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What is Attribution Reporting & What You Can Learn From It

Sohan Karuna
September 28, 2022
June 10, 2024
Table of Contents

According to Hubspot, marketers spend nearly 210 minutes a week analyzing data from different sources. What’s interesting, though, is that marketing professionals often struggle to determine the channels that facilitate customer journeys to fuel pipeline and revenue.

Coincidence? No.  

With a gamut of channels, touchpoints, platforms, and campaigns running simultaneously, it becomes difficult to determine which marketing strategy brings value to the table. 

Especially in the case of B2B marketing, multiple online & offline channels are involved. For instance, online channels involve social media, content, email marketing, etc., whereas offline channels include ebooks, webinars, workshops, meetings, etc.  

Thankfully, marketing attribution reporting can effectively solve this problem and assist businesses in shifting from intuition-driven strategies to customer-centric and data-driven strategies. 

Attribution reporting allows marketers to do an in-depth analysis at a granular level and give a clear picture of the direct impact of marketing strategies and tactics. 

Read our blog to understand exactly what attribution reporting is and what you can learn from marketing attribution reports to put your revenue growth on the fast lane . 

Let’s get started! 

Table Of Contents

  • What Is Attribution Reporting? 
  • Why Use Attribution Reporting And When To Use It? 
  • What You Can Learn From Marketing Attribution Reports?
  • How Can Organizations Leverage Attribution Reports To Skyrocket Their Conversions?
  • Bonus Information: What Is The Attribution Window 
  • Wrapping Up
  • FAQs

What Is Attribution Reporting? 

Attribution reporting gives you a bird's eye view of the path your customer took before converting. Moreover, it also gives an in-depth insight into how different marketing efforts have cohesively worked to fuel conversions. 

Attribution reporting will help you to determine the following. 

  • From which channels are the customers first becoming aware of your brand?
  • Which campaign is driving the maximum demo form submissions or signups?
  • Which piece of content/ad are they interacting with between opportunity creation and closed-won?
  • Provide an actionable view of the buyer’s journey across multiple stakeholders who interact with multiple touchpoints over many months. 
  • A transparent overview of the channels to generate leads, nurture them and finally convert.

You can leverage many attribution models to create a comprehensive report, such as first interaction, last interaction, linear attribution, etc. Attribution reporting gives crystal clear insights into the specific parts of your strategy and helps you highlight the areas that need improvement. 

All in all, marketing attribution reports summarize your customer journey data by building a timeline of touchpoints at a user and account level, combine that with vital channel metrics such as impressions, clicks, and spending and visualize the insights into a cohesive and effective report

Why Use Attribution Reporting, And When To Use It? 

One of the most rewarding aspects for a marketer is to see the successful result of their efforts. Once you start noticing the number of conversions from a strategy you have implemented or a piece of content you have posted, you know you have done your job right. 

But getting conversions is just one part of the job! The most gratifying part is to be able to measure and correlate the amount spent with the business ROI. 

This is where attribution reporting comes into play. 

An attribution report is nothing but a presentable outcome of your customer journey and campaign data. Therefore, an attribution report is only as valuable as the underlying data itself. Within your Marketing Strategy, attribution fulfills the need to optimize your marketing spending, allocate resources better, scale the right initiatives, and track channel performance.

That being said, you wouldn’t want to rely on a false source of optimization or, worse, vanity metrics to determine your marketing strategy. Attribution reporting provides you a credible foundation to build a data driven marketing execution engine.

Unlike a marketing team’s requirements for tracking KPIs, which tend to be an everyday ordeal, the frequency of usage of attribution reports is determined by the following factors

  • How frequently are the campaigns optimized?
  • What is the conversion cycle length from first touch to revenue
  • What is the cadence of executive reporting for the CMO
  • How frequently are budget re-allocation decisions made at your company

What You Can Learn From Marketing Attribution Reports?

Here are the learnings you can expect from marketing attribution reports. 

what you learn from attribution reporting
  1. Better Comparison With  Model-Based Information

Companies increasingly use a multi-channel approach to educate and inform their target audience based on their preferences.  However, when too many channels are in action, it becomes challenging to determine which channel contributed the most to pipeline and revenue. 

Attribution reporting allows marketers to determine the contribution of each channel based on the chosen model and compare the results of different types of attribution models to make your investment decisions. For example, an Influence attribution model shows the amount of pipeline and revenue influenced by each campaign or content, whereas a First Touch Attribution report only credits the campaign or content for the revenue where it was the very first touchpoint.

