Imagine that your email marketing team currently gets all of the high fives. Why? It appears that the most conversions come from email. Last clicks are mostly email clicks. But upon further examination with a more sophisticated tool, it appears that your attribution data actually shows that paid media, content marketing, and organic search efforts heavily contributed toward these last clicks. Yet, your VP of Marketing was just about to funnel more money into email and less into these other efforts that seemed unproductive.

Luckily, marketers are more often avoiding this problem with an increasing ability to accurately and granularly attribute credit to various marketing channels. But despite large amounts of attribution data at our disposal, we’re still learning how to attribute properly and sensibly.

So how do you figure out what attribution model works best for your organization? Here are a few tips.

1. Understand your business.

Your business will dictate how you think about attribution. A few aspects include:

  • Purchasing lifecycle: What do customers and prospects do at various stages of the buying lifecycle? How long does each step take?
  • B2B or B2C: B2C may involve quicker purchasing lifecycles and higher volumes of transactions while B2B may contain longer purchasing lifecycles that require more hands-on involvement to complete a sale.
  • Impulse or non-impulse buying: For example, purchasing a can of soda works differently than purchasing a new bedroom set.
  • Complexity of purchase: The complexity of obtaining a home loan or buying a computer affects the purchasing lifecycle and number of touchpoints—which affects attribution.

2. Look at how many channels you actually use.

An organization primarily relying on one or two channels for all of their conversions may not need to worry about complex attribution models. However, an organization using many channels should take complex attribution models seriously in order to help figure out which marketing channel investments pay off the most.

3. Look holistically at your overall marketing efforts.

Even with the most complex tools at your disposal, attribution fails when your marketing lacks a holistic view. Signs of fragmented attribution tracking include different parties claiming credit for a conversion, continual arguments about attribution, or one channel always getting the credit when multiple marketing channels seem to support your efforts.

4. Use information you can act upon.

Ultimately, attribution modeling is useless unless you can act upon the information. If you decide to set up a more complex attribution modeling system, then it needs to answer:

  • Which marketing channels work best?
  • Where do I need to invest my marketing dollars?
  • What marketing channels don’t work as well?

So, while I often say “it depends” when people ask me about attribution modeling, these are the key factors that go through my mind when I assess how an organization may view their own efforts. By following these tips, you properly attribute credit to the right marketing channels that contribute to meeting your business goals and impacting your bottom line.