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Why You Should Look at Multiple Attribution Models to Decide Where to Spend Your Advertising Dollars

Attribution models were invented as a solution to an ancient marketing puzzle: How do you know which of your ads are most effective at generating conversions? 

Given that marketing campaigns typically include a variety of ads posted on multiple channels, getting to the bottom of that mystery can be a complicated task…

…and this complexity is reflected in the assortment of different attribution models out there, each with their champions and detractors, each promising to cast light on the shadowy customer journey to the eventual sale. 

marketing attribution models with adbeacon

Busy marketers don’t usually have time for time-consuming analyses of every attribution model and their relative strengths They need to hurry up and choose a model that will get the job done – accurately. 

But which one is that? First-click? Last-click? Linear? Full impact? 

In many cases, the answer is depressingly simple: none of the above.

More and more marketing professionals are discovering that no single model is 100% accurate—or even close to that—when it comes to pinpointing the touchpoints responsible for bringing in conversions. 

But the proper response to this dilemma is not to despair and chuck all those attribution models out the nearest window. 

What you need to do instead is learn how to use multiple models. 

This is the best way to cover your bases, so to speak, and get a truly comprehensive view of the paths your customers are taking before they hand over their money.

attribution in paid media marketing with adbeacon

Weaknesses of Specific Attribution Models

Attribution models are fundamentally methods of guessing why customers decide to purchase goods or services from a particular company. 

As such, they are necessarily imprecise. 

Every marketing attribution model has significant shortcomings, at least in some use cases. Here’s a brief overview of the issues associated with a few of the more popular models:

First-click attribution:

This model assigns 100% credit to the first touchpoint in a customer journey, and it tends to work best with businesses that have short sales cycles. 

However, its main drawback is obvious: It ignores all touchpoints after the first, which can lead to a distorted view of the true conversion path.

Last-click attribution:

This model assigns 100% credit to the last touchpoint. 

It is more commonly used than first-click attribution but also shares the same weakness: an oversimplified view of the customer journey.

Linear attribution:

This model assigns equal credit to all touchpoints. 

While it has the advantage of covering the entire conversion path (at least within a specified time window), the linear model fails to consider the relative impact of each touchpoint.

Full impact: 

Another multi-touch attribution tool, this model gives full conversion credit to each touchpoint or interaction along a customer’s journey. 

The full impact model aims to provide a comprehensive view of the sales funnel, and it can enable marketers to easily grasp the overall effectiveness of their efforts, but it also tends to exaggerate the revenues generated by any particular touchpoint.

Not A Simple Answer...

The drawbacks of traditional models have inspired an increasing number of marketers to craft custom attribution schemes that are aligned with the unique characteristics and marketing needs of a particular business. 

So-called data-driven attribution is one result of this fast-growing movement in marketing customization. 

This method analyzes wide-ranging consumer datawebsite views, video clicks, ad exposures, and more—to determine which pathways are most likely to generate conversions. 

Although the data-driven approach can produce very reliable predictive outcomes and buyer personas, you need a lot of data to conduct proper analyses, and it’s a much more complicated procedure than using the more established models

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Benefits of Using Multiple Attribution Models

There’s no law confining you to any particular attribution model. 

In fact, injecting a little variety into your marketing models may be the best approach. 

By using two (or more) models, you can obtain a more comprehensive view of what your customers are doing in cyberspace. 

So what models should you combine for your marketing strategy? 

One common approach is to use two very different models—for instance, a single-touch model (e.g., last-click) and a multi-touch model (e.g., linear). 

This will provide a fuller picture of which channels are producing results. 

It will be easier to figure out how customers are being pulled into your marketing funnel, and what is inspiring them to convert. 

The key is to experiment until you find the right combination of models that works for you. 

And the AdBeacon optimization platform is the state-of-the-art tool that can help with this task.

marketing channels with adbeacon

Attribution with AdBeacon

AdBeacon comes with a wealth of features that enable marketers to see which ads and channels are generating the best results. 

These features include a variety of attribution models, which rely on your own first-party data to ensure accuracy in assigning conversion credit. 

With the AdBeacon ad optimization platform, you have four attribution models to choose from (first-click, last-click, full impact, and linear), and it’s a simple matter to switch models whenever you wish. 

And adjustable time windows ensure that you won’t be limited by the arbitrary constraints of Facebook and other social media platforms. 

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