Further, the conversion goals in attribution can be set as Top of the Funnel KPIs such as Leads, Demos or Mid Funnel Metrics such as MQLs, SQLs or Bottom of the Funnel metrics such as Pipeline and Revenue, helping Marketers understand the influence of each channel at various stages of the funnel. 

If you are a Saas company with both a PLG flow (SignUp and then Product Milestones) as well as a sales-led flow (Demo and then Opportunity Creation), you can use attribution analysis to understand which channels are most effective for each of these go to market models.

compare first and last touch attribution for campaigns
compare first and last touch attribution reporting campaigns
  1.  Get An Overview Of Baseline Metrics

Baseline Metrics within Attribution provide a channel-level overview of investment metrics such as Impressions, Clicks, and Spending, along with platform-specific metrics such as Keyword Match Type, Search Impression Share for Google Ads. 

Attribution reporting tools aggregate these investment metrics across channels, enabling a Marketer to understand how much are they spending by a campaign, Ad group, creative, and keyword. Using these insights, Marketers can get a complete view of the performance metrics for each Campaign.

get an overview of baseline metrics
  1. Analyze Conversion Metrics

A good attribution report combines the baseline investment metrics along with conversion metrics across the funnel such as leads, demos, SQLS, pipeline, and revenue. This helps Marketing teams move beyond measuring marketing efforts on metrics such as leads and get an accurate understanding of the impact on pipeline and revenue.  

Based on this information, you can assess the following:

  • How many leads does each channel or campaign generate?
  • How many of these leads are then converted to demos and sales-qualified leads by the campaign?
  • How much pipeline and revenue were influenced by each of these channels or campaigns?
Analyze Conversion Metrics
Analyze Conversion Metrics
Analyze Conversion Metrics
  1. To Get Clarity On ROAS 

ROAS (return on ad spend) is a crucial metric that is used to measure the total revenue generated on every dollar spent on marketing. By bringing together the investment and conversion metrics, Attribution Reports highlights the profit margin and ROAS at a campaign, ad group, creative, or keyword level.

Companies may define different ROAS thresholds based on the type of campaigns - such as Product Feature Promotion, Competitive Takeout, and Brand Building. Also, depending on whether the campaign is more experimental (entry into a new product category or new geographic territory) or a well-established one, the ROAS thresholds may be different. Granular ROAS data allows marketers to make data-informed bidding decisions resulting in cost savings and improvement in return metrics.

  1. Non-Paid Channels vs Paid Channels

It has always been a struggle for Marketers to determine whether paid or non-paid channels help accelerate your sales. However, attribution reporting gives you an extensive overview of different channels (such as Paid Search, Social, Referrals, Review Sites, and Organic Content) and their contribution to pipeline and revenue.

For instance, Let’s assume your business is active on LinkedIn and drives traffic from the platform through posts and ad campaigns. But when a lead is converted through LinkedIn, you will need to know which tactic contributed to the result - Was it the organic posts or ad campaigns? 

With attribution reporting, you can determine whether the lead got converted organically from the posts you shared or the ads campaign you are running or whether both tactics played a part in the conversion. 

A distinction between direct and non-direct sources of traffic helps identify your PPC leads and your organic ones. This, in turn, helps both the paid marketing teams and the content marketing teams optimize their execution strategies.

  1. Attributing Sales Funnel

Attribution reports also enable Marketers to go beyond a single conversion goal and visualize the entire marketing and sales funnel (Leads, Demos, SQLs, Pipeline, and Revenue) at a channel, campaign, or ad group level. 

Armed with this data, Marketers can get a sense of the conversion rates by channel for each stage and focus their efforts accordingly.

Attributing Sales Funnel

  1. Get A Clear Picture With Data Visualization

Lastly, because the Attribution Reports and underlying data are exhaustive and cover the entire customer journey and channel mix, it may feel a bit daunting to analyze this data solely in tabular form. 

The report can include dimensions such as keywords (and associated metadata such as keyword match type), ad groups, campaigns, campaign themes, and channels, as well as metrics such as spend, impressions, clicks, CTR, and conversion metrics as well. 

Phew.. - quite a handful to analyze this table of 15+ columns and 100+ rows to unearth actionable insights. This is where intuitive visualizations play a role in facilitating a better understanding of the data through formats such as scatter plots, bar charts, and line vs bar visualizations.

