Mastering Multi-Touch Attribution: A Comprehensive Guide

digital consumers
digital consumers

Today’s digital consumers rarely see a single piece of advertising content and immediately click on it to make a purchase. On average, it takes seven interactions with a brand before a customer makes a purchase.

The question, though, lies in knowing which of those seven made the biggest impact on the individual and which simply kept your brand top-of-mind while they were in their consideration phase.

Discovering the answer requires a reliable multi-touch attribution (MTA) strategy, and though the concept might sound complicated, it’s far simpler than you might expect. Below is everything you need to know.

What Is Multi-Touch Attribution?

Identifying all of the interactions (touchpoints) that occurred between your brand and a prospect before they converted to a customer, a multi-touch attribution model accounts for all interactions, including social media posts, in-person contact, emails, and — of course — paid ads.

Instead of giving all the credit to the last ad someone clicked prior to purchasing from your business, MTA spreads that recognition to every contact point that played a role in the customer’s decision-making process, thereby helping you understand which interactions were the most integral to their conversion.

Why Is Multi-Touch Attribution So Important?

Focusing on a prospect’s most recent interaction with your brand only provides a brief glimpse into their behaviors and decision-making process. Conversely, MTA provides a holistic view of the customer journey.

When you know which interactions make the biggest impact, you can streamline the customer journey and reduce waste, prioritizing investments that offer the best return and boost your bottom line as a result.

How to Get Started With Multi-Touch Attribution

Leveraging the concept of MTA and adopting an applicable model is far easier than you might expect. In doing so, you’ll need to follow these steps:

Understand Your Customer’s Journey

Consider how someone goes from not knowing your business at all to becoming a loyal customer. Determine whether they’ve seen your ads on social media, visited your website, or gotten an email from you. Each of these aspects is integral to the customer journey and will help you map out their path from awareness to conversion.

Use the Right Tools

There are plenty of tools out there that can help you track your customer’s journey, and where some are focused on a few select channels, others offer a broader assortment of features and tracking capabilities. In any case, these tools can show where people learned about your business, what made them visit your website, and which interaction finally convinced them to make their purchase.

Choose an Attribution Model

There are different ways to give credit to your marketing efforts. Some MTA models give equal credit to all touchpoints, whereas others, like first-touch attribution and last-touch attribution, give more credit to the first or last interactions, respectively. Choose a model that makes the most sense for your business.

Analyze and Adjust

Once you start tracking, patterns are sure to form. Perhaps most of your customers find you through social media but decide to buy after getting an email with a discount code, for instance. Use the information you glean from these patterns to adjust your strategy and prioritize the touchpoints that are giving you the most bang for your buck.

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Remember, MTA is just one item in your marketing toolbox. Don’t become so focused on the data that you forget the human element — things like customer service and product quality — and use MTA in conjunction with other marketing strategies and analytics processes to obtain a holistic view of the customer experience.

Challenges You Might Face

MTA is a popular and effective way of understanding the customer journey, but you may encounter some challenges as you switch to an MTA model, such as:

  • Data Overload: An influx of information can be overwhelming; start small, focus on the most important data first, and build from there
  • Changing Customer Behaviors: People’s habits change, and what worked then might not work today, so stay flexible and be ready to adapt
  • Finding the Right Tools: With so many tools out there, do your homework, try a few out, and see which fit your needs and budget best

Despite these potential hurdles, MTA is an approach that is absolutely worth exploring. It helps you identify the connection between various customer interactions so you can gauge what’s working and what isn’t.

MTA: The Key to Better Customer Journeys

Mastering multi-touch attribution can be a tough task, but you don’t have to go it alone. Some tools and professionals can help you make sense of it all. Embrace the challenge, and you’ll find that MTA can be a game-changer for your business.

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