marketing attribution provides data and insights that can help businesses optimize their marketing campaigns and increase their return on investment (ROI). By identifying the channels that are most effective at driving sales, businesses can focus their efforts and resources on those channels, and adjust their campaigns to improve results. 

There are various models used for marketing attribution, including first-touch, last-touch, and multi-touch attribution. First-touch attribution gives credit to the channel that first introduced the customer to the brand. Last-touch attribution, on the other hand, gives credit to the channel that the customer interacted with immediately before making a purchase. Multi-touch attribution takes into account all the touchpoints along the customer journey and gives credit to each channel based on its contribution to the final sale.

While these models are useful, they don’t tell the whole story. In reality, customers are influenced by a multitude of factors beyond just the marketing channels they interact with. For example, a customer might have seen a TV commercial for a product, but ultimately made a purchase based on a recommendation from a friend or family member.

To get a more accurate picture of marketing attribution, businesses need to take a holistic approach. They need to look beyond the marketing channels and consider all the touchpoints that can influence a customer’s decision to buy. This might include customer reviews, social media mentions, word-of-mouth recommendations, and even offline interactions like in-store visits or phone calls.

By taking a holistic approach, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ journeys and make more informed decisions about their marketing strategies. They can identify the channels and touchpoints that are most effective at driving sales, and optimize their campaigns to improve results.

That’s why market mix modelling exists – it helps marketers to take their attribution data and combine it with other data (like macro economic factors for example) and unravel which channels are contributing (and how much) to ROI. So whilst marketing attribution is a critical part of any successful marketing strategy, getting attribution right is only one piece of the puzzle on the journey towards understanding the value delivered by marketing to a business.