What is Attribution

This lesson provides a definition of attribution, an comparison of single-touch and multi-touch attribution methods, and a comparison of attribution between B2C and B2B businesses.

Hi, I’m Jordan, and I’m the Product Marketing Manager here at Bizible. Welcome to the first lesson in the Bizible 101 Core Series. In this lesson, we’re going to look at what marketing attribution is and why it matters. So let’s get started. Broadly speaking, marketing attribution is the measuring and assigning of credit to a marketing interaction between an organization and a prospect. Crediting those interactions enables the marketer to understand which of their efforts are effective and which are not.
The term marketing attribution is often used in different ways. Sometimes, it’s used to describe metrics for marketing automation, or evaluating the effectiveness of marketing campaigns for lead or opportunity generation. But as we’ll see, marketing attribution has a much broader scope than that and can include the measuring of the entire sales cycle, along with pipeline revenue, close one revenue, and everything in between.
Let’s have a look at a few examples of attribution, ranging from less to more complex. The simplest example of attribution in the B2C world is when a customer makes a purchase or converts after clicking on an ad. An attribution report here would tell you which ad the customer clicked on, which website it was displayed on in order to attribute the full amount of the sale to that particular interaction. This is called single touch attribution, where a single marking touch the online ad led to the sale. It’s certainly nice to know which ad led to a sale, but what if, instead of clicking on an ad and making a purchase, the customer clicks on an ad, then leaves, then the next day sees a banner ad on a different website, clicks on it and leaves. And then a few days later, searches for the product and clicks on an organic search result before finally making the purchase. If multiple digital marketing interactions are involved, it’d be misleading to attribute full credit to either the first or the last interaction that took place before converting. For an accurate picture of how your marketing efforts perform, it’s important to include every digital marketing interaction into your attribution report and to distribute credit among them. This is called multi-touch attribution, and it provides a significant improvement to understanding your marketing impact. Companies like Amazon have entire teams dedicated to appropriately waiting attribution for B2C transactions. As we move from B2C into the B2B world, however, sales cycles become much more complicated. Paid digital marketing is still an important piece of the puzzle, but many other sales activities come into play as well. For instance, conferences and trade shows create new hot leads. You then visit your website and fill out a form, are called by a BDR, click on an ad, receive a mailer, decide to schedule a phone call then a demo before finally being converted to an opportunity. After they convert to an opportunity, a combination of sales and marketing activities combined to drive them down the funnel to become paying customers. Tracking and attributing value to all of those interactions requires not only multi-touch attribution, but also multi-channel attribution, including both online and offline channels. This is important so that you can judge the impact not only of your marketing channels, but of your entire sales funnel, focusing on what works in both sales and in marketing. So just to recap, attribution is the assigning of credit to some interaction between a prospect and your organization. It can refer to both single touch, single channel attribution, or multi-touch, multi-channel attribution, or even predictive attribution through the use of algorithms. In the next lesson, we’ll go over the ways that Bizible solves this problem of multi-touch, multi-channel attribution for B2B sales cycles.