Get A Clear Picture With Data Visualization
Get A Clear Picture With Data Visualization
get a clear picture of data visulaization

Further, an AI-powered attribution tool like factors.ai  is capable of offering augmented features in a report, such as recommendations on campaign bidding, trends in cost per MQL and SQL, and much more) 

How Can Organizations Leverage Attribution Reports To Skyrocket Their Conversions?

Now that you know what you can learn from attribution reports, we will take you to the next step. After doing an in-depth attribution analysis, now is the time to take some steps to accelerate the momentum of the conversions. 

Following are some ways organizations can leverage attribution reports:  

  1. To Create A Result-Driven Content Strategy 

A crucial part of online marketing is creating a content strategy to ensure that the content created will be focused on the customer journey stage they are in. 

With attribution data, marketers can get an overview of the entire customer journey and leverage it to build a result-driven content strategy. 

  1. Where Should You Expend Your Marketing Efforts? 

We all know attribution reporting gives deep insights into which channels drive conversions and users. Therefore, we can focus on those specific channels and generate maximum leads.  

  1. To Fully Understand The Customer’s Journey 

You may know which channel drove the conversions, but you should also know about the touchpoints your customer interacted with before converting. 

Attribution reporting has the capability to do so, and therefore, it allows you to fully understand the customer’s journey right from the start till the end. 

Understanding this will allow you to create more effective strategies and journey paths that are aligned with buyer preferences.

Bonus Information: What Is The Attribution Window? 

An attribution window, also known as a conversion window, is the timeframe within which conversion will be attributed to a touchpoint. In layperson’s words, it can be defined as a time frame between which a potential lead viewed/clicked on your ad/piece of content and later performed your desired conversion action

 For example, suppose your attribution window is 20 days. In that case, any touchpoints (like users interacting with your landing page) incurred by prospects will only be linked to a conversion (actions like a demo request) if it occurred within 20 days of the touchpoint. Attribution windows also help distinguish your fresh leads from your re-engaged ones and hence remove the impact of interactions that happened a while ago.

The total number of conversions can be skewed if you don’t set the right attribution window. If you look it up, they’re different recommendations on setting an attribution window. Some recommend as little as 7 days, while others suggest 90 or 180 days. 

Setting the attribution window is largely dependent on the expected conversion cycle from first visit to revenue as well as the internal understanding among Go to Market teams (Sales and Marketing) on what would be the appropriate conversion window. Our recommendation would be to compute your average conversion cycle based on historical data and set double that value, post aligning with the sales team.

what is attriution window

Wrapping Up

Without a doubt, we can say that attribution reporting is the most effective way to understand and measure the impact of Marketing Efforts on business outcomes. Insights generated from marketing attribution can become your most valuable asset to drive maximum ROI. 

When picking a solution to power your Attribution reporting, you want the best of the best. So keep your eyes peeled for solutions that offer capabilities such as:

  • Bring in touchpoints from across data sources - such as website events (digital marketing)and offline touchpoints (webinars, events, e-books, sales calls, and meetings)
  • Attributing your entire marketing and sales funnel stages and rather than focusing on a single conversion point such as Leads.
  • Present both baseline investment metrics and conversion metrics, with the computation of ROI at a channel, campaign, ad group, keyword, page URL, or Theme level.
  • Has advanced features to distinguish between new business vs expansions or new leads vs reactivated ones.

Opting for a solution that has these capabilities and more can take your attribution reporting to the next level.

Get started with attribution reporting with Factors.ai 

Factors.ai is an AI-empowered attribution reporting tool that helps you to fuel your marketing efforts by effectively comparing and customizing attribution models to generate a clearer picture based on metrics. 

get started with attribution reporting

Factors.ai has the capability to create attribution reports at both company and user levels, can track both website and non-website events, and has a customized dashboard that collects and visualizes all crucial data in one place.

If you’re interested in taking your business to next level by analyzing your marketing efforts with robust multi-touch attribution modeling and deep data-driven insights to make an informed decision then, schedule a demo and start for FREE at factors.ai.

FAQs ‍

  1. What does attribution mean in marketing?

In marketing, attribution refers to the process of identifying and assigning credit to the various marketing channels and touchpoints that contribute to a conversion [or any desired action]. 

By understanding the effectiveness of these different marketing channels, businesses can optimize their marketing budget and resources to maximize their ROI.

  1. Why is attribution reporting important for marketers in 2023? 

Attribution reporting provides a holistic view of how different marketing channels work together to drive conversions and revenue. It enables marketers to see which channels drive the most conversions and revenue and which are driving the most users to their website or mobile app. 

With this information, marketers can make more informed decisions about where to allocate their marketing budget and resources.

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