What Is Marketing Attribution & How Do You Report on It?


Marketers engage with customers on more channels than ever before. Whether you are working with influencers or posting short-form videos, it makes marketing attribution essential for continued results.

It is because the customer’s journey is removed from linear. Consumers engage with brands through multiple touchpoints before they make a purchase order.

For plenty of marketers, getting visibility into essentially the most effective touchpoints may be tough. They must wade through cobbled data from different sources, spend hours crunching numbers in spreadsheets, or wait for a marketing ops resource to assist them. Unless they’re using marketing attribution reporting.

But what’s marketing attribution? And how will you use it to enhance your marketing strategy? Keep reading, or jump to the section you are on the lookout for:

For instance, if marketers wish to see how a blog post or social media strategy impacted sales, they may use marketing attribution techniques.

Here’s how our product team at HubSpot describes it:

“Attribution surfaces which interactions an individual or group of individuals took along their journey toward a desired consequence or ‘conversion’ point.”

Lead Attribution

Lead attribution is a sort of marketing attribution. It shows how marketers impact the variety of leads that come from a given channel, touchpoint, or campaign.

Lead attribution data helps teams understand which marketing efforts are only for generating qualified leads.

Leads aren’t sales, but they’re vital because they show how marketing content or strategies are gaining prospects or latest audiences. In turn, these prospects can result in increased sales or revenue.

B2B Marketing Attribution

B2B Marketing attribution is a sort of marketing attribution for the business-to-business field.

B2B corporations sell services or products to other businesses or professionals of their industry. While B2C attribution could relate to smaller purchases, B2B attribution covers purchases from corporations, memberships, or leads.

B2B marketing attribution data helps B2B corporations connect marketing efforts to ROI and CLV. It is also essential for data-driven decision-making.

Why is marketing attribution vital?

This approach to evaluation helps marketers understand the most precious marketing channels. It helps you connect marketing tactics to ROI and CLV. Marketing attribution can also be useful for making a business case for brand spanking new initiatives and changes in strategy.

The aim of attribution reporting is to enable you understand how marketing efforts encourage users to convert and construct relationships along with your brand. Marketing attribution helps you see patterns and actions that your team can use to enhance strategies in the longer term.

Forms of Attribution Models

Now that what marketing attribution is and why it is vital, you could be wondering how it really works. In any case, not all marketing channels have the identical impact on conversions.

Pulling together all of the interactions of your buyer journey right into a report is simply half the magic. The opposite half is using various forms of attribution models.

Attribution models allow you to apply a special amount of credit to every interaction based on the model’s rules.

For instance, say you are measuring the effectiveness of lead generation for a high traffic blog post. That blog post draws plenty of first-time visitors, so a primary interaction attribution model would probably give that post credit for generating leads.

But what if that post also has a landing page link that almost all users click before signing up? On this case, a final interaction attribution model might give credit to the landing page, not the blog post.

These are a number of the most typical attribution models:

First-Touch Attribution

This model gives all credit to the primary click or interaction a visitor makes in the customer journey.

Marketing attribution types: First-Touch Attribution

For instance, say the primary place a buyer lands before making a purchase order is an ad on Facebook. That first click will get the credit for that sale in a first-touch marketing attribution report.

Last-Touch Attribution

This model gives all credit to the last click or interaction a visitor makes in the customer journey.

Marketing attribution types: Last-Touch Attribution

Using the instance above, say the last place a buyer clicks before making a purchase order is a product landing page in your website. That last click will get the credit for that sale.

For those who are serious about using last-page attribution, consider carefully concerning the user experience in your funnel.

For instance, say you might be generating leads with a free content offer, and your leads download that provide from a thanks page. For those who’re using last-click attribution reporting, your report could give 100% of the credit for generating that result in the thanks page.

That information won’t be especially helpful should you’re trying to grasp lead attribution for content offers.

Multi-Touch Attribution Explained

Multi-touch attribution can enable you understand how all of your marketing touchpoints work together. It measures and assigns value to all of the interactions a contact had as much as a key moment of their journey.

These reports are priceless because they will let you pinpoint the precise marketing and sales effort that led to a conversion in your flywheel. This information can enable you make higher decisions about where to take a position your time and resources.

