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What is hybrid attribution?

Article originally published in July 2023 by Stuart Brameld. Most recent update in February 2024.

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Definition of hybrid attribution

Hybrid attribution is a method used by marketers to understand and credit the role of different marketing channels in a customer’s journey to purchase. It’s a blend of both multi-touch and last-click attribution models. This means it considers all the touchpoints a customer interacts with, but also gives special importance to the final interaction before a purchase.

This approach provides a more balanced view of the effectiveness of different marketing strategies. It helps marketers to identify which channels are driving customer engagement and conversions. By using hybrid attribution, marketers can make more informed decisions about where to invest their resources for the best return.

An example of hybrid attribution

Here is an example of how it works:

Growth Method, a fictional SaaS company, uses a hybrid attribution model to track their marketing efforts. They sell a project management tool online. A potential customer, John, first hears about Growth Method from a podcast ad, which piques his interest. A few days later, he sees a sponsored post on LinkedIn about the tool’s features. Intrigued, he clicks on the post and visits the website but doesn’t make a purchase.

A week later, John receives an email from Growth Method offering a free trial. He signs up for the trial but still doesn’t commit to a purchase. Finally, after seeing a retargeting ad on Facebook, John decides to purchase a subscription.

In this hybrid attribution model, Growth Method assigns 20% of the credit to the podcast ad, 30% to the LinkedIn post, 20% to the email, and 30% to the Facebook ad. This model recognises that each touchpoint played a role in John’s decision to purchase, and it allows Growth Method to understand and optimise their marketing strategy.

How does hybrid attribution work?

Hybrid attribution works by combining multiple attribution models to provide a more comprehensive view of a marketing campaign’s effectiveness. It takes into account both the first interaction a customer has with a brand (first-click attribution) and the last interaction before a sale (last-click attribution), as well as other touchpoints along the customer journey. This approach allows marketers to better understand the impact of different marketing channels and strategies, and to allocate their resources more effectively.

Expert opinions and perspectives

Here are how some of the world’s best marketing and growth professionals, and companies, think about hybrid attribution.

  • “A hybrid attribution model is a powerful approach that can address most of the limitations of traditional attribution. It combines traditional models, such as first-touch and last-touch, with multi-touch and self-reported attribution models to create an accurate picture of customer journeys. – https://www.a88lab.com/blog/from-broken-to-effective-how-a-hybrid-attribution-model-can-transform-saas-demand-generation-strategies
  • “Google gets way more credit than it deserves, both in organic and paid” Chris Walker, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1f8FKteRrKA

Questions to ask yourself

As a modern growth marketing or agile marketing professional, ask yourself the following questions with regard to hybrid attribution:

  1. What are the key touchpoints in my customer’s journey where hybrid attribution can provide valuable insights?
  2. How can I effectively combine different attribution models in a hybrid approach to accurately measure marketing performance?
  3. What tools and technologies are available to implement hybrid attribution in my marketing strategy?
  4. How can I use the data from hybrid attribution to optimise my marketing campaigns for better growth?
  5. What challenges might I face in implementing hybrid attribution and how can I overcome them?

Here are some related articles and further reading you may find helpful.

Additional reading

Here are some related articles and further reading around hybrid attribution that you may find helpful.

  1. “Hybrid Attribution: A Balanced Approach to Measurement” on Smart Insights
  2. “Understanding Hybrid Attribution in Marketing” on Marketing Evolution
  3. “Hybrid Attribution: What it is and why you should care” on ClickZ
  4. “Hybrid attribution models: the best approach to multi-channel marketing?” on Econsultancy
  5. “What is Hybrid Attribution and why does it matter?” on DAC Group

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