Don’t Get Lost in the Attribution Hole

Conversion Rate Optimisation
Digital Marketing
Paid Media
Performance Marketing

Don’t Get Lost in the Attribution Hole

We have been asked numerous times over the years by clients to look at their attribution data, with the view of coming up with

1) some meaningful data insights

2) a killer strategy that will transform the clients marketing approach and revenue performance

Every time we have tried, we ended up in the same position. The overwhelming feeling of confusion and a lack of direction. But there is a simplistic light at the end of the tunnel.

Let’s get back to basics, what on earth is attribution:

What is Attribution?

Attribution was a method for showing what paths a customer takes before completing a goal or transaction on a website. Imagine you are looking for a fancy new toaster.

Then imagine your online behavior was as follows:

1. You Google search for : toaster sale
2. You click on a Google paid search advert for and visit the website to check out their toasters
3. You get distracted
4. The next day you receive an email from and see a toaster sale promotion
5. You visit the site by clicking on the link in the email and select a toaster that you would like to buy and bookmark the link, all ready for payday
6. On payday you go to the bookmark, visit the site and buy your shiny new toaster

So in the example above, the “Channels” in Google Analytics before purchase, would show as follows:

Paid Search > Email > Direct

The attribution model (for example, in Google Analytics) would provide analytical data on which channels and paths are being taken by customers prior to purchase. Then, based on that data, you should be able to make strategic decisions on which channels to prioritise in terms of campaign planning, to improve the most effective combinations of marketing effort.

Sounds awesome, right?

What does it look like?

So let’s look at an example in Google Analytics, firstly here’s how to get to the report:

You then have a choice of models. We are not going to try and describe them here, have a play around and be prepared to be overwhelmed.

Confused? Maybe. Not sure what to do, Definitely.

So what do we suggest you do.

Try a Simplified View

Well firstly try and keep it simple, let us go back to that toaster example in the beginning.

There is another view in Google Analytics that we recommend you rather use. You can find it as follows:

This very simply tells you the most common paths.

Again, nice to know and easier to understand, but what on earth should you do about it?

So, What Should I Do?

Well, obviously look at the most common paths and ensure that you are doing marketing on those channels in abundance……but that’s probably what you are already doing. So what’s the point here?

Take a step back and think about it. People will always take different paths before they make a decision. So the trick is to make sure you remarket to people who are yet to take the action you wish them to take.

So, actually, it all comes down to tracking and remarketing, plus a bit of CRM.

Ask these questions:

– Does my site have Google Analytics deployed?
– Does my site have Google Tag Manager deployed?
– Is my Google Adwords and Google Analytics account(s) linked?
– Do I have a remarketing tag in Google Adwords?
– Does my Facebook ad account have a Facebook pixel?
– Does my Twitter ad account have a tracking pixel?
– Does my LinkedIn account have a tracking pixel?
– Does all the above work correctly?

Next up, make sure you have remarketing campaigns set up in Google Adwords.

Then look at your audiences for remarketing, either in Adwords and/or Analytics.

Are you reaching anyone who checked products (from any channel) but did not complete a purchase through a remarketing campaign? This is actually the key questions (provided your tracking is correctly configured).

The above will solve much of the complexity of attribution in one automatic campaign.\

Of course, there are more advanced techniques but fundamentally this is the point of what you should be asking yourself or your agency.

In Summary

Beware of the complexity that attribution modeling can provide.

Keep it simple and make sure your remarketing and CRM intervention points are set up to get non-purchasers to purchase, it really is that simple.

Need help checking your tracking integrity or defining your online remarketing strategy, contact us and one of our digital specialists will be able to assist.