Attribution. It’s hard to deny that it is the biggest marketing concern in 2019. Especially, for B2B and Considered Purchase lead generation. Digital companies now have a veritable plethora of viable and effective marketing channels available for lead generation. These include social media, paid search, organic search, paid social, affiliates, email marketing, marketing automation, and many more.
In addition, today’s buyers are also more complex in their purchasing patterns. In 2015, the average B2B nurture funnel was 12 months long with the full marketing and sales funnel taking about 512 days from lead to sale on average!
Considered purchase funnels are not quite there yet but moving in the direction of B2B funnels. The average consumer comes in contact with a brand 6 times on average before they purchase, which is 4 times higher than it was 15 years ago.
2/3 of touch points in the considered purchase funnel involve time consuming processes like online reviews and word of mouth recommendations from friends and family.
The irony of digital marketing is that the more successful a marketing funnel is that harder it becomes to attribute success. The more touch points a brand can have them more successful its marketing funnel can be. However, ironically, the harder that success becomes to measure, attribute, and make strategic data-driven decisions.
So, what’s a marketer to do?! How can marketers better understand where to invest their budgets if they can’t be sure which marketing channel to attribute success or failure to? Fortunately, there are solutions to this problem—or are there?
According to ChiefMarTech, there are over 7,040 marketing technology solutions designed to help marketers reach their audiences digitally and accurately. Almost 200 of those solutions are designed specifically to track your user data, and attribute leads to resources you’ve spent.
This cacophony of attribution solutions has created an ironic situation. Instead of simplifying things, the abundance of “solutions” can create further complications. Figuring out the right solution for your company’s needs can be difficult. Some might shy away from this but a good place to start figuring out the right attribution software for your needs is understanding the right attribution model for your customer/user journey.
What Are Attribution Models?
An attribution model is a set of rules that helps you determine a consistent way to assign credit for sales to the various touchpoints in your customers’ path to conversion. A common and very simple one is the “last click” attribution model, which gives credit for a purchase to whatever marketing element a customer last interacted with.
In other words, a customer can view your Facebook ads, click on a banner ad, search for your business on several search engines, and then visit your site after seeing your ad on YouTube. The YouTube ad would get 100% of the credit for that conversion.
Obviously, this model doesn’t account for the fact that the customer was exposed to your business through other marketing channels, and as such is somewhat flawed. More sophisticated attribution models exist to account for situations like this, where it’s not clear which channel deserves the credit.
In fact, this model is on its way out from the digital attribution landscape largely because it reduces marketing content to direct and aggressive pitches that no longer work as well.
Why Multi-Touch Attribution Models Dominate the Landscape
The modern customer journey is not linear. That’s why first-click or last-click attribution models tend to miss the big picture, and fail to provide an accurate representation of what the customer journey is really like. This means multi-touch attribution models tend to provide a more accurate representation of attribution. However, they don’t come without their own set of problems, which is probably why many marketers are still reluctant to adopt them.
Facebook Vs. Google
Combined, Facebook and Google dominate 58% of digital ad spending. For many marketers, they are by far the most significant marketing channels, if not the only ones they utilize. However, the most common attribution platform, Google Analytics, has no idea what happens in Facebook ads, and Facebook Analytics has no understanding of the Google programmatic exchange.
So, with most digital businesses using Facebook and Google Analytics for tracking and attribution, they aren’t actually able to determine the correct attributions to their social media marketing channels, free or paid. That’s one reason why “dark social” is one of the biggest lead attribution issues facing digital marketing.
With the possibility of attribution inaccuracy in different models, Facebook, and Google Analytics, how does one figure out what exactly is driving leads to a business?
Marketing Attribution Software to the Rescue
The answer lies in finding the right marketing attribution software solution. But with over 7,000 software platforms vying to solve the problem of marketing attribution, how do you know which is the right one to choose for your business?
While every business serves its own market, and has different needs and constraints, there are a few universally helpful features that we always like to see:
- Easy implementation
- Various attribution model options
- Link tracking and creation
- Channel management (separate reporting for each channel)
- Omni-channel reporting (reporting that includes all channels in one)
- Accuracy in both big-picture and fine-grained analysis
- Reasonable pricing
Keeping those prerequisites in mind, here’s our list of winning choices for your business.
The Top 10 Marketing Attribution Software Solutions for 2019
Altitude promises deep insights into customer behaviors, which it delivers by offering a wide range of customization options for reporting and attribution modeling. Their internal analytics suites offer a choice of rules-based or machine learning modeling, and, if needed, you can supply your own ruleset.
However, with great analytics power comes a great deal of setup and maintenance. Fortunately, Impact provides excellent ongoing support to help you get the most out of their product. “It takes a long time to set up and QA Altitude until you can trust the data,” writes one reviewer, “but it can yield great insights once fully set up.”
