There’s No Such Thing as an Email or Facebook Customer. Here’s Why.
Marketing attribution models are put in place to help businesses determine which channel is doing the bulk of the work. In the simplest terms, they evaluate the effectiveness of each marketing channel; was it your targeted Facebook awareness campaign or that slick email sequence that finally cinched a customer?
The truth is: giving just one platform all the credit isn’t the answer.
It’s a team effort, and it’s important that marketers stop evaluating channels on only that channel’s performance. Just because your Facebook Ad didn’t result directly in a sale, that doesn’t mean it didn’t play an important role in the run-up to that sale. Every channel can work for every business – and could be working harder behind the scenes than you realise.
Let’s take a look at why the bigger picture means more than the scrutiny of single user touchpoints.
“Each channel could be working harder behind the scenes than you realise.”
What do you need to know about digital marketing attribution?
Before we get started, let’s take a look at the basics of digital marketing attribution. I liken each attribution model to a soccer match; when someone scores, who is really responsible for the goal?
- Last click attribution: The last click a user makes is responsible for the conversion, in a similar way that the player to kick the ball into the goal gets rewarded. In theory, this model ignores the part the rest of the team played.
- First click attribution: The avenue the user first engaged with your business is responsible for the sale. This can get complicated; if a user saw your ad but didn’t click on it, is that ad responsible for the final conversion? In the football example, we would praise the player on the scoring team that first intercepted the ball.
- Time decay attribution: This looks at the time difference between actions to afford a percentage of the credit to each customer touchpoint, depending on how close it is to the conversion. In the football example, the striker that ultimately scored the goal would be given the highest percentage, and the intercepting defender would get the lowest portion of the credit.
- Linear attribution: Multi-touch linear attribution gives equal credit to each channel involved in the sequence – or every player that touched the ball in the lead-up to the goal.
- Position-based attribution: Also called a “U-shaped attribution model”, this model distributes equal credit between the first and last touchpoints.
User behaviour varies depending on device, time-of-day & other key factors
In reality, giving one touch-point all the credit just because that’s where you see a physical sale doesn’t make much sense. What about the awareness ad that initially caught your customer’s attention? What about the ad they clicked on, and then closed again because they left their credit card at the office? You get the idea.
We see it all the time: people browse Facebook on their mobile, for example, during their lunch hour. They see an advert for a shirt they think would look great on them, but they don’t do anything there and then. They then Google the name of the brand from their work desktop to find out more about their shipping policies, but they still don’t make the purchase until later on at home – perhaps even from their partner’s device.
User behaviour is different depending on the device they’re using and how busy they are at that time. This means that attributed ROI doesn’t always reflect actual ROI, and the platforms you use could be playing a bigger part in a conversion than you’re able to tell through data alone.
The whole benefit of your marketing is greater than the sum of its parts
Sounds philosophical, but all we really mean is that your overall result means more than the conversion rate of each unique channel. Take this example: over a year, you spend the first quarter focusing on brand awareness ads, the second quarter on Google search ads, the third on performance ads and the last quarter on email marketing.
The total number of leads and sales each quarter would be less than if you ran all 4 campaigns at once. Your channels should work together as one integrated powerhouse, not be viewed as separate entities.
“Your channels should work together as one integrated powerhouse, not be viewed as separate entities.”
Focus on improvement over rejecting a channel
We all have our most and least favourite marketing platforms, but if you’re giving one of yours the evil eye and considering eliminating it completely, it could be time to simply shift your focus. Prioritise improving elements of each channel and stop solely concentrating on its performance.
For example, if your Google Ads aren’t performing as you’d hoped, don’t just cut the channel. Instead, look at why it’s not working. You could have a low CTR or a high CPC, and you simply need to tweak your campaign to yield better results. Shoot me a message for some advice on using data to build a powerful PPC campaign.
Every channel works for every business (when used properly)
Your digital strategy should be shaped by your industry, but every channel can work for every business when it’s given the right weightage. So, we wouldn’t advise a plumber to launch their advertising on Facebook, because most people aren’t browsing Facebook to find a plumber.
However, once a strong Google paid search and SEO strategy is in place, then Facebook could be a good avenue for brand awareness.
Give each channel the credit it deserves with WD
Hopefully by now it’s clear to see that there’s no such thing as an email or Facebook customer. Just because an avenue was a final touch point for a customer, doesn’t mean it’s working better for you than other channels. Taking an integrated approach and looking at the bigger picture is the best way to evaluate the overall effectiveness of your digital strategy.