What is Last Click Attribution:

Last click attribution or last touch attribution is a term used by marketing professionals to describe the value placed on the last action taken before sale, sign-up or goal conversion. In most cases, making strategic marketing decisionsbased on last-click attribution is a strategic mistake.

The Assisted Conversion:

Using sports as an analogy, we examine legendary NBA assist leader Jon Stockton. We can all understand how an assist in any sport supports the final conversion/goal/point. Jon Stockton is one of the greatest passers basketball has ever known. He averaged 10.5 assists per game, holds the NBA record for most career assists (15,806) and the most career steals (3,265). He played in 10 All-Star games and won an Olympic gold medal. He’s considered by many to be among the top 50 greatest players of all time, however, you won’t find his name anywhere near the top of the scoring charts.

You will find teammate and Stockton-beneficiary Karl Malone at the №2 spot on the all-time scoring list. The goal in basketball is, of course, to score points. Since Karl Malone is the one scoring all the points, using the last-touch-attribution model, one could come to the conclusion below:

Percentage Value Awarded To Points Scored

Imagine if coaches used last touch attribution to build teams. Jon Stockton may never have played a single game in the NBA.

Your goal as marketing manager, chief information officer or systems analyst is to find the Jon Stockton of your sales funnel. Beyond that, who supports Jon Stockton? Who makes him better? Is it a phenomenal rebounder providing 25% more possessions? Is targeted advertising helping to get your product or service in front of customers before the first conversation with your sales team? “Yes, I’ve heard of your product.” This matters.

Traditional Media Marketing:

In traditional media and traditional sales models, the visual of last click or last touch attribution looks something like this:

Percentage Of Credit In A Flawed Marketing Report

The direct mail, the trade show meeting and the website visit are all valued at zero. There’s a chance the first three contacts had nothing to do with the final conversion, but it’s unlikely. Much like Karl Malone is credited with 100% of the team’s success because he was the last person to touch the ball before scoring, the sales call receives 100% of the credit.

Picture yourself at the monthly marketing meeting. Your team combs through spreadsheets using their favorite Excel formulas and determines, yes, the sales call is driving conversions. It also appears the website isn’t driving any conversions, so we should invest less in digital and more in direct sales. Again, this is a mistake. It would be a good exercise to run through with your team and ask them to estimate the percentage value they’d place on the multiple touch-points in the sales funnel. This practice is also called cross channel attribution because it involves customer interactions occurring both online and offline.

Website Conversions:

What Pages Are Converting Customers?

Many look at the customer journey like this: awarding 100% credit to the last page a user visits before converting.

This user started on page one, navigated to page two, and was drawn toward a call-to-action click on page three prior to completing the desired goal. Pages one through three matter, yet their worth totals zero percent in this model. In fact, it may be the call to action on page one that matters most.

Percentage Value: The Prospective Student Website Journey

What value can you give each page? That’s attribution.

Personalizing Website Content:

Understanding that attribution starts even before the user gets to your website is key. Now your team starts to add value to the pages leading up to a website conversion. Here are some ideas to implement geotargeting on your website. The first step is to pick some high level marketing segments. East coast vs west coast? New England vs Pacific Northwest? If you have customers that behave differently based on where they’re located, guiding them through your website and customer journey is key to improving website conversions and moving them through your conversion funnel.

The Idea Of Statistical Significance:

Understanding there’s more at play in this scenario is step one. Step two is figuring out what percentage credit your company awards direct mail, the rebounder or page one of the website journey.

Chief marketing officers and marketing managers around the world are starting to think in terms of attribution. How do you begin measuring these channels? It’s one thing to have the idea, but how do you take action and execute. If you don’t have some sort of analytics package installed (Google Analytics), make sure that’s priority one and agenda item one at tomorrow’s meeting. If there’s no meeting scheduled … schedule it. Step two is making sense of the data and working with someone on your team to help peel back layers of uncertainty and highlight what’s working.

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