Too often, B2B marketers get wrapped up in the world of click and lead volume optimization. But the reality is, the ultimate goal of all marketing should be efficiently generating revenue growth, which is measured by ROI.
A significant component of delivering high ROI is being able to measure it. That requires connecting your spend data to downstream pipeline and revenue. But what is the best way to attribute credit to your marketing spend and activities?
In this article, we cover the two chief types of marketing attribution models and the merits of each.
Single-touch attribution models
These models offer marketers the simple solution of applying all credit to a single touch point in the customer journey. There are three widely used single-touch attribution models:
- First-click models give 100% credit to the action that drives the first visit to your website.
- Lead-creation-click models give all credit to the last action a visitor takes before filling out a contact form and becoming a lead.
- Last-click models give all credit to the marketing channel that turned a lead into an opportunity.
Without a doubt, single-touch models are the easiest to implement and understand. But they have obvious drawbacks—namely, they attribute all the credit to one activity, prohibiting marketers from connecting revenue to multichannel strategies. While these may work in B2C scenarios, where customer journeys tend to be shorter and more straightforward, they are insufficient for B2B revenue attribution. For example, a first-click model will never help you understand the impact of a retargeting campaign because, by definition, it won’t be the first click. Similarly, a last-click model will never help you understand the impact of a top-of-the-funnel acquisition campaign.
Multi-touch attribution models
Unlike single-touch models, multi-touch attribution gives marketers the chance to allocate different revenue credit to different activities. There are five particularly popular multi-touch models:
- Linear models give equal weight to every touchpoint. So, if you have three touchpoints, each will receive a third of the credit.
- Descending or time decay models give more credit to touchpoints that are closer to the conversion.
- U-shaped models attribute 40% of revenue credit to each the first and lead-creation touch. They evenly split the remaining 20% between every other touch.
- W-shaped models attribute 30% of credit to each the first visit, the lead-creation session, and the opportunity-creation session. They divide the remaining 10% among all other activities.
- Full-path models attribute revenue to activities throughout the entire customer journey. In these models, 22.5% of revenue credit goes to each the first touch, lead-creation touch, opportunity-creation touch, and closed-revenue touch. They distribute the remaining 10% among all other touchpoints.
Multi-touch attribution models are particularly useful in B2B marketing environments, where customer journeys are regularly drawn-out and nonlinear. Because these models align with crucial funnel stages, marketers can use them to gain an improved understanding of customer journeys and accelerate purchases.
Additionally, for B2B marketers with particularly complex, long, or irregular customer journeys, it may be worthwhile to consider a custom attribution model—or one powered by machine learning. While pre-configured multi-touch models, like the ones previously discussed, align closely with the stages of a typical B2B journey, it’s important to use an attribution model that matches your business.
Select the right marketing attribution model for you
While marketing attribution is typically discussed in the context of attributing revenue, marketers also use attribution to understand what activities are driving other outcomes, such as pipeline and leads. Picking a marketing attribution model that fits your needs ultimately depends on what you’re trying to measure.
If your goal is to see how effectively marketing attributes leads, you need a model that measures the first touch and lead creation: a U-shaped model.
On the other hand, if you want to understand how your marketing is impacting revenue generation, using a full-path attribution model for a more comprehensive approach is the way to go.
Whatever you choose, marketing attribution is the key to understanding how you’re reaching your anticipated outcomes. And it’ll put you on a path to influencing desired behaviors and driving more conversions.
So, what’s the next step? Read more to find out how to build a framework for marketing measurement and secure buy-in from your C-Suite stakeholders.
1. How to Build a Credible Framework for Marketing Measurement
2. How to Secure C-Suite Buy-in for Marketing Attribution