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Unveiling the Mystery of Conversions: How Attribution Helps You See the Bigger Picture

Ever wondered which marketing channels are truly driving sales? You're not alone. Attributing conversions to specific touchpoints in the customer journey can be a complex puzzle. This is where conversion attribution comes in.

Understanding the Customer Journey

Imagine a customer considering a new pair of shoes. They might see a social media ad, read a blog review, and visit your website before finally making a purchase. Each touchpoint – the ad, the review, your website – plays a role in influencing their decision.

Conversion attribution helps you understand how much credit each touchpoint deserves for the final conversion (the shoe purchase). By analyzing this data, you can optimize your conversions and marketing budget so that you can focus on the channels with the biggest impact.

Conversion Attribution

Measuring Is Knowing

"Everything can and must be measurable," is a motto that we at Webfluentia live by. "Making things measurable" means gaining insight into all kinds of website statistics. However, simply measuring is not enough. The art often lies in correctly interpreting this data, and that's where conversion attribution comes in.

Tools for gaining insight into your statistics, such as Google Analytics, can provide you with a gigantic amount of data. Data that is extremely valuable, especially if you interpret the data correctly. Evaluating conversions from different traffic sources is an important part of this. In this article, we will help you get started with evaluating conversions by taking a close look at the different conversion attribution models.

What is Conversion Attribution?

Conversion attribution is the process of assigning a specific conversion (checkout, registration form) to a specific touchpoint in the customer journey that was necessary to achieve the conversion. With conversion attribution, you don't just look at the last interaction, but also at the previous steps that were necessary to achieve the conversion.

For example, suppose a user buys a pair of white shoes after seeing an Instagram ad, but has already visited your webshop after reading a blog about the 10 most important shoe trends of 2024 and then signing up for the newsletter. All of these steps contributed to the conversion click, not just the last ad click. That's what we call conversion attribution.

Practicle Example of Conversion Attribution

Let's continue with a practical example to illustrate this. It is important to note that this example is based on the "last click model", which means that the last touchpoint before conversion takes place gets 100% of the value points of the sale.

Imagine you have a television webshop. You use various marketing channels to promote your product. For example, you advertise extensively in Google AdWords, Google Shopping, on Facebook, and you also do some affiliate marketing. You have put together a nice marketing mix for yourself where you have a visible expression at every point of the customer journey.

A potential customer first comes to your webshop via your Facebook ad. He is interested in your offer and searches for your company name on Google a day later. He arrives at your webshop again via an AdWords ad and decides to buy a television. Great sale!

Logically, you now conclude that the Facebook ad has done its job well. After all, without this ad, the customer would not have ended up on your webshop in the first place. However, Google Analytics attributes the turnover to Google AdWords because this is the last traffic source used. This happens fifty more times this month and at the end of the month you decide to turn off Facebook because Google Analytics indicates that it is not yielding enough for you. You probably understand where we are going with this...

How to Apply Conversion Attribution

It starts with logical thinking and looking beyond the obvious. If you keep that in mind and follow the following practical tips, conversion attribution can provide you with very valuable information.

1. Path Length

In Google Analytics, take a good look at the path length. This indicates how many interactions there have been before a conversion has been achieved. For example, if someone first comes to your site via AdWords, later via Organic (non-paid search engine result), and then places an order, this is a path length of 2. The longer the path, the more important it is to give a good assessment to a particular traffic source. This is because there have been more interaction moments and traffic sources. You can find the path length in Analytics under Conversions > Multi-channel funnels > Path length.

2. Assisted Conversions

In Analytics, also take a good look at the "assisted conversions" tab. These are all conversions from certain traffic sources in which the conversion has been a supporting factor. Google uses the following definition; "An assisted interaction is any referral that is in the conversion path but is not the last interaction." For example, it is possible that a particular traffic source delivers a lot of value at the beginning of the funnel but not as the last click. You can find the assisted conversions in Analytics under Conversions > Multi-channel funnels > Assisted Conversions.

3. Delay

It is also important to look at the "delay" report. This report shows how many days there are between the first click and the actual conversion. This value is particularly valuable in industries where this delay is relatively high. Think of insurance companies or travel agencies, for example. On the basis of this data, you can set up a sound remarketing strategy in which you can bid aggressively at certain times.

4. Standard Attribution Models

Google itself already offers a number of models in Analytics with which you can use conversion attribution in various ways.

5. Comparing Conversion Attribution Models

You can easily compare the attribution models mentioned above with each other in Analytics. This function can be found under Conversions > Attribution > Model Comparison Tool.

Unveiling the Attribution Models

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to conversion attribution. For example, you could assign 40% to the first click and 20% to the last click.

  • Last Click Attribution: This model assigns all the credit for a conversion to the last channel a customer interacted with before buying. It's simple but may not reflect the reality of a multi-touch journey.
  • First Click Attribution: This model gives all the credit to the first channel a customer interacted with. While valuable for initial brand awareness, it overlooks other touchpoints that might have nurtured the lead.
  • Linear Attribution: This model distributes credit equally across all touchpoints a customer interacts with. It provides a broader picture but might not pinpoint the most influential channels.
  • Time Decay Attribution: This model assigns more weight to touchpoints closer to the conversion, reflecting the diminishing influence of earlier interactions.
  • Position-Based Attribution: This model splits credit between the first and last touchpoints, acknowledging both initial awareness and final nudge.

Choosing the Right Model for You

The best conversion attribution model depends on your business goals and customer journey. Here are some factors to consider when making your choice:

  • Your sales cycle: Longer sales cycles might benefit from models that consider all touchpoints, such as time decay models.
  • Marketing mix: Businesses with a diverse marketing strategy, like social media ads, blog posts, and email marketing, might need a more sophisticated model like position-based attribution.
  • Marketing goals: Are you prioritizing brand awareness or immediate conversions? This will influence your model choice.

Making Conversion Attribution Work for You

Attributing conversions can be a data-driven challenge. Webfluentia can help you navigate the complexities of attribution modeling. We'll:

  • Analyze your customer journey: Understand how your audience interacts with your brand.
  • Implement conversion tracking: Set up tracking tools to capture valuable data.
  • Recommend the right attribution model: Choose a model that aligns with your goals.
  • Deliver actionable insights: Gain data-driven insights to optimize your marketing spend.

With Webfluentia by your side, you can unlock the power of conversion attribution and make informed decisions about your marketing strategy. Let's work together to turn those website visitors into loyal customers!

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