Why Attribution Is So Important for Marketers in 2021

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If there’s one capability marketers need to invest in this year, it’s marketing attribution. 

Every marketer should be using attribution as part of their reporting and insights, so they can reach campaign goals faster and more effectively, increase the ROI of their marketing spend, and continue to help grow their organization’s bottom line. 



Why Is Attribution So Important for Marketers Right Now?

The economy is going to come back — and maybe even roar back — but after all the ups and downs of the past year, your stakeholders could be gun-shy about spending money. They’re going to want to see proof that their investment in marketing has a real and measurable impact.

If you aren’t using attribution to make your campaigns as efficient as possible, you put your budget at risk. Because the next time your client or your C-suite needs to cut spending, their first stop will be your budget. (Maybe that even happened to you last year.) 

Attribution gives you the ammo to fight back and show the bean counters that, actually, marketing is a big reason why money is still coming in the door. 

How You Can Get Started with Marketing Attribution 

Again, attribution is something that everybody should be spending time on. It isn’t just for the big guys with entire teams of data scientists at their beck and call. 

The good news is that it’s never been easier to apply some form of attribution modeling. Google Analytics makes it incredibly simple for marketers to use multiple forms of attribution to get richer insight into digital campaign performance and the paths that contacts take to becoming leads and customers, so you can optimize where and how you spend marketing dollars. 

Now, Google Analytics isn’t magic. For starters, it doesn’t always give you a great picture of media performance that occurs outside of your website, and it’s not great for measuring the impact of offline marketing.

It’s a decent starting point, though, especially for smaller organizations that are investing mostly in digital campaigns. If your customer’s path to purchase is relatively short, with only a few touchpoints involved, then Google Analytics’ rule-based models could give you a good indication of which channels are most effective. 

Or you might want something like Alight’s multi-channel attribution capability. We’ve created a dashboard that shows how all your digital media activity connects to your website conversions for a holistic view of media spend and influence. You can also quickly apply different models like first step, last step or linear to your data.


BLOG: How to Pick the Right Marketing Attribution Model


How Marketing Attribution Can Benefit Marketing

We’d challenge you to take it further. 

As you make attribution reporting a regular part of how you assess marketing performance, I bet you’re going to start asking more challenging, more interesting questions.

Maybe you’re curious about the impact of, say, display ads on conversions. You build a custom model that gives extra weight to display view-throughs in a certain timeframe, so you can test that theory. What you learn could help you put more money into an overlooked, underappreciated channel. (Or convince you to pull back.) 

And then you might decide that it’s not enough to just include digital channels. So you find a way to bring offline media like TV or direct mail into your analysis to get a more inclusive picture of your impact. 

You move on to a data-driven attribution model that looks at all your converting and non-converting paths, so you can see which touchpoints are more likely to lead to a conversion. Now you start to see how different channels and tactics work together to create results beyond what they could accomplish individually. 

And finally, you decide you want to track the impact of different touchpoints on specific customers, so you can build an extremely granular look at what’s driving customers to make a purchase and how much each of those touches is worth. 

Why Is Attribution Important? 

You won’t wake up tomorrow and be able to produce that kind of advanced analysis. It takes time and expertise and, especially for the data-driven models, a critical mass of data. But the insights you gain — and the competitive advantages that come with them — are worth it. (We can help you with this.

When January 1, 2022 rolls around, you don’t want to look back and wonder what could have happened if you’d prioritized this core capability. 

Multi-Channel Attribution Made Simple

Alight’s end-to-end analytics solutions feature multi-channel attribution models, built right into Power BI or Tableau, to help you reduce the time and cost to generate a conversion. Schedule a free solution consultation with our team!