5 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Marketing Attribution

Published On: 20 May 2023


Explore our blog to uncover the 5 most common mistakes in marketing attribution and learn effective strategies to enhance your campaign's success.

Are you struggling to accurately attribute your ecommerce marketing efforts? You're not alone. The world of marketing attribution is complex, and even the most seasoned marketers can make mistakes along the way.

A recent study by Forrester revealed that 77% of marketers still struggle with accurately measuring the performance of their marketing efforts. Even renowned industry expert, Neil Patel, acknowledged, "The biggest mistake marketers make is not picking the right (attribution) model. This leads to skewed data, bad decisions, and a lower marketing ROI."

In this article, we'll explore some of the common mistakes to avoid in ecommerce marketing attribution to help you make more informed and effective decisions for your business.

Mistake #1: Relying on a Single Attribution Model

A common mistake in ecommerce marketing attribution is relying on a single attribution model to measure success. Attribution models are algorithms that help you assign credit to different marketing touchpoints. However, no single model is perfect, and relying on one model alone can lead to incomplete or inaccurate data.

It's important to understand the different types of attribution models available and their strengths and weaknesses.

Types of Attribution Models

  • First-touch attribution gives credit to the first touchpoint a customer has with your brand.
  • Last-touch attribution, on the other hand, gives credit to the final touchpoint before a customer makes a purchase.
  • Linear attribution distributes credit evenly across all touchpoints in a customers journey.
  • Multi-touch attribution allows you to assign credit to multiple touchpoints in a customer's journey.

Each model has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the right model for your business may depend on your specific goals and audience.

Choosing the Right Model for Your Business

When choosing an attribution model, it's essential to consider your audience's behavior and preferences. For example, if your audience typically makes multiple touchpoints before making a purchase, a multi-touch attribution model may be more appropriate than a first-touch attribution model.

It's also important to consider your business goals. Are you looking to increase brand awareness or drive conversions? Different attribution models may be better suited to different goals.

Ultimately, your choice of an attribution model should align with your business goals and the behavior of your target audience. By using multiple attribution models and analyzing the data from each, you can gain a complete understanding of the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Shri Kanase, an ecommerce expert shares his hot take on the topic:

Shri Kanase, an ecommerce expert shares his hot take on Attribution Models

Mistake #2: Ignoring Cross-Device and Cross-Channel Tracking

One of the most common mistakes ecommerce businesses make is ignoring cross-device and cross-channel tracking in their marketing efforts. Cross-device behavior refers to when a customer interacts with your brand across multiple devices, such as a desktop computer and a mobile phone. Cross-channel behavior refers to when a customer interacts with your brand across multiple marketing channels, such as social media and email.

It's important to understand the impact of cross-device and cross-channel behavior on your marketing efforts. Ignoring this behavior can lead to incomplete or inaccurate attribution, as you're only measuring a fraction of a customer's journey. When a customer interacts with your brand on multiple devices and channels, it's important to track those interactions to gain a complete understanding of their journey and to assign credit to different touchpoints accurately.

The Impact of Cross-Device and Cross-Channel Behavior

Let's say a customer sees an ad for your product on their mobile device, but doesn't make a purchase until later on their desktop computer. If you're not tracking cross-device behavior, you may not realize that the mobile ad played a role in the eventual sale. Similarly, if a customer sees an ad on social media and receives an email with a special offer, you'll want to track both touchpoints to understand which one was more effective in converting the customer.

By tracking cross-device and cross-channel behavior, you'll be able to gain a better understanding of your customer's journeys and make more informed decisions about your marketing strategy. You'll also be able to identify areas where you may be losing customers, such as if many customers abandon their shopping cart on mobile devices but complete the purchase on desktop computers.

Implementing Effective Tracking Strategies

To accurately track cross-device and cross-channel behavior, you need to implement effective tracking strategies. This may include using cookies and device IDs to tie interactions across different devices and channels to the same user. Additionally, you may need to invest in third-party tools to help you track and analyze cross-device and cross-channel behavior.

One effective strategy is to use a customer data platform (CDP) to unify customer data across all touchpoints. A CDP can help you track customer behavior across devices and channels, and can even help you create personalized marketing campaigns based on that behavior.

customer data platform (CDP) - Lifesight

Another strategy is to use a multi-touch attribution model, which assigns credit to multiple touchpoints along a customer's journey. This can help you understand which touchpoints are most effective in converting customers and can help you optimize your marketing strategy accordingly.

