How to Create an Attribution Report to Boost Your Marketing

Marketing Operations
June 6, 2024

Tracking how well digital marketing is working can prove difficult for marketing leaders. This is because the sheer number of touchpoints, channels, and campaigns that can be running simultaneously makes it hard to see which offers the best value. This can mean analyzing data and tracking the customer journey is more difficult, making decision-making and forward planning trickier.

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However, as difficult as it is, marketing leaders need to have this understanding in order to develop and hone campaigns to maximize effectiveness. Fortunately, attribution reporting can help businesses make the shift from intuitive strategies to data-driven ones that put the customer at the heart. Let’s find out more.

What are Attribution Reports?

Attribution reporting gives you a clear map of your customers’ journeys or enterprise software sales cycle right from customer profiling or the first point of contact, to the moment of conversion. It can highlight the effectiveness of each strategy you’ve implemented and show how certain touchpoints and channels have worked cohesively.

More specifically, attribution reports can pinpoint:

  • Which channels are the most effective in creating brand awareness
  • Which campaign is driving the most signups or form submissions
  • A clear picture of how customers interact with each touchpoint or campaign
  • What channel drives the most sales
  • How to optimize campaigns with custom data
  • An overview of where improvements could be made.

How Can Attribution Reporting Strengthen Your Marketing?

With great customer experience at the forefront, marketing leaders need to know that any money they spend on marketing is providing a good return. 

Attribution reporting can demonstrate where the budget is being well utilized and where it isn't, meaning decision-making is better informed moving forward and ROI can be maximized, ultimately leading to greater business success.

Attribution reporting enables marketing leaders to see how marketing strategies have directly improved sales, which can help boost confidence and morale in the department. 

Take Amazon as an example. Amazon launched its free advertising attribution service to provide third-party sellers with detailed analytics to make data-driven decisions. Premier Nutrition registered for and utilized the service to improve cross-channel advertising and saw a 322% year-over-year growth.

Attribution Reports: First Steps

There are many software packages available to help you create attribution reports such as HubsSpot or Choosing one will depend on your company’s current subscriptions, budget, and software features, and the process can take time.

The first step in creating your report is to understand what you want to get out of it. In other words, what questions do you seek answers for? Do you want to understand your customer journey better or be able to generate and analyze B2B data? Here are some key things to have in place first:

  • Decide on your KPIs
  • Ensure good tracking through the whole sales funnel
  • Connect marketing and sales channels so they can work cohesively in alignment with your MEDDPICC framework. This is a sales qualification methodology that helps narrow down leads with the highest chance of conversion with a focus on metrics, economic buyers, decision criteria, decision process, paper process, the implication of pain, champion, and competition.
  • Link your marketing goals to your business goals
  • Leverage good client management software.

Once you’ve chosen a package and have a plan, you’ll need to know which attribution model suits you best. 

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The Main Types of Attribution Models

There are several models available that can provide smart insights to help you segment your audience, and choosing the right one for your business is important. Here are a few types of attribution models to consider.

  1. First Touch

This report type will focus on the data surrounding the first interaction your client has with your brand. This is helpful when trying to determine which piece of content is driving leads as it highlights which channels are capturing the most positive engagement and which aren’t.

  1. Last Touch

This is similar to the first touch model but focuses on the final interaction that converts the lead to a sale. This can highlight what channel is prompting leads to act and can be useful to businesses that have low lead conversion rates.

  1. U-Shaped

This is where the attribution reports focus on the initial interaction (40%) and the specific interaction (40%) that created a contactable lead. The final 20% of the focus will be on the communication between those points. This type of report is great for measuring lead generation attribution.

  1. Linear

A linear attribution report covers all the touchpoints along the customer journey. This type of report can highlight points of interactions that have led to sales that may have gone unnoticed otherwise.

  1. W-Shaped

The W-shaped model places 30% of the credit on the initial interaction, 30% on the interaction that led to the contactable lead, and 30% on the final interaction. 10% of the credit is then allocated towards any other interactions.  This type of report can give a broader overview of your marketing.

  1. Time Decay

Time decay attribution reports focus on more recent interactions. This can be particularly useful when experiencing fluctuations in lead generation and interaction.

5. Data-Driven 

This model type uses machine learning to assign conversion credit learning rather than rule-based methods like the above models. Data-driven attribution models can analyze each unique conversion path to provide insights into the most successful channels. Because of the amount of data needed for this model, it’s more suitable for larger businesses with big datasets and conversion rates.

The AI customer experience has proven to be a success as it’s opened up multi-channel customer support to give customers more choices. Using AI in attribution reports to refine marketing channels seems like the next strategic step. 

Business Planning

How to Choose the Right Attribution Report Model

There are several factors to consider when deciding on a model, and there is no fixed solution. It can depend on whether you want to be ready for B2C or B2B ecommerce, as well as your marketing strategy, customer journey, and data needs. You might even find yourself taking elements from one or more models. Here’s what you should consider when deciding on a model:

  • Your company’s goals and objectives
  • Current marketing strengths
  • Current marketing weaknesses
  • Which campaigns created the most leads
  • Which channels are generating the most sales
  • Which area/s of your sales funnel needs more attention.

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt that attribution reporting can strengthen your marketing. The information the reports provide can provide key facts to help you hone and refine your marketing strategy to boost your ROI.

Understanding what information you need from an attribution report is key to its success, so it’s important to take the time to plan that in line with your overall business goals as well as your sales and marketing goals. The more you understand about your own needs, the better equipped you’ll be to choose a model that gives you answers where you need them.

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