A Practical Guide To Multi-Touch Attribution

Posted by

The customer journey involves multiple interactions in between the customer and the merchant or service provider.

We call each interaction in the customer journey a touch point.

According to Salesforce.com, it takes, typically, 6 to eight touches to produce a lead in the B2B area.

The number of touchpoints is even greater for a customer purchase.

Multi-touch attribution is the system to assess each touch point’s contribution toward conversion and gives the appropriate credits to every touch point associated with the customer journey.

Conducting a multi-touch attribution analysis can assist online marketers understand the consumer journey and determine opportunities to further enhance the conversion courses.

In this article, you will find out the fundamentals of multi-touch attribution, and the steps of performing multi-touch attribution analysis with easily accessible tools.

What To Consider Before Conducting Multi-Touch Attribution Analysis

Specify Business Objective

What do you want to accomplish from the multi-touch attribution analysis?

Do you wish to assess the return on investment (ROI) of a particular marketing channel, comprehend your consumer’s journey, or recognize important pages on your site for A/B screening?

Various company goals might require different attribution analysis methods.

Specifying what you wish to achieve from the beginning assists you get the results quicker.

Define Conversion

Conversion is the desired action you want your consumers to take.

For ecommerce sites, it’s usually buying, specified by the order conclusion occasion.

For other industries, it might be an account sign-up or a subscription.

Various types of conversion likely have various conversion paths.

If you want to perform multi-touch attribution on multiple wanted actions, I would advise separating them into different analyses to avoid confusion.

Specify Touch Point

Touch point could be any interaction in between your brand and your clients.

If this is your first time running a multi-touch attribution analysis, I would advise defining it as a see to your site from a particular marketing channel. Channel-based attribution is simple to conduct, and it might provide you a summary of the consumer journey.

If you wish to understand how your clients communicate with your site, I would advise specifying touchpoints based upon pageviews on your website.

If you wish to include interactions beyond the site, such as mobile app installation, email open, or social engagement, you can include those occasions in your touch point meaning, as long as you have the information.

Despite your touch point meaning, the attribution system is the very same. The more granular the touch points are specified, the more in-depth the attribution analysis is.

In this guide, we’ll focus on channel-based and pageview-based attribution.

You’ll learn more about how to utilize Google Analytics and another open-source tool to carry out those attribution analyses.

An Introduction To Multi-Touch Attribution Models

The methods of crediting touch points for their contributions to conversion are called attribution designs.

The most basic attribution model is to give all the credit to either the first touch point, for generating the customer initially, or the last touch point, for driving the conversion.

These 2 designs are called the first-touch attribution design and the last-touch attribution model, respectively.

Certainly, neither the first-touch nor the last-touch attribution model is “fair” to the remainder of the touch points.

Then, how about assigning credit evenly across all touch points involved in converting a customer? That sounds affordable– and this is precisely how the linear attribution design works.

However, allocating credit evenly throughout all touch points assumes the touch points are similarly important, which does not appear “reasonable”, either.

Some argue the touch points near completion of the conversion paths are more crucial, while others favor the opposite. As an outcome, we have the position-based attribution model that enables marketers to provide different weights to touchpoints based on their places in the conversion courses.

All the models pointed out above are under the classification of heuristic, or rule-based, attribution designs.

In addition to heuristic designs, we have another design category called data-driven attribution, which is now the default model used in Google Analytics.

What Is Data-Driven Attribution?

How is data-driven attribution various from the heuristic attribution models?

Here are some highlights of the distinctions:

  • In a heuristic design, the rule of attribution is predetermined. Despite first-touch, last-touch, linear, or position-based model, the attribution guidelines are embeded in advance and then used to the information. In a data-driven attribution design, the attribution rule is developed based on historical data, and for that reason, it is unique for each situation.
  • A heuristic design takes a look at just the paths that lead to a conversion and overlooks the non-converting courses. A data-driven model utilizes information from both converting and non-converting paths.
  • A heuristic model associates conversions to a channel based upon the number of touches a touch point has with respect to the attribution rules. In a data-driven model, the attribution is made based upon the impact of the touches of each touch point.

How To Examine The Impact Of A Touch Point

A typical algorithm used by data-driven attribution is called Markov Chain. At the heart of the Markov Chain algorithm is an idea called the Elimination Result.

The Elimination Effect, as the name suggests, is the impact on conversion rate when a touch point is eliminated from the pathing information.

This short article will not enter into the mathematical details of the Markov Chain algorithm.

