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Marketing attribution models explained

Article originally published in February 2024 by Stuart Brameld. Most recent update in February 2024.

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How do you do you know you’re spending time, resource and energy on the most effective marketing channels?

B2B marketers should use marketing attribution models for several compelling reasons, as it directly impacts how effectively they can understand, allocate, and optimise their marketing efforts.

The importance of marketing attribution models

Here’s why marketing attribution is crucial for B2B marketers:

  1. Improved Return on Investment (ROI): By identifying which marketing channels and tactics are most effective in driving conversions and sales, businesses can allocate their budgets more efficiently. This targeted investment in high-performing channels leads to a better ROI, as marketing spend is optimised to support strategies that deliver tangible results.
  2. Data-Driven Decision Making: Marketing attribution provides detailed insights into the customer journey and the impact of various marketing efforts. This data enables businesses to make informed decisions, moving away from guesswork and intuition-based marketing. By understanding which touchpoints contribute most significantly to conversions, marketers can tailor their strategies and campaigns to enhance performance and customer engagement.
  3. Enhanced Customer Insights: Attribution models help businesses understand the paths customers take before making a purchase. This deep dive into the customer journey reveals not just which channels are effective, but also how different segments interact with various marketing messages and touchpoints. These insights allow for more personalised marketing efforts, improved customer targeting, and the development of content that resonates with the intended audience, leading to higher conversion rates and customer loyalty.

Common marketing attribution models

Here are some of the main marketing attribution models used in B2B:

Linear attributionLinear attribution is a model used by marketers to understand the effectiveness of their marketing channels. It’s a way of assigning equal credit to each touchpoint in a customer’s journey towards a conversion.
Time decay attributionTime decay attribution is a model used by marketers to understand the effectiveness of their marketing channels. It’s a way of giving credit to the different touchpoints a customer interacts with before making a purchase.
Hybrid attributionHybrid attribution is a method used by marketers to understand and credit the role of different marketing channels in a customer’s journey to purchase.
First click attributionFirst click attribution is a model used in marketing to identify and give credit to the first interaction a customer has with a brand.
Last click attributionLast click attribution is a popular method used in marketing to determine the value of different marketing touchpoints.
Multi-touch attributionMulti-touch attribution is a method used by marketers to understand and credit which marketing strategies are driving customer actions.
Self-reported attributionSelf-reported attribution is a method used by marketers to understand how consumers found out about their product or service. It involves asking customers directly how they discovered the brand.
Data-driven attributionData-driven attribution is a method used by marketers to understand the value of each customer touchpoint. It helps in identifying which strategies are contributing to a goal conversion.
Position-based (U-shaped) attributionPosition-based (U-shaped) attribution is a model used by marketers to track and assign credit for a sale or conversion across multiple touchpoints in a customer’s journey.

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