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Why multi-touch attribution is a game-changer for marketers

Just under a decade ago, the marketing industry faced a big problem: If attribution is such an essential metric to gauging success, then why don’t marketers have tools to measure it accurately across multiple channels?

To be fair to the industry, this wasn’t a new problem. Accurate attribution has been the goal ever since marketing pioneer John Wanamaker uttered his apocryphal quote, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

But what was once just a dream is now within easy reach. The rise of multi-touch attribution solutions, like those developed by LeadsRx, allow marketers to see exactly how much credit multiple channels should receive for each conversion.

What marketers didn’t know before multi-touch attribution

Until recently, if marketers wanted to measure attribution for their campaigns, they didn’t have much choice. Determining which channels deserved attribution for each conversion was such an experimental and expensive endeavor that they had to rely on free, if imperfect, tools.

Both Facebook and Google offer pixels that allow site tracking and analysis of conversions that occurred with those visits, but it is often the case that such results don’t paint the full picture. Customers are exposed to marketing campaigns on both platforms (or on additional platforms) before buying a product, yet each channel credits only itself for the conversion. If a customer clicked on a Google ad one day, clicked on a Facebook ad the next day, and then bought a product after seeing both ads, each platform gives itself full credit — leaving marketers unsure how to accurately judge performance within multi-channel campaigns.

While those attribution methods provide some value, it’s easy to see why marketers would want a complete view of buyers’ journeys and plan their campaigns accordingly. Early versions of multi-touch attribution cost upwards of $10,000. But at the time, marketers made do because any measurement at all was better than a prohibitively expensive measurement. 

Today, it’s a different story. Thanks to the development of multi-touch attribution SaaS, marketers have an affordable way to look impartially across channels and understand where their ad spend is working best, giving them ample data to prove how their efforts can improve the bottom line.

The value of impartial attribution

The need for customer journey analytics is clear: When marketers start looking across their ad spend, they inevitably hit questions like, “Should I put more money in TV and less money in digital? Should I do more direct mail catalogs? Where am I getting the most out of my budget?” Every investment comes with potential trade-offs, so it’s essential to understand the value that each channel provides.

Enter multi-touch attribution. Where other attribution methods are effective at looking deep within a specific channel, multi-touch attribution introduces true impartiality to the process, allowing marketers to get a complete assessment across online and offline touchpoints that helps improve marketing performance, revenue, and profitability. 

Instead of crediting conversion to a single touchpoint, multi-touch attribution applies weighted credit to each touchpoint prior to conversion, which means no single touchpoint gets all the credit. At LeadsRx, for instance, an algorithmic attribution model is automatically updated daily as it studies the performance of each marketer’s ad sets and conversion rates — while also accounting for traditional offline touchpoints, such as mail pieces, in-person events, and TV commercials. This means marketers are getting assessments that truly reflect customer journeys, equipping them with easy-to-understand insights that can maximize return on ad spend.

The power of the pixel

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LeadsRx uses a proprietary Universal Pixel™ that captures 100% of in-bound traffic to a company’s website no matter where it comes from. The result is an impartial view of attribution across all marketing channels, no duplicate conversion counts, and 100% of first-party data remaining within an enterprise’s own walled garden.

Additionally, some systems provide limited look-back periods and are very restrictive, limiting a marketer’s ability to assess all programs – especially for longer sales cycles like most B2B and some B2C (think car sales, mattress sales, etc.). The LeadsRx solution solves for this and allows an unlimited look-back period by default (and the look-back period can be changed on the fly).

A multi-touch attribution case study

Let’s look at how multi-touch attribution works in practice. When a leading tech company was preparing to launch its first automated marketplace, it turned to LeadsRx multi-touch attribution software to see whether or not its paid marketing was working.

By monitoring its customer journeys in combination with return on ad spend, the company had instant access to the impartial attribution data they needed to make optimization decisions. They quickly learned that their paid ads were driving new prospects, but not conversions. 

Armed with this complete picture of the customer journey, the company revised its paid ads strategy to encourage more prospects to close deals, rather than seek out more prospects overall. While keeping its ad spend essentially flat, this adjustment led to a 16.8% increase in revenue within a month.

Multi-touch attribution provided real-world insights that helped the tech company optimize ad spending…and it can do the same for companies across industries, of every size. It empowers marketers to put more and more ad dollars to good use.

In other words, the risk of any of your ad dollars being wasted — let alone “half” of them, as Wanamaker worried — declines significantly while your results can outstrip anything marketers could have imagined just a few years ago. 

For more information about how LeadsRx uses multi-touch attribution to improve marketing performance, check out the full case study.