Lead attribution is an important and sometimes challenging topic for online marketers. It’s very easy to look at your analytics tools and KPIs without being fully aware of what the numbers are representing – and not representing! – in terms of attribution.
As B2B marketers this challenge can be even more complex. Attribution models for gated content often need to take account of offline and online activities, to deal with long conversion times, and to count the activities of multiple users from the same company.
So which attribution model is best for your gated content campaign? In this article we will look at different types of campaign and suggest which attribution models might suit each best.
Typical conversion paths in gated content campaigns
The charts on this page show 5 different paths that a user might take through a B2B gated content campaign. At its simplest your campaign might be just a lead generation form leading straight to a demo/sign-up or free trial. However, many campaigns are more complex than this and involve emails, content downloads or follow-up calls from a sales team. What’s more, usually there are several routes to conversion running in parallel. For example, where a user has filled in a lead-gen form, he or she may have opportunities to convert straight away, then also after reading the white paper, as well as after receiving a follow up email or call; and her colleagues in the same department might be on the same journey at the same time!
So how best to measure all this activity and create a easy-to-monitor view?
Which attribution model to choose for your Gated Content Campaign?
There are lots of attribution models now available for online marketers. Most easily, your analytics tool can be set to attribute all conversions to the last touch point of the user. This model is suitable for simple campaigns. For example, in the ‘path 3’ journey illustrated, where the user signs up after they clicked a link in an email.
For many of the paths to conversion, multi-touch attribution models are needed to achieve a full picture of what is going on and to assign performance ‘credit’ to the correct channel. Multi-touch models can assign this ‘credit’ evenly across all the points of contact or they can assign different weights to different interactions. Weighting is itself a complex topic with options to give more credit to different touch points, or to interactions based on when they occurred relative to conversion (time delay). Also, machine learning is now presenting options for algorithmic weighting models that ‘learn’ how best to attribute touch points, by analysing lots of different user journeys and their conversion rates.
So why not always go for a multi-touch attribution model?
Despite the increasing options and tech available to help you assign your B2B success to appropriate marketing channels, you may wish to stick to simpler models.
One issue is the expense and technical difficulty of setting up a complex multi-touch model. It can involve a lot of work from your BI team to create a dashboard that will pull data from several different systems and make sense of it. The more complex algorithmic tools may also be expensive to subscribe to. The question is whether it is really worth it, or is a simple last-touch model good enough for you to track the basic ROI and success rates of your campaigns?
There is also a transparency issue with more complex modelling. Do we know what the number we are looking at really means? If it’s last touch, then we know exactly what our performance by channel overview means when we glance at it in the morning. If it’s a weighted multi-touch model, we probably don’t.
Tracking at a company level
Nearly all B2B campaigns targeting companies of any substantial size should try and track site interactions at a company level. Whatever the number of touch points you are monitoring, you will get a confused picture of which channels are converting if you only track individual users.
Ultimately it is the company as a unit that converts and purchases your product. So, to get a picture of which channels made that happen, you need to aggregate the actions of all individual users from that company into one view. This is something you can set up relatively easily in google analytics.
Attribution is a complex topic in B2B marketing, and it’s likely that your approach to tracking your gated content will develop over time as you learn more and your technology improves. To make sure that you get the best start and to help make some first decisions on which attribution models to use, get in touch with our team of experts at BizMut. We can apply knowledge gained from hundreds of B2B campaigns to help you choose tracking solutions that are optimal and realisable, whatever your level of tech.