Most website marketing strategies include efforts across a multitude of platforms including search, email, social, affiliates, remarketing, the list keeps growing. And if you have ever been involved with evaluating the performance of marketing (especially when it is paid marketing), you know that one of the biggest challenges is figuring out the best approach to source attribution.
For example, if a customer comes to your website through a Facebook ad one day, and then comes back to your site via a Google search the next day, then comes directly to your site the following day to finally make a purchase – which gets credit? Facebook (the first source), Direct (the last source), Google (the last paid source)? Is there an equitable way to split the credit? You can see how this can get complicated quickly and it’s really important, not just for justifying marketing spend in different channels, but for modeling out the future value of customers as well.
Different companies have different approaches to the question, and many solutions have been offered. Most folks stick with “last click” of some type but there really is no “right” way. That may start to change with Google’s launch of a new beta on their Google Attribution product – a free tool that can purportedly help companies better understand customer behaviors and how media from different sources work together to drive conversions.
It’s too early to know how well their solution will work, but it’s Google so we all know there is a huge user-base potential for this tool. We’ll be keeping an eye on developments and it will be very interesting to see whether they are able to create a new standard acceptance of how to look at this elusive piece of web analytics.