Marketing Attribution Models: How This B2B Agency Measures Marketing Performance

When a lead converts, how do you know which marketing channel or touchpoint made that lead conversion happen? Answering that question helps marketers to:

  • Measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts
  • Allocate marketing budget, time, and effort across channels
  • Map the customer journey and how your marketing strategy leads customers through it

But it isn’t the easiest question to answer—that’s where marketing attribution comes in.

So we’re on the same page, marketing attribution is the process of connecting each of your various marketing channels, campaigns, and touchpoints with the conversions and, ultimately, customers they produce.

It sounds complicated, and it’s easy for marketing teams to make attribution complicated, too. Here at Leadfeeder, we’ve noticed a few common pitfalls marketing teams at B2B companies make in attribution:

  • Using last-click attribution only. In this article, we discuss why that’s a mistake.
  • On the flipside, trying to chase a mythical “perfect” attribution model. Instead, we argue that the simplest models (when used in concert) cover the vast majority of scenarios. We also share the exact marketing attribution model that B2B content marketing agency Grow and Convert uses for their clients.
  • Using complex, expensive software to get attribution data, when Google Analytics can do most of the work for you (with the help of Leadfeeder, of course). We show you how you can set up a model like Grow and Convert’s for yourself in Google Analytics.

Finally, we discuss how marketers can use Leadfeeder as a marketing attribution tool and a way to gain visibility into the 98% of website visitors who don’t convert.

Editor’s note: Looking for more data on the ~98% of visitors who don’t convert (and therefore, don’t show up in your attribution model)? Try Leadfeeder free for 14 days to see all the companies that visit your website.

The Marketing Attribution Riddle

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation. You have an app business and, when a new customer signs up for a free trial, you want to know which marketing channels were responsible for getting them to sign up.

  • First, they saw a Facebook ad
  • Then, they Google searched their problem and saw one of your blog posts
  • Later, they came back to your website directly (by typing in your domain) and signed up for the trial

Which marketing touchpoint gets credit? Paid search, content, or your website?

Most companies approach that riddle by looking at the conversion through one of a handful of marketing attribution models.

Default models in Google Analytics include single-touch attribution and multi-touch attribution.

  • Single-touch attribution: Credit for the conversion is given to either the first interaction or the last interaction.
    • First click (or first touch attribution): In this model, the Facebook ad would get all the credit for leading that customer to sign up.
    • Last click attribution (or last touch attribution): Under this model, your website would get all the credit.
  • Multi-touch: The amount of credit for the conversion is split between all 3 channels. This can include a linear model, a time decay model, or a position-based model.
    • In a linear attribution model, credit is split evenly between each touchpoint the customer encountered on their way to sign up.
    • In a time decay model, more credit is given to touchpoints that occur closer in time to the actual conversion.
    • In a position-based (or U-shaped) model, 40% of credit is given to both the first and last touchpoint. The remaining 20% is split between however many touchpoints occurred in between.

In reality, there’s no right model or right answer for how to attribute credit for conversions. Each of the models above has its own biases and, if viewed in a vacuum, can lead to a skewed perspective on your marketing operation.

That’s why we recommend most companies actually use multiple models to measure their marketing attribution.

You’re Probably Only Using Last-Click Attribution: Here’s Why That Isn’t Enough

Most of your default reports in Google Analytics are automatically measuring with last click attribution. That’s because Google Analytics reports are session-based. They only measure where the session in which a user converted came from—not all of the touchpoints that led to that session.

That leaves you with a pretty narrow view of what’s actually driving new signups.

For example, strong content marketing operations create content for every stage of the marketing funnel. But based on session-based, last click models, you’ll only see the results from bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content.

There’s no perfect picture of how marketing drives leads to convert, but looking at it through more than one model means you get multiple perspectives from which you can gauge a more accurate picture of channel attribution.

By using multiple attribution models, you can get a user-based view of the entire journey—and you can do this right inside Google Analytics.

The Marketing Attribution Model Grow and Convert Uses for Their Clients

While it’s important to get a view of attribution from multiple perspectives, many of the advanced, multi-touch attribution models are simply way more than most businesses need.

