Attribution is Only the Beginning

Attribution alone is not enough information to make important decisions about your business. It’s not enough to know that it came from paid vs. organic. It’s not enough to know that it came from Facebook vs. Google. It’s not even enough to know that it came from ad A vs. ad B. Until you know why, attribution is just a snapshot of what happened in the past. So, let’s understand the ‘why’ part.



First Things First

First things first – let’s talk about what attribution is, why it’s important, and what can be done with it. It’s important to define because depending on the kind of business you’re running, it could be very valuable or it could be just another data point without any true actionable insight. The idea behind attribution is the ability to see where a click comes from and in many cases even assign some value to that  click. It’s a means of understanding where your customers find how and even how some deals are started. In some cases, it’s also a means of understanding the multitude of clicks that are involved in a deal, opportunity or sale. However, without context, attribution is really only a single data point in a vast sea of behavior. So let’s dig into that.

Different Kinds of Attribution

There are many forms of attribution, so understanding which is valuable to your business is really step one. There’s first touch attribution, which tells you the first thing a client did before ending up in your pipeline. There’s last touch attribution, which tells you (as the name would suggest) the last thing a customer did before converting to revenue. Then there’s the various attributions that deal with all the clicks in the middle like multi-touch attribution, time-decay attribution, 40-20-40 attribution and so on. If you have a very simple sales cycle, then first or last touch attribution can be very useful. If not, you may want to look at one of the more complex attribution models.

Complex Sales Cycles

When dealing with complex sales cycles, like in the B2B sales world, focusing on a multi-touch attribution is likely more valuable for your sales, marketing and RevOps leaders. Reason being, when you have longer sales cycles with multiple influences, decision makers and touch points – being able to see how those various behaviors impact the bottom line are extremely important. Not only that, but when you can distinguish between each unique decision maker’s behavior on the website, the sales team can address them based on those behaviors and what’s specifically important to them.

Buyer Behavior

Now, let’s talk about those behaviors for a moment. Many platforms will take the multitude of influences, touch points and influencers and come up with some kind of activity score. This is where attribution has some major shortcomings. It’s not enough to just say that certain channels are more valuable because that’s where the most engaged leads come from or that certain channels generate more activity than others. Attribution is really only helpful for showing what someone (or everyone in an account) did – but it really can’t tell you what they’re going to do or which behaviors are more valuable than others. That’s why you’ll generally hear us talk about attribution as only being the beginning of understanding buyer intent.

Behavioral Buyer Intent

When you truly want to understand where attribution falls in the overall buyer intent (or purchase intent) conversation, you’ll want to look at additional things like pattern and sequences of behavior, overall account behavior, behavioral segmentation, and Click360’s AI modeling to truly understand how to see predictable revenue streams based on revenue. Check out some of these resources or reach out to learn how you predict future revenues based on things like attribution and how current on-site behaviors can predict future revenue conversions.