Whom do you ‘Attribute’ your sales to?

We started off with this blog some 20 days back, and have reached more than 1500 views till now (Trust us, we are not bragging here, but trying to put forward a point).

Now WordPress allows us to track our views but gives us very few details as to where our users have come from. Whether they have come to our site from LinkedIn, or from the WordPress Reader, or from mail clicks – we get only a bit of detail. 

But as bloggers, we exactly want to know from where each of our site visitor is coming. We have applied multiple channels of marketing our blog, and have used numerous areas to promote it; WordPress Reader, LinkedIn, emails, broadcast messages. But what we want to know is from which channel are they exactly coming from. And which channel gives us the best and the most number of visitors. In short, we need to ‘attribute’ our visitors to something.

Why? Because once we know it, that is where we’ll be putting in our maximum efforts to increase our site visibility. 

You get something?

Now put this in a pure business perspective, and think about the customer journey, the sales cycle, and the customer buying process. Businesses use multiple channels and have various customer touchpoints where they hope to garner new customers & leads. They HAVE to get that channel from where they are getting their maximum sales. To understand in simpler terms, think that they have to create an Excel sheet, list out all their conversions, and they need to have a separate column named as “Attributed To” where they write down the channel where that lead came from. This is where marketing attribution comes in.

Take the word “attribute”. It simply means ‘regard something as being caused by’. So, businesses just have to complete the sentence “The sale of my product XYZ has been attributed to the ____________ channel.” They have to fill in that blank, and that is known as marketing attribution.

Now, in reality, finding that one channel which leads to your maximum sales or ROI is a tad bit difficult. You know the business, right? It doesn’t just rest itself on a single purchase point. It can have its social ads click, email click or anything. It has the first contact your customer had with your product or just the final nail after which the purchase was made. 

It can be anything. But to gather all this, you need data. A whole lot of consumer data. Right from when they developed product interest, included minute data from all those touchpoints which you have thrown upon them, and their behavioural data, to the point when they make a purchase. You need EVERYTHING. 

To get this, there are various models defined with the help of which we can get that “one single channel whom to attribute the sale”. This brings me to attribution modelling

Attribution models offer a personalized user-level statistical analysis of all the various touchpoints, channels, and processes regarding your company which the customer has come across. These models make our task much easier as there are a whole lot of complex operations involved in making a customer buy your product. 

They are generally categorized into single-touch or multi-touch attribution model. 

Single-touch models: These assign all the credit of conversion to a single touchpoint in the whole customer journey or the buying process, be it the first or the last, rather than looking at other areas of the purchase and other channels. Easier to implement, however, fails to look at other aspects. Types:

A sample sales cycle, with the two types of single-touch attribution models

Multi-touch models: Here, each channel or a point in the journey, which may have been involved with the customer is taken into consideration & given due credit for the final conversion. They may be simple CTA containing ads, or a social media interaction of the customer with the product. Complex & difficult to implement. This has been further divided into various models. 

A sample sales cycle, with the different multi-touch attribution models

Apart from the ones above, multi-touch models also include:

  • Linear: Gives equal weight & credit to each step in the process.
  • Time Decay: The duration of the sales cycle or the buying process varies, hence this model gives credit to more recent touchpoints or those which are closer to the purchase.

These models help in acquiring the most accurate of all data to decide on our further course of action. Also, when it’s time for you to decide on an attribution model, do consider the length and duration of your sales cycle, while also giving a thought about your advertising methods based on your business type. The data which you get from these models can be spread out across different departments within your business, based on whether they have some connection to sales or not.

Now let me come to the benefits it provides.

Your marketing spends can be optimized. You can improve the personalization of your channels, probably a more targeted & specific campaign, or anything. You can reach the right & the most suitable customer. Thus, chances of an increased conversion & higher ROI (for this is what we do all this, right?) Above all, having attribute data lets you on deeper insights about what your customers want, and you can get back to them with the new features through updates. Attribution is becoming a much-needed affair in marketing. And when it comes to modelling, there is another form known as marketing mix modelling. We’ll be covering that in later articles. Till then, do a bit of research and happy learning!

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