Mistake #3: Not Giving Credit to Assisted Conversions

Stepping into the complex world of conversions, marketers sometimes overlook one of the most crucial contributors – assisted conversions. While direct conversions are easier to track and credit, not all marketing touchpoints lead directly to a sale. However, they still play a significant part in nudging the customer along their purchase journey.

Assisted conversions refer to when a marketing touchpoint contributes to a sale but isn't the last touchpoint before the sale.

For example, a customer may click on a social media ad but not make a purchase until they receive an email campaign. Without giving credit to the social media ad that initiated the customer's journey, you'll undervalue the impact of that touchpoint.

However, it's important to note that not all assisted conversions are created equal. Some touchpoints may have a greater impact on the customer's decision-making process than others.

For instance, a customer may have visited your website multiple times before making a purchase, but it was the customer service representative who provided the final push they needed to make the purchase. In this case, the customer service representative's touchpoint would be more valuable than the website visits in terms of contributing to the sale.

How to measure and analyze assisted conversions?

You can measure and analyze assisted conversions using multi-touch attribution models, which take into account all of the touchpoints involved in a customer's journey. These models assign a value to each touchpoint based on its contribution to the sale. By giving credit to all relevant touchpoints, you'll gain a more accurate understanding of the ROI of your marketing efforts.

It's also important to note that multi-touch attribution models can vary in their complexity. Some models may assign equal value to each touchpoint, while others may assign more value to touchpoints that occur closer to the sale. It's important to choose a model that aligns with your business goals and objectives.

In addition to using multi-touch attribution models, you can also use tools like Google Analytics to track and analyze assisted conversions. Google Analytics provides a variety of reports that can help you understand the impact of each touchpoint in a customer's journey.

Mistake #4: Failing to Account for Offline Conversions

Think of print ads, direct mail, and billboards as secret agents whispering your brand's name. Even a casual chat between friends can be a powerful advocate for your business.

In our digital age, these offline messengers carry your brand's message into the physical world, subtly influencing online buying decisions. While ecommerce thrives online, remember, it's rooted in the real world too.

To avoid this mistake, here are a few tips to consider:

  • Incorporate Offline Touchpoints: Make an effort to track offline touchpoints as much as possible. This could include using unique URLs or QR codes for print ads, or asking customers how they heard about you during the checkout process.
  • Utilize Omnichannel Analytics Tools: There are tools available that can help bridge the gap between online and offline channels, providing a more holistic view of your marketing efforts.
  • Offline Events and Direct Mail: Offline marketing methods like events or direct mail often have a significant impact. Make sure to track these and include them in your marketing attribution models.
  • Survey Customers: Conduct regular surveys to understand how different offline touchpoints may be influencing their buying journey.

A leader in content strategy Christoph Trappe, shares his thoughts:

A leader in content strategy Christoph Trappe, shares his thoughts

Mistake #5: Neglecting Regular Data Analysis and Adjustment

Marketing attribution is not a static process, and a "set it and forget it" approach could lead you astray. The digital marketing landscape is continually evolving, and so are your customers' behaviors.

Therefore, your attribution model should adapt over time. If you stick rigidly to the same model without reassessing its effectiveness regularly, you might miss significant shifts in how your marketing touchpoints are contributing to conversions.

As an example, consider a scenario where you launch a new social media campaign. If you don't consistently analyze and adjust your attribution model, you might not recognize the impact this campaign has on your sales. In other words, you risk undervaluing the success of the new campaign and overvaluing other marketing efforts.

To improve, consider these tips:

  • Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular intervals, such as monthly or quarterly, to review your attribution data and check if your current model still reflects the customer journey accurately.
  • Test Different Models: Don't shy away from experimenting with different attribution models. The effectiveness of models can vary based on your business type, customer behavior, and the channels you use.
  • Implement Real-Time Adjustments: Use attribution software that allows real-time data analysis and adjustments. This way, you can react swiftly to changes in your customers' behaviors or your marketing strategies.
  • Keep Up With Trends: Stay updated with the latest trends in customer behaviors and marketing strategies. As these evolve, so should your attribution model.

Wrapping up

While marketing attribution can be complex, avoiding these common mistakes can help you gain a more accurate understanding of your ecommerce marketing ROI and make more informed decisions about future strategies.

Remember to choose the right attribution model for your business, track cross-device and cross-channel behavior, give credit to assisted conversions and account for offline conversions. By avoiding these mistakes, you'll be well on your way to ecommerce marketing success.

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