Dark social is a big issue because most social networks are closed gardens. First of all, social networks don’t share a lot of their data with external tracking tools. Secondly, social networks are based on user-generated content which lacks customized links with attribution parameters like UTMs. Oktopost was built by marketers, for marketers. It comes with the promise of bringing all social data into your CRM, and providing visibility into the role that social media plays in multi-touch attribution.
With its specialized focus on social media marketing, Oktopost fills a vital niche for many digital businesses. It demonstrates the value that social media brings to lead generation not just brand awareness. Keep in mind, Oktopost is more than just a social media management tool. It unveils the cover shadowing dark social traffic and properly attributes the impact it has on lead generation.
Visual IQ offers holistic measurement solutions intended to help businesses maximize the efficacy of their marketing efforts. Their proprietary, algorithmic attribution model, TrueAttribution, uses a multi-touch approach to help you understand what is and isn’t working.
The exact methodologies used by Visual IQ are kept tightly under wraps, but they have a good track record of accuracy. While some users report that getting it configured properly can be a bit of a struggle, others praise it as user-friendly with a fast learning curve and excellent support. “Visual IQ has been willing to develop new solutions and reports to help answer many of our business challenges, and we feel they are a true partner,” says one reviewer.
Neustar’s attribution platform is able to bring in data from mobile and offline marketing channels. It’s a great choice for companies pursuing leads outside of strictly the web and social media.
A few criticisms have been raised about its interface ease-of-use, but Neustar’s support team is first-rate. Its variety of components makes it a strong choice for businesses that require a flexible approach. One reviewer calls Neustar “the definitive platform for combining online and offline insights.”
The multi-channel attribution model employed by Ruler Analytics uses a revenue-centered approach called the “closed loop framework”. It identifies individual customers as it tracks them, then integrates their data into your analytics, CRM, and other products. Once that customer finalizes a purchase, it accurately attributes proportional credit back to the channels, campaigns, and keywords that influenced the conversion.
Users describe Ruler Analytics as easy to use, with a reach that goes beyond standard tools like Google Analytics. One user missed having a date range comparison feature, but praises Ruler Analytics for “identifying high value leads that might have slipped through the cracks.”
With the goal to provide a robust, configurable solution for web and mobile marketing attribution, Kochava’s Unified Audience Platform can track users across different devices and platforms. It offers a wide array of features, high-level support, fraud detection tools, and a reputation for outstanding accuracy. As one reviewer puts it, “Their customer service and client support is the best in the industry. We have had many other software vendors and none come close.”
There are a few notable caveats. Because Kochava is powerful and complex, the initial setup can be daunting, and bugs do occasionally pop up. Some users have also had a hard time configuring the reports to their liking.
Companies that advertise through Google would be well-advised to take advantage of the tech giant’s inside knowledge of its own platform. Google’s analytics products go through changes fairly frequently, and their enterprise-level attribution software is still in beta.
Some users are concerned that Google may favor their own channels when providing reports on campaign efficacy. One reviewer who obviously uses a lot of Google products notes, “I like that it brings together Analytics, Adwords, and DoubleClick Search all into one.”
If you’re on a tight budget, Statcounter might be the solution for you. They offer a free plan for small businesses that is fast and easy to set up. Statcounter works by embedding code in your website that tracks and monitors users’ actions, which are then processed and analyzed.
Statcounter may not have features as diverse and in-depth as some of its competitors, but there’s no question they’re a perfect fit for some companies. “The data in Statcounter is tremendous and easy to understand,” one satisfied reviewer writes. “We can get complete details on user activity and profiles including their browser information, locations, pages visited, duration of visits, and lots more.”
This may be hard to believe, but even in 2019, some people still prefer to do business over the phone instead of online. Strange but true! But how do you perform attribution for phone sales? Enter Invoca, which uses AI-powered call tracking and analytics to help connect the dots from your phone orders to your marketing channels.
Invoca may be a little on the costly side, but for companies who do the bulk of their business over the phone, they might be the optimal solution. According to one reviewer, “With analysis and voice calls, you can optimize the entire purchase path, click to call. It is amazingly efficient. You can understand why customers are calling, and make the respective improvements to offer better service.”
In some markets, all the action is happening on mobile apps. Appsflyer was designed to prioritize businesses in those markets, by focusing on providing the best possible mobile attribution and marketing analytics platform.
With a dedicated security and privacy team, Appsflyer takes data protection seriously. Users have high praise for its accuracy, customer service, and user interface. “We are able to solve install attribution, targeting segments, ad attribution, purchase and new buyer attribution via Appsflyer,” writes one reviewer.
Choosing the right attribution solution can be a headache if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Not every marketing attribution software platform is ideally suited for every type of business. Making the correct choice for your company depends greatly on what marketing channels you use, and what type of information you need to extract. Using one of these Top 10 Marketing Attribution Software Solutions will put your business on the right path to more efficient marketing and higher conversion rates in 2019.