For instance, say you would like to see how a blog post or social media strategy impacted sales. You need to use this reporting technique to assign real financial value to those efforts.

HubSpot customers: HubSpot supports three forms of multi-touch attribution reports:

  • Contact create attribution reports enable you see which marketing activities produce essentially the most latest contacts
  • Deal create attribution reports enable you understand which marketing efforts usher in essentially the most latest deals
  • Revenue attribution reports show which marketing efforts lead to essentially the most revenue

There are two common models for multi-touch attribution:

U-Shaped Multi-Touch Attribution

This model gives the primary and last touchpoints in the customer’s journey many of the credit for a conversion. Nevertheless it also gives some credit to actions that occur between the primary and last touchpoints.

Marketing attribution types: U-Shaped Multi-Touch Attribution

W-Shaped Multi-Touch Attribution

This model gives equal credit to the primary interaction and last interaction, in addition to a mid-funnel touchpoint. It splits the remaining of the credit evenly to touchpoints that occur between these three interactions.

Marketing attribution types: W-Shaped Multi-Touch Attribution

Other multi-touch attribution models include full path, J-shaped, inverse J-shape, and more.

Multi-Channel Attribution

Multi-channel attribution is comparable to multi-touch attribution. But while multi-touch attribution can describe any sort of engagement, multi-channel compares marketing channels.

For instance, a multi-touch attribution report could track form submissions, clicks, or page views on a single channel. But a multi-channel report will compare the worth of channels like social media, organic search, and email.

Linear Attribution

This model gives equal credit to every interaction in the customer journey. It’s helpful for getting a comprehensive view of selling performance.

Marketing attribution types: Linear Attribution

Time Decay Attribution

This model gives more credit to essentially the most recent interactions. The credit for interactions decays the longer it takes for a prospect to convert.

Marketing attribution types: Time Decay

In the instance above, a gathering was the last contact over seven different touchpoints. On this model, it gets essentially the most credit for the conversion. A social click was the primary interaction, and it gets the bottom amount of credit.

Which attribution report is correct for my team?

The most effective strategy to begin marketing attribution reporting is to take into consideration what goal you are attempting to measure. Are you attempting to:

  • Understand how your marketing and sales effort generated leads?
  • Understand how much revenue your marketing efforts brought in?
  • Solve an issue in your marketing funnel?
  • Rethink your marketing or conversion strategy?

Marketing attribution makes it easier to grasp which marketing strategies help grow the business.

Be mindful, attribution reporting also helps stakeholders in your organization see how marketing efforts impact business goals. Marketing analytics and tactics may be complex, and this strategy can simplify this information. You need to use this report to point out the importance of under-valued channels, focus investment on vital strategies, or change strategy.

Keep reading to learn learn how to create and use attribution reports to trace the success of your marketing efforts.

1. Determine what time period to investigate.

Some businesses do weekly or monthly attribution reporting. Others use marketing attribution as a strategic tool — analyzing this data before making updates.

As you select the best time period for your small business, take into consideration seasonality and the way the dates you select can impact your data.

For instance, if your small business runs on an annual sales cycle, you could want to have a look at multiple years of information. But in case your sales cycle happens over just a few months, an excessive amount of data could skew your results.

But what should you’re unsure what your average sales cycle timeline is? In that case, a visual analytics dashboard can enable you notice patterns that can assist focus your research.

2. Review customer habits and the customer journey.

Whenever you first start taking a look at marketing attribution, you will see it could actually enable you work out your top marketing channels.

Let’s go over just a few questions that you simply might wish to answer with attribution reports.

What number of leads does my blog generate? And what other content generates essentially the most leads?

Content lives at the center of inbound marketing. Every marketer desires to know the way their content contributes to the variety of leads they’re generating — especially on their blog.

Attribution reports pull that information together to point out the variety of views a blog post gets before conversion. For bloggers who haven’t been in a position to attribute lead generation on to their blog content, this can be a huge win.

The data gathered in these reports helps marketers dissect which forms of content perform higher. That might include popular topics, content formats, and even time of promotion. With a greater understanding of which content generates more leads, marketers could make more informed decisions about their marketing.

What marketing channels generate essentially the most leads? Where is the perfect place to take a position my marketing resources?

