An Introduction to Using An Attribution Model

An Introduction to Attribution Models

How you considered the number of traffic sources available to websites these days? Your average website can have traffic arriving from banner ads, social media, pay per click advertising, search engines, and more.

Maybe a visitor first arrived at your site from a banner or pay per click (PPC) ad. The next time they might arrive from social media or your email campaign. You’ve spent time and energy on each campaign, however how do you know which one should be attributed for the sale? Using an attribution model, you can get the answers you need and determine which method(s) led to the conversion.

Why is This Important?

Sometimes it takes multiple channels to make a conversion. Knowing which channels assisted in the conversion can be just as important as the last click made before the purchase. By looking only at the last click, you miss the value of the other channels that brought the awareness of your brand. Many times, different channels can work in combination to give you a more unified digital strategy. Whether you are looking at the first click, the last click, or at one’s in between, this data can help you learn more about what fuels your conversions.

Types of Attribution Models

In this example, your customer arrives at your site four times before making a purchase:

  • Day 1: The visitor arrives on your site from a pay-per-click ad on a search engine
  • Day 3: A retargeting banner ad brings the visitor to the site and they follow your Facebook account.
  • Day 5: After seeing a social media post on Facebook, the visitor signs up for your mailing list
  • Day 6: You send a blast to your mailing list about a new sale. This leads to a conversion (purchase) on your site.
First Interaction

Using the first interaction attribution model, in this case clicking on your PPC ad, the PPC campaign would get 100% of the credit for making the sale.

Last Click

Using the last click attribution model, the last channel that the person used to come to your site, in this case your email campaign, would get credit for the sale.

Linear Attribution

Using the linear attribution model, each one of the touch points that were used in the conversion path (PPC, banner ads, social media, and the mailing) would get an equal percentage of the sale.

Position Based

In the position based attribution model, 40% of the credit would be assigned to the first and last interaction (PPC and email campaigns) while 20% of the credit is distributed amongst the remaining interactions.

Time Decay

Using the time decay method, the touch points that occurred right before the conversion would get most of the credit for the sale. In this case, your email marketing campaign would get a majority of the credit and the previous methods would get less credit the farther back it goes from the time of conversion.

Always keep in mind, that brand awareness occurs over time and is typically not the result of one click. Using attribution models can save money by optimizing your advertising channels based on the ones delivering the most conversions.