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What is an attribution model?

To understand what an attribution model is, we must start at the beginning. A conversion It is a digital marketing term that refers to the positive actions that a user can take based on our objectives and purposes. In this way, if, for example, we want the user to buy a product, we will have to follow the journey that the user makes until the conversion is achieved. Only then can we assess which partner to attribute the conversion to. That is, if it was a press release, an ad on Youtube or sponsored content on Facebook, which has made the client take the action that we wanted to achieve with those campaigns or channels.

All this process or trip that the user makes through the different steps that the company is marking, is called customer journey. In a simpler way, this term encompasses the steps that the potential client follows until they achieve their conversion, whether it is buying a product or attending a webinar. In this way, attribution models are the set of rules that we use to assign the conversion to a partner or marketing channel. That is, they help us understand which campaign has made the user meet our objectives.

Marketing channels to assign an attribution model to

Within the marketing channels, they are traditional and online. Due to the diversity of contact points, in the current era it has been difficult to determine which channel makes the conversion possible.

traditional channels

Within the traditional channels, there are television, radio and the press, being the media the channels par excellence until relatively recently. In addition to these, outdoor advertising, direct marketing or promotional marketing are also traditional channels.

online channels

As for online channels, these are made up of seo, sem, direct links, email marketing, affiliate marketing, social networks or display. 

Therefore, within these partners there will be some that make the user advance in the customer journey and others that make it stagnant. Being able to see which of them are most effective is the main function of attribution models.

Types of attribution models

There are different types of attribution model and each of them is better suited to a specific business and specific objectives. So, there will be some with higher performance for your growth than others.

  1. First is the last interaction model. According to this, the merit of the conversion belongs to the last interaction that the user had with the business. It is this attribution model that is used by platforms such as Google Analytics.
  2. This is followed by indirect last click model. Based on this, the user's conversion is achieved by the last campaign carried out before said conversion. For example, a user finds a company through a Facebook ad that he clicks on. After a few days, he clicks on a Google ad for the same brand again. Finally, a few hours later, he checks his email and sees a campaign from the company. Finally, make a direct click, that is: manually enter the URL of the business. In this case, the last click-through attribution model would give the conversion to the email marketing campaign.
  3. Third, we find the first interaction attribution model. This, as its name suggests, gives credit for the conversion to the first interaction that the user had with the company. Thus, if the person learned of the existence of the company for the first time through Facebook, all the credit for the conversion will go to this platform.
  4. Another attribution model is the linear. According to this, all the partners through which the user passes throughout his customer journey have the merit of the conversion. Following the previous example, the conversion would be divided equally between the Facebook campaign, the Google Ads campaign and the email marketing campaign.
  5. A model very similar to the linear one is the deterioration of time. This adds more value to those interactions that have occurred closer to the time of conversion. Therefore, continuing with the same example, the email campaign receives more merit than the Facebook ad.
  6. Finally, we find the position attribution model, according to which, most of the credit is divided between the first interaction that the user had and the last before performing the conversion. Thus, in the case of the person we have given as an example, the campaign through Facebook and the email marketing will divide most of the credit. The rest of the interactions also have value, but to a lesser extent.

Beyond these models, there is a type whose function is to analyze the user's customer journey to assess the merit of each channel. Today, This is the type of model that offers more precision. However, it still misses out on several issues, such as cross-device attribution.

Benefits of attribution models

  • For starters, thanks to attribution marketing, you will be able to meet your customers to a greater extent. Due to this, you will have the opportunity to know which channels are preferred by customers and which ones attract less attention. Thus, you will understand the people behind the conversions. Therefore, you can create custom future strategies and oriented to the preferences of your potential customers.
  • Another benefit of attribution marketing is know the correlation that exists between the channels, so that you are able to check how they link to each other. This will help you decide which of them are most important for future conversions.
  • The last of the advantages of attribution models is that reduce strategy based on intuition, since we can check which are the messages that capture the most attention from users. We will also be able to know what is the perfect time to launch a campaign and that it achieves conversion. Thus, we will save money, eliminating ineffective campaigns, and we will be able to develop other more original ones that, without this study, would not have occurred to us.

Which attribution model is right for you?

Currently it is very difficult to understand what attribution to give to each channel. This is due to multi-channel and multi-device environment. Today, for example, a person can hear about a company through their favorite radio show, Facebook, Instagram or an advertising banner. In addition, today, most people have several devices. In their day to day, they use each of them, being able to access the channels from laptops, tablets or smartphones.

As we have explained before, each attribution model has a series of advantages and disadvantages and will be better or worse suited to each type of business. Therefore, in order to correctly choose which attribution model to choose, you must, first of all, analyze the customer journey of the company. Thus, you will be able to see each of the channels that a user can follow until the conversion is achieved.

Once this is done, it is convenient that you weigh how attribution models fit into the user journey. In this way, for example, for a food business, perhaps the ideal attribution model is that of the last interaction, since in these cases the user usually opts for one restaurant or another at the same time. On the other hand, there are other businesses, such as the one dedicated to the sale of cars, in which the user follows a more complex process, so in these cases the model of the last interaction would not fit with this type of business.

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