After you discover out which sort of content generates essentially the most leads, it is vital to grasp which channels are essentially the most successful in lead generation. This gives you deeper insight into why your content performs the way in which it does.

For instance, your email marketing may very well be the perfect place to get content to your customers, but your social media may very well be tanking. Or vice versa.

Understanding the health of those marketing channels is essential to deciding where your team should invest their marketing resources.

For instance, say you are doubling down on social media without getting many leads in return. At the identical time, say you are generating a ton of leads from email marketing with little effort. With this in mind, you could wish to take a re-evaluation at your approach.

Which pages get essentially the most views before a conversion?

There may be a variety of content that may contribute to conversions. Blog posts, landing pages, and content offers are sometimes top lead generators. But your homepage, pricing page, About Us page, and other informational pages could also be helping too.

Running an attribution report for viewed pages in your website can enable you work out which pages get essentially the most visits. This may enable you understand which pages to advertise, which pages to optimize, and which pages help push prospects through the funnel quickly.

Advanced marketers also use these reports for problem-solving. You need to use attribution reports to:

  • Find points in the customer journey where customers are churning
  • Remove content that won’t making an impact
  • Discover blockers or gaps in the shopper experience
  • Save time and resources to your team and your prospects
  • Notice trends and changes in audience behavior

For those who do not have a customer journey map to work from, this template can assist streamline the method.

Featured Resource: Customer Journey Map Template


3. Find the best tools for data collection.

Before you may begin marketing attribution reporting, it is advisable collect the best data. It’s likely that your small business uses many alternative tools to trace customer behavior, each before and after they make a purchase order.

Your online business may track your buyer journey with surveys, interviews, and focus groups. But quantitative data is most useful for attribution reporting. This guide to data tracking tools can enable you find the best data collection tools.

As you research tools, take into consideration top business goals and the query you would like your attribution reports to reply. For instance, Google Analytics has over 100 reports for website analytics. But what should you want your attribution model to incorporate user interactions after they join? GA is a fantastic data tracking tool, but you could need something else to reply your most urgent attribution questions.

Some tools also include data-driven or algorithm-based attribution of their data collection. This may be useful for businesses with long or complex customer journeys.

For those who’re unsure which tool is correct for you, take a look at this list of top marketing attribution software.

4. Select the perfect marketing attribution model.

One of the crucial common questions marketers ask when getting began on attribution reporting is which model they need to use.

The reply is dependent upon the goals of your team and the supporting evaluation that’s expected of you. The vital thing to recollect is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for attribution reporting. As a substitute, it is best to make use of multiple models.

Some tools include algorithmic models that track the total user journey. But many marketers prefer to trace their data through multiple models and see which model best answers their questions.

For instance, say your goal is to widen the funnel and increase brand awareness. On this case, first-touch attribution will quickly enable you see which channels and touchpoints draw essentially the most traffic.

But what if customer retention is a difficulty that you would like to address in your marketing strategy? In this example, a multi-touch attribution model could also be more practical.

5. Analyze the attribution data.

Once you select a model, analyze the info to see if the inputs and attribution model are helping you answer your top questions.

For instance, take a take a look at the Dimensions dropdown in HubSpot’s revenue attribution report. This feature helps you to select what lens you would like to view your attribution report through. This helps you understand which forms of interactions, content, interaction sources, and other dimensions are having essentially the most impact in your goal.

Marketing attribution data example, HubSpot

HubSpot’s reporting also makes it easy to toggle between different attribution models.

Adding and removing different models in real time makes it easier to investigate the customer journey. This may enable you understand the worth of every of those interactions and create the best attribution reports to your goals.

Learn more:

6. Make your marketing attribution evaluation easy to review.

Attribution may be daunting for even essentially the most tenured marketers. Once you’ve got created your report, you will intend to make your data easy for stakeholders to quickly understand.

The most effective marketing attribution software includes graphics to visualise your attribution data. If you would like to create something more specific, these resources can enable you make your data presentation clear and useful:

7. Act on latest insights.

Once you’ve a transparent picture of any disconnect between business goals and your attribution reporting results, take a take a look at your strategy.