For example, Grow and Convert—a B2B content marketing agency and Leadfeeder user—uses this Google Analytics report that simply combines first and last-click attribution data when analyzing results for their clients:

Marketing Attribution Models: A dashboard example of Grow and Convert's Model Comparison Tool in Google Analytics.

The report (which is saved and readily accessible in Google Analytics) shows individual blog posts (by way of URL) and the number of conversions they’ve driven, based on both first click and last click attribution.

As you can see, the conversions attributed to each blog post vary between the 2 models, but it’s still the same few touchpoints that lead to the lion’s share of conversions. Having data from both of those models means the team can more easily identify anomalies within the data.

How to Set It Up For Yourself

Building an attribution model like Grow and Convert’s doesn’t require fancy or expensive marketing attribution software—you can do it right in Google Analytics.

The first step is to set up and define your goals. These are the key conversion events you’ll measure and attribute. To create a goal, go to your Google Analytics Admin dashboard and click on ‘Goals’.

Marketing Attribution Models: A dashboard view of goals in Google Analytics.

To define the goal, you’ll need to decide the type:

  • Destination
  • Duration
  • Pages per session
  • Event

For example, a software company may want to measure new signups, so they’d choose a ‘Destination’ goal and set the destination URL as ‘/sign/up/finish’.

For an ecommerce website, that destination may be the thank you or order confirmation page.

Once your goals are set up, Google Analytics starts collecting data on those conversions and where they come from. The next step is to build your report by choosing the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ axes that make sense for you. In Grow and Convert’s report, they’re looking at how individual blog posts contribute to new signups—so they look at first and last click conversions (Y) by landing page URL (X).

B2B Marketing Attribution Software: How Leadfeeder Can Bring Hidden Data to Light

While Google Analytics and similar tools can go a long way in helping to attribute conversions to your marketing campaigns and channels, there are a few areas where they break down:

  • You can only attribute about 1% – 2% of website visitors (i.e. those that convert) because the vast majority don’t convert.
  • Connecting the relationship between users and companies is difficult.

Shedding Light on Leads Who Didn’t Convert (Yet)

The average B2B company sees a roughly 1% conversion rate on their website. That number can be higher or lower for your business, but it rarely tops 5%. With any marketing attribution model, you’ll only ever see attribution data on that 1–5% of leads who actually convert—because you can only “attribute” conversions.

But what about the other 99% of visitors?

Inside the Leadfeeder dashboard where you can see the companies that have visited your website. Your Leadfeeder dashboard shows all the companies who’ve visited your website.

We built Leadfeeder to make those visitors visible because we knew this was a giant blind spot for B2B marketers.

Seeing which companies visited your site, how often, and what pages they visited gives you a better feel for what they’re interested in and why they didn’t actually convert. When you have visibility into those leads, you can reach out and do whatever it takes to make them convert. Then you’ll see them in your marketing attribution data.

Connecting Users to Their Companies

For B2B marketers, connecting all of the marketing touchpoints for a given account is a vital part of attributing credit when that account converts. Multiple people in a company may visit your website and interact with your marketing, but traditional marketing attribution only records the touchpoints on the IP address of the user who eventually converts.

That’s where Leadfeeder comes in—making it easier to tie all marketing events to the company, instead of just one individual.

Dashboard view of specific companies that have visited your website, which URL, and how long they spent on the page.

For example, this company ultimately converted after receiving an email campaign on July 16, 2019. But we can see that, prior to that email campaign, 2 other individuals at the company came to the website—1 after finding a blog post in a Google search and another by typing in the URL directly.

Editor’s note: Want more visibility into the journey leads take to conversion? Try Leadfeeder free for 14 days to see where each of your marketing efforts play a role in driving leads forward.

With Google Analytics attribution modeling alone, you’d only see the role email played, while leaving the role organic search and content marketing played in the dark.

The Right Marketing Attribution Model is Plural

Marketing teams approach channel attribution in a variety of ways. While complex multi-touch modeling may make sense for some of them, the vast majority of companies are better served by using 2 single-touch models in conjunction with each other.

By combining the information that already exists in your Google Analytics account with the account-level visibility of Leadfeeder, you can build a B2B marketing attribution model that actually helps you more accurately measure marketing performance.

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