What No One Ever Told You About Attribution

What No One Ever Told You About Attribution

Attribution models have essential qualities for evaluating the performance of a marketing strategy. Nevertheless, the main analysis platforms tend to favor the models that are favorable to them. Discover here the advantages and disadvantages of several attribution models, and some tips to succeed in optimizing your attribution strategy.

Andrea Petit Tinyclues

Senior Customer Success Manager

Time to read7 min read
December 2, 2020

Friday 10AM.

Monthly meeting with the CSM team.

How much revenue did the campaign on neon t-shirts from last Sunday generate?

What was our best performing campaign last month?

How much does CRM contribute to the global turnover?

If you work in digital marketing or CRM, you’ve probably already heard some of these questions.

And you therefore know how hard they are to answer.

For this, you need complex attribution models, which will help you identify which channel generated what revenue.

But it’s not all that simple.

The path to a precise answer is winding.

Don’t worry, I’ll help you clear things up.

Some clarification on attribution

You certainly spend a significant portion of your budget on the promotion of your products or services.

In a time where you need to justify how each and every cent has been invested, how do you know if your spending has been profitable?

While the marketing teams of yesterday tended to focus solely on email opens, clicks and campaign reading time, today’s marketing must prove that its actions have a financial impact on the company’s results. 

How can I, as a marketer, value my actions and the impact of my CRM?

Faced with these questions, attribution models try and determine the path your clients take to their final purchase decision.

Who really benefits from attribution models?

An attribution model is “a system that assigns a value to any given sales or marketing goal or touchpoint in the buying process.”

Historically, an attribution model is a measuring tool created by acquisition teams of bigger companies. It helps them measure the ROI of their actions and evaluate the contribution of different channels, and thus distribute their budget accordingly.

Attribution models are therefore a set of tools conceived by acquisition services, that mechanically emphasize the acquisition channels favored by these same acquisition teams.

The snake bites its own tail 🐍

One might be surprised to learn how similar the methods are, often across the entire company, with one method favored over others. 

See if Facebook is willing to evaluate the sales generated by its ads, without accounting for other communication channels.

Not sure either?

Look at the retargeting stats on retargeting platforms.

Or take a look at Google Analytics to “judge” your different channels, compared to Google Ads. 

Yes: by default, attribution models are made to favor the platforms that sold their ads to you.

Often attached to e-commerce or digital marketing, CRM has an important role to play in creating value for companies.

But who contributes to what? Yet another complex question, which depends on many factors.

And indeed, accurately tracing back the origin of a decision always involves a bit of chance. 

Different attribution models

There’s plenty of them—but I will show you those that are used the most for analyzing email campaigns.

And don’t forget: a 100% accurate and effective attribution model doesn’t exist. 

Last Email Click

Unlike a Last Click model where every lever is taken into account (including acquisition), Last Email Click attributes the conversion to the last email that was clicked.

Nevertheless, this model is restrictive and adds little value to your actions. 

Sales will only be attributed to a single event in a succession of events.

What’s more, an email open will not be accounted for—only a click will.

However, we know that every signal shared with your clients progressively contributes to strengthening their purchase decision.

Last Email Click Attribution Model

Post Open

There is also the Post Email Open model.

This model is more rewarding and attributes the conversion to every email opened.

This model, however, does not allow you to count the total number of sales of your company.

But it does give you a precise view of how each email contributed to your strategy.

This view favors online sales, as well as retail sales (if your analysis is made on a wider timeframe, 15 days for instance).

You could also use a Post Sent or a Post Email Click view, to get to similar results.

Post Open Attribution Model

What about the other models?

Other standard models exist, like the Linear model, the First Click, the Indirect Last Click…

You might know them, but they are seldom used by CRM teams, and I don’t think it’s worth detailing them here.

So, how do you optimize your marketing?

There are many attribution models used by companies to analyze the different actions carried out during the customer journey. And the choice is not always simple.

As I explained above, there is no absolute truth or exact answer regarding these attribution models. Each of them has pros and cons. What matters is to determine the most effective measure that will best meet your own CRM challenges. 

Above all, keep in mind that each platform logically tends to favor the allocation model that best values their service.

For example, Google Analytics or Facebook will tend to push models attaching attribution to the ads they sell you.

Here’s my advice: 

Combine several models, as not to restrict or overestimate your actions. This will show the value of your CRM and its contribution to your company’s overall turnover. 

Your attribution strategy will therefore allow you to make informed decisions that are best suited to the reality of your business strategy.

And don’t forget: you’ll find several attribution models in your Tinyclues dashboard, all of which support email as a primary conversion channel, highlighting the benefits of your CRM strategies.

You might also like