It’s possible you’ll wish to do some market research or get training to fill any gaps in your knowledge. Then, make some clear recommendations, run marketing experiments, and put your latest strategies into place.

GDPR Considerations With Marketing Attribution

The General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) means that you simply need explicit consent out of your customers to make use of their personal data.

For those who do not have consent, you then won’t give you the chance to make use of personal data as a part of your digital marketing strategy. Personal, demographic, and financial details are only a number of the information this could include.

These details help marketers create more personalized experiences. At the identical time, more consumers wish to know the way corporations are using their data.

In accordance with 2022 Cisco research, 90% of those surveyed won’t buy from an organization that does not properly protect its data. At the identical time, 62% of surveyed consumers say they will not stay loyal to a brand that does not deliver a personalised experience.

This GDPR checklist can enable you understand your businesses’ readiness to handle customer privacy concerns.

Guidelines like these can assist your small business proceed to adapt to ever-changing data collection and storage guidelines. This may enable you get the info it is advisable ensure accurate attribution AND keep meeting customer expectations.

1. Select KPIs for attribution tracking early.

Collecting marketing interaction data is step one to creating trustworthy attribution reports. So, before you start attribution reporting, make sure you:

This step may sound obvious, but should you’ve ever tried to tug together a report only to seek out that you simply’re missing essential data, you are not alone. Tracking data is an advanced process, and it is simple to skip an important data point during setup.

For those who’re using HubSpot for reporting, this is not a difficulty, because HubSpot analytics updates every 20 minutes. So, should you find that you simply’re missing a touchpoint, you will still give you the chance to quickly use that data in your attribution reporting.

But some touchpoints on other tools, like Google Analytics, don’t begin pulling data until you create an event. That may cause problems down the road to your reporting, so select and arrange your KPIs early.

2. Move to backend tracking.

One other strategy to collect accurate data is backend tracking. This alternative to client-side tracking is often done with Javascript.

You may track almost the identical amount of information, and it’s more reliable and fewer prone to ad blockers. Backend tracking can also be a fantastic long-term solution to coping with the phasing out of cookies.

To trace data from the backend, consider a third-party service. For instance, Google Analytics supports backend tracking through what they call the Measurement Protocol. You need to use this API to trace page views, events, ecommerce data, and more.

This setup takes more work than simply slapping the Javascript snippet in your website. Nevertheless it’s also a strategy to future-proof your site for privacy changes.

3. Connect marketing and sales channels.

Align sales and marketing channels for more useful attribution insights. First, this strategy connects marketing and sales outreach right into a single customer journey. Next, it helps your team pinpoint disconnects in personas, KPIs, and customer data.

This may not only help your team understand which marketing initiatives drive essentially the most traffic, but it could actually also improve lead quality and ROI. These smarketing suggestions can enable you connect these channels.

HubSpot customers: These tools can enable you connect your sales and marketing channels.

4. Use automation at any time when possible.

Marketing automation uses software to finish repetitive marketing tasks like email workflows or scheduled social media posts. This automation can increase the amount of outreach without expanding your team. It could possibly also enable you create more targeted personalized campaigns.

This increased volume can increase the info your team has readily available to tell your attribution models and your strategy.

5. Link every marketing motion to business goals.

Use business goals like revenue to tell your marketing strategy. This may make your marketing attribution results more useful to your small business and enable you get support for brand spanking new initiatives.

When marketing tactics tie to business goals, it creates metrics which are more meaningful to other parts of the business. Then, with attribution, you may track which of your marketing efforts is only for reaching the specified results.

Marketing attribution often uncovers fascinating data. Nevertheless it’s vital that this reporting is greater than interesting. As a substitute, it should offer evidence to support process changes or other strategies that support business goals.

6. Confer with stakeholders about marketing attribution.

Attribution is an efficient resource for communicating with other departments. It is because these reports make it quick and straightforward to see how marketing directly impacts conversions.

To benefit from these conversations, listed below are just a few ways to administer expectations.

First, discover the best stakeholders to share marketing attribution results. Then, work out what kind of information is most useful to their needs and goals.

It’s possible you’ll need to administer their expectations of information accuracy. For instance, many analytics tools offer sampled numbers, so they are not often exact.

But this data can still help your team make the best decisions. Attribution reporting can improve your campaigns and reply to your customers’ needs.

