The primary goal for digital marketers is to drive conversions. Whether click-throughs, content downloads, or actual sales, marketers work diligently to convert—so what can marketers do to consistently win at this game and reach their conversion goals?
There is a multitude of resources and best practices that support marketing efforts, but there’s one component of a good marketing strategy that stands out as an invaluable resource: reports.
Reports are important for helping marketers track the success—or failure—of marketing efforts, but I’m not going to discuss just any type of marketing reporting in this post. Instead, let’s chat about attribution reporting, a type of reporting that helps marketers take their analytics one step further by identifying the exact steps a website visitor or lead takes before actually converting.
Marketing Attribution 101
Typically, a user interacts with your website several different ways, often over several days or even weeks before taking action, which can make it hard to evaluate which marketing channel was the one that had the greatest impact and which did little to influence a decision.
This means it's crucial to assess the value of each marketing channel—paid ads, organic searches, email campaigns, direct visits, and referrals—to use attribution reports to improve lead conversion.
What Is Marketing Attribution?
Attribution has become quite a buzzword in the marketing world, and for good reason: It provides specific analytics of the journey users take to get to your website and go through your site before they actually convert.
This allows marketers to identify the most effective and influential marketing activities by pinpointing what content and on which channel users engage with. Being able to give the appropriate credit to marketing activities ultimately makes it easier to know where to invest future campaign efforts and dollars.
There are several attribution reporting models that can help marketers determine how influential marketing activities are, including:
- First-Touch Attribution: Tracks the first step a user took before converting
- Last-Touch Attribution: Tracks the last step a user took before converting
- Multi-Touch Attribution: An overview of all steps completed that led to conversion
- Linear: Considers each step equally influential in the journey to conversion
- Time-Decay: Considers the steps closest to the conversion to be more influential
How Marketing Attribution Reports Can Help
In general, attribution reporting can help you answer the following questions about how your campaigns are performing:
What Are the Most Common Paths to Conversion?
Understanding which journeys result in the most conversions shows you the sweet spot(s) for guiding users through the conversion path, allowing you to replicate this success in future campaigns.
What Is the Average Number of Touches Prior to Conversion?
An attribution report not only shows you what users visit and see before converting, but it also gives you an idea of the distance from start to finish of the journey. Understanding the length allows you to determine whether there are obstacles or barriers that could slow down the journey or cause users to drop off completely.
Which Content Is Generating the Most Conversions?
From blog posts to e-books to interactive content, knowing which content generates the most leads enables marketers to better understand which type of content—down to topic, format, and even placement—is resonating with your audience.
Which Channels Are Generating the Most Leads?
This type of performance insight is twofold: Identifying which channel is bringing in the most leads help you not only identify where your most engaged audience is, but also where your content performs the best.
Attribution reporting is a great way to better understand the steps a lead or buyer takes before converting and pinpoint what exactly led to the desired conversion. By using these reports, you can identify patterns on the way to conversion that can help marketers make the best decisions as they continue running successful campaigns.