Don’t Be Afraid of Multi-Channel Marketing Attribution

This post originally appeared in Multichannel Merchant. 

Marketing attribution can be a little intimidating.

Should you do first, last, or multi-touch attribution? How do you measure multiple channels? How should you weight your attribution? There’s so many choices to make it can be overwhelming.

If you’re feeling stressed by the complexity of multi-channel marketing attribution, you’re not alone. According to eMarketer, marketers will spend nearly 58% of their time trying to understand cross-channel measurement and attribution this year, and more than 80% of senior-level marketing professionals are interested in learning more about multi-channel attribution.

There’s a reason so many marketers are focused on multi-channel attribution today: it’s incredibly important. More buyers than ever are engaging with your brand through email, social media, paid ads, and push notifications. You really can’t lump all those different channels together and expect to understand them fully.

So what should you do? Get a better handle on multi-channel marketing attribution for your own brand and you’ll see huge improvements in how you define the true ROI of your marketing activities.

You have to measure multiple channels

Every B2C marketer today is already investing in multiple channels, doing a million different things to drive revenue with creative marketing campaigns on Instagram, Google, Facebook, traditional email marketing campaigns, and more. It’s obvious that you can’t ignore one of these lucrative channels when it comes to your ecommerce marketing, so how can you ignore it when it comes to analytics and attribution?

You really can’t rely on simple vanity metrics like clicks or opens — you have to tie everything you do in marketing directly to revenue. In the past, marketing leaders knew that they influenced X amount of revenue, but it was much harder to pin down exactly which campaigns influenced sales and how to attribute revenue to specific channels. Now, you have the tools to understand which campaigns work on which channel, so you can truly optimize and continually improve your marketing.

Centralize your marketing data

The first step to achieving multi-channel marketing attribution is to unify all of your customer data in one place. You have to understand every action of your buyer — from the moment they first visit your site anonymously, to when they first share their email, to when they make their first, second, and third purchases. By using user resolution, you can better understand who your buyers are and what they care about most.

With a 360 degree view of the customer, you can see vital data like:

  • The campaign and channel that first engaged the buyer
  • How often the buyer returned to your site or viewed your content
  • How many emails they opened/ads they clicked and in what order
  • Exactly how many campaigns they engaged with as a prospect
  • Which channel or campaign finally drove a conversion

With this aggregate data in hand, you can understand your marketing down to the most granular level. You can actually do the math and say that Campaign X had a specific $X amount of contribution to your bottom line based on first, last, or weighted attribution models. You’ll understand not only your acquisition costs, but also the ROI of your campaigns to drive long-term customer loyalty.

Analyze performance by channel and campaign

Ok, that all sounds great, but how do you actually use this valuable data? You can now analyze exactly how much revenue each campaign and channel is bringing into your business. The report below is an example that ties revenue directly to the last campaign a buyer interacted with before making a purchase.

You can see that the “auto-tagged” campaign is the top performer in terms of a final conversion for your buyers. You can further drill down the report to understand what specific campaigns are generating the most revenue for specific segments or lifecycle stages. You can then run other reports that directly tie your revenue to specific channels, like email marketing or search ads. In the report below, you can see not just the overall open and click-through rates for an email campaign, but also the actual revenue ordered that is tied directly to this specific campaign.

Now that you know which campaigns and channels drive the most revenue, you can also get data on the products that drive the most revenue for your brand.

In this report, it’s clear that electronics are a top performer, followed closely by clothing and accessories. All of these powerful reports are only possible if you unify your customer data and carefully track your marketing interactions at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Learn from your failures

This data is all interesting, but what do you actually DO with it? As a B2C marketer, I’m sure the possibilities are immediately obvious. If you understand your best campaigns, your best channels, and your top-selling products, you can quickly optimize a high performing campaign almost guaranteed to engage your buyers.

But even if your first optimized campaign doesn’t immediately work, this data can constantly inform your ecommerce marketing strategy. You can automate your reporting to get these exact reports on a weekly basis — constantly keeping an eye on your marketing. You’ll always have a pulse on which channels perform the best, which campaigns are working great, and can even catch issues before they become problems for your team.

With a better understanding of multi-channel marketing attribution, there’s so much you can do. With these detailed revenue attribution reports, you’ll be a star on your marketing team for sure.

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