The multi-channel approach to advertising is the most effective way to reach out to potential customers and drive them to your door. Through multi-channel programs, companies are turning high tech into future business. The problem with campaigns that cover multiple platforms is management. You can’t truly know how well the marketing works without tracking the steps the customer took to get to you, which is the purpose of attribution models.

First or last touch attribution

Most marketing evaluations involve determining either first or last touch attribution models. An attribution gives credit to one source for the conversation or pushing that contact in your direction, which greatly reduces the effectiveness of the study. The fact is most customers get from point A to point B through multiple channels or a funnel approach. Single touch attribution is a little like seeing the starting and target addresses without mapping out the route traveled.

Multi-touch attribution

Multi-touch attribution is a more complete picture of the process. With single touch models, you might over or undervalue one specific channel. Let’s say you set up an advertising campaign utilizing a target ad program. The data shows most of your recent traffic came from direct website hits. That would seem to indicate the target ads are a waste of money, but you are not getting a clear picture because you are seeing just one layer in the funnel. Multi-touch attribution models show the path a customer takes to get to that last touch. Due to the single touch approach, vital channels like organic searches and paid ad campaigns get less attention than they deserve.

Multiple interaction conversions

recent study by Slingshot SEO looked at 23 million multiple-interaction conversions over 30 different domains to break down the nature of online conversion habits. The results of this year long project were surprising:

  • Businesses were undervaluing organic searches by at least 77.25 percent.
  • Paid advertising and referrals were not getting the proper attribution.
  • Companies were overvaluing direct website hits by as much as 81.59 percent.

The research covered different test subjects to get a well-rounded picture. Interestingly enough, organic and non-branded searches were failing to get proper attribution across all 30 domains. The overvaluing of direct visits means money would have been better spent on other channels. The study shows companies are making business decisions and developing marketing campaigns without having the proper data.

Setting up a multi-touch model

The study offers a systematic explanation to create a multi-touch attribution model using data coming from the new Google Analytics programs. The idea is to look at the conversion funnel as a whole to get a layer-by-layer analysis of the transaction. In other words, you learn to map out the path of the conversion. Did a customer go through multiple channels prior to clicking a link and visiting an e-commerce site?

Smaller businesses that do not rely as heavily on Internet traffic will find multi-touch attributions is not reliable given the amount number of hits they receive. For instance, a company that only records 100 visits in a quarter is not going to have data to make the numbers work. However, e-commerce sites utilizing multi-channel marketing to grow their brand need this vital methodology to get the most from their advertising buck.

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