For instance, say you notice most of your blog traffic enjoys content about augmented reality. Even should you’re missing traffic from those viewers who’ve opted out of tracking, you may still assume that almost all of your audience is following this trend.

On this case, you could wish to propose creating more AR content or updating your older AR content for increased conversions.

Once you’ve a transparent process in place, make sure you support the relationships. Share updated reports and data that provide value to every stakeholder consistently. This may enable you use marketing attribution to support your marketing goals.

Marketing Attribution Tools


HubSpot Dashboard and Reporting software is superb for attribution reporting. It is because it makes it easy to tug marketing, sales, and repair data right into a single report.

Marketing attribution software: HubSpot

As a substitute of collecting unique data from a variety of tools you may quickly and accurately create custom attribution reports. It sounds easy, nevertheless it helps your team save time and avoid critical errors.

Besides the extensive data available within the HubSpot platform, you may pull in data from 1000+ app integrations. This tool also keeps data secure and lets teams create reports with different levels of user access — a critical feature for privacy.

Each attribution report features a ‘Study Attribution Models’ modal. These show you learn how to toggle the various models and see firsthand how they apply credit to every interaction.

You may add or remove different models in real time, apply different rules to the journey, and understand the worth of every interaction. There are also convenient pre-built sample reports for reporting beginners.

Then, you may add attribution reports to custom dashboards. This makes it easy so that you can track changes at a look or quickly share updates with stakeholders.

Keep reading to learn more about attribution reporting and learn how to create attribution reports with HubSpot.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics also offers attribution models for reporting. That is a well-liked analytics tool, and it would be most helpful for marketing attribution at the highest of your marketing funnel.

Marketing attribution software: Google Analytics

To get attribution reports in Google Analytics, it is advisable create an attribution project and you could must create extra views. This step may mean organising goals and conversions for specific channels. You may see the total instructions on learn how to arrange your site for attribution here.

For those who plan to make use of data-driven attribution models, it could take just a few weeks before you may begin reporting on attribution. For those who’re latest to data reporting, this comprehensive guide to Google Analytics can enable you start.

Be mindful, as your website visitors and prospects convert to leads, it might be tougher to trace their buyer journey with this tool.

For instance, GA’s attribution models exclude direct website visits from attribution. You may read more about the various forms of Google Analytics models and learn how to use them here.

One other aspect of Google Analytics reports is that you simply cannot connect the report back to specific contacts unless you employ a tool like HubSpot. This makes it difficult to use attribution trends to:

  • Personas
  • Contact groups
  • Lifecycle stages
  • Other business-relevant categories

Windsor.ai Analytics

Windsor.ai is a machine-learning-powered tool that collects and organizes attribution data from a variety of other tools. It offers multi-touch attribution reporting to assist users understand the shopper journey and optimize for performance.

Marketing attribution software: Windsor.ai

You may learn more concerning the data-driven attribution models they favor in this text.

This tool also collects and compares each offline and internet marketing data. It has 50+ native integrations, including integration with Zapier, which enables additional connections. Then, this attribution software pulls together those different data streams for marketing evaluation.

Its YouTube channel is stuffed with useful videos to point out users learn how to benefit from this platform.

HubSpot customers: Try the Windsor.ai integration for extra insights.

Try this list should you’re on the lookout for more great attribution software selections.

Use Marketing Attribution to Improve Every Channel and Campaign

Marketing attribution can assist your team work out which channels and messages impact buyer decisions. It helps you focus your strategy and tactics on what drives ROI for your small business. Attribution makes it easier to see the outcomes of each decision you make so you may make the perfect decisions for your small business.

So, what are you waiting for? Pick a marketing attribution tool. Start tracking your results with attribution in mind. Then, watch your marketing efforts increase exponentially in value.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:




We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.


More like this

2020 Q2 report: domains increase by 3.3 million (up 0.9%)

VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN) today announced that the second...

Universities CEOs Attended the Most

Having a good education is one of the first...

Live domain auction grosses $2.2 million

Seven figure sale of holiday.com highlights auction. Last week’s Right...

Mike Mann with Alex Pires and Krista Gable (video)

Mike Mann with Alex Pires and Krista Gable (video)