What is attribution?
Attribution is the practice of attributing every sale or lead that your business gets to a particular advertising spend or channel. By doing this, businesses can know which advertising spend is generating greatest ROI. This knowledge empowers businesses to make informed decisions about budget allocation between various channels. Without accurate attribution data, businesses really are just guessing as to which advertising spend is working and which is not.
Getting Set up for Attribution:
Identify how leads and customers engage with your company.
While many businesses include an email address on their website, this makes attribution impossible. If someone simply copies that email address and sends your company a mail, knowing from where they found your business is impossible. To this end, we advise companies not to include an email address on their website. Rather, use large, simple inquiry forms. Do not ask for unnecessary information in these forms as all information can be got when you speak to the lead.
2. Inquiry Forms:
Now that you have removed all mentions of your email address, those who wish to make an inquiry need to use the inquiry form on the website. Once the lead clicks send, (s)he should be re-directed to a thank you page. This thank you page can be set up as a destination URL goal in Google Analytics.
3. Telephone Calls:
Many leads and customers will wish to make contact with your business via the telephone. If no system is in place to attribute each call to a particular advertising channel, you really have no idea from where the calls are originating. By implementing a telephone tracking solution, each user that visits your website sees a telephone number unique to them. If they return to the site at a later date, they see the same number as the system recognises the user by a cookie dropped on their system the first time they visit the website. If they go ahead and phone your company, a virtual page view can be triggered and this can be tracked in Google Analytics as a goal. So, every time someone calls your business, a goal is triggered in Analytics and so the source of the call can be tracked. In order to weed out calls from existing customers, sales people, internal calls etc, most telephone tracking systems have a facility whereby at the end of the call, the operator can press a number to specify what type of call it was. For example, press 1 for a lead or 2 for a sale. Depending on which number is pressed, a different goal is triggered. If no button is pressed, for example after an internal call, then no goal is triggered.
4. Live Chat:
Live chat is a great way to encourage visitors to your website to make contact with you. However, if this is in place, it is important for engagement with your chat function to be set up as a goal in Analytics so that the source of those who use this facility can be tracked.
5. E-commerce tracking:
For those businesses that make sales on their website, it is crucial that e-commerce tracking is set up in Google Analytics.
6. In-store purchases:
This is perhaps the most difficult type of customer to track. Typically the most effective way of tracking the source of such customers is through the use of discount codes. When advertising on a particular medium, reference a discount code that if mentioned in-store, will ensure the customer gets a minor discount. By mentioning different codes on different channels, some intelligence can be gathered on where these customers are finding out about your business.
Making use of the data:
Once the above measures are in place, you will have a wealth of data to analyse and take action upon. One key question to ask at this point is what attribution model should I use? The options available are set out in this post Once you have decided on an attribution model to use, each month attribute all sales and leads to particular advertising channels. Analyse which channels are delivering results and which need improvements. Divert advertising spend away from ineffective channels and into those channels which are performing best. By knowing the source of all sales and leads that come into your business, you can become a far more scientific marketer spending more on what works and eliminating what doesn’t!
Eddie O’ Driscoll is the managing director of DPFOC UK and Ireland and writes regularly on all topics related to online marketing,