Below is an example highlighting how the algorithm associates conversion to each touch point.

The Removal Impact

Presuming we have a circumstance where there are 100 conversions from 1,000 visitors pertaining to a site by means of 3 channels, Channel A, B, & C. In this case, the conversion rate is 10%.

Intuitively, if a specific channel is removed from the conversion paths, those paths including that particular channel will be “cut off” and end with less conversions in general.

If the conversion rate is lowered to 5%, 2%, and 1% when Channels A, B, & C are eliminated from the information, respectively, we can calculate the Removal Impact as the portion decrease of the conversion rate when a particular channel is removed using the formula:

Image from author, November 2022 Then, the last step is attributing conversions to each channel based on the share of the Elimination Result of each channel. Here is the attribution result: Channel Elimination Effect Share of Removal Impact Associated Conversions

A 1–(5%/ 10% )=0.5 0.5/(0.5 +0.8+ 0.9 )=0.23 100 * 0.23 =23 B 1–(2%/ 10%
) = 0.8 0.8/ (0.5 + 0.8 + 0.9) = 0.36 100 * 0.36 = 36
C 1– (1%/ 10% )=0.9 0.9/(0.5 +0.8 + 0.9) = 0.41 100
* 0.41 = 41 In a nutshell, data-driven attribution does not rely on the number or

position of the touch points but on the impact of those touch points on conversion as the basis of attribution. Multi-Touch Attribution With Google Analytics Enough

of theories, let’s look at how we can utilize the common Google Analytics to carry out multi-touch attribution analysis. As Google will stop supporting Universal Analytics(UA)from July 2023,

this tutorial will be based upon Google Analytics 4(GA4 )and we’ll use Google’s Product Shop demonstration account as an example. In GA4, the attribution reports are under Advertising Snapshot as revealed listed below on the left navigation menu. After landing on the Advertising Photo page, the first step is picking a proper conversion event. GA4, by default, consists of all conversion events for its attribution reports.

To avoid confusion, I highly advise you choose only one conversion occasion(“purchase”in the

listed below example)for the analysis. Screenshot from GA4, November 2022 Understand The Conversion Courses In

GA4 Under the Attribution section on the left navigation bar, you can open the Conversion Paths report. Scroll down to the conversion path table, which shows all the paths causing conversion. At the top of this table, you can find the typical number of days and number

of touch points that cause conversions. Screenshot from GA4, November 2022 In this example, you can see that Google customers take, on average

, nearly 9 days and 6 visits before purchasing on its Merchandise Store. Find Each Channel’s Contribution In GA4 Next, click the All Channels report under the Performance area on the left navigation bar. In this report, you can discover the attributed conversions for each channel of your picked conversion event–“purchase”, in this case. Screenshot from GA4, November 2022 Now, you know Organic Search, together with Direct and Email, drove the majority of the purchases on Google’s Product Shop. Analyze Results

From Various Attribution Designs In GA4 By default, GA4 uses the data-driven attribution model to identify how many credits each channel receives. Nevertheless, you can take a look at how

different attribution models appoint credits for each channel. Click Design Comparison under the Attribution area on the left navigation bar. For instance, comparing the data-driven attribution design with the first touch attribution design (aka” very first click design “in the below figure), you can see more conversions are credited to Organic Search under the first click model (735 )than the data-driven design (646.80). On the other hand, Email has more attributed conversions under the data-driven attribution design(727.82 )than the first click design (552 ).< img src="// www.w3.org/2000/svg%22%20viewBox=%220%200%201666%20676%22%3E%3C/svg%3E" alt="Attribution designs for channel grouping GA4"width=" 1666"height ="676 "data-src ="https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/attribution-model-comparison-6371b20148538-sej.png"/ > Screenshot from GA4, November 2022 The data tells us that Organic Browse plays a crucial function in bringing potential customers to the store, but it needs assistance from other channels to convert visitors(i.e., for clients to make actual purchases). On the other

hand, Email, by nature, engages with visitors who have actually checked out the website before and assists to transform returning visitors who at first concerned the site from other channels. Which Attribution Model Is The Best? A common question, when it pertains to attribution model comparison, is which attribution model is the best. I ‘d argue this is the incorrect concern for online marketers to ask. The reality is that nobody model is absolutely better than the others as each design highlights one aspect of the customer journey. Online marketers must accept several designs as they please. From Channel-Based To Pageview-Based Attribution Google Analytics is simple to use, but it works well for channel-based attribution. If you wish to further understand how clients browse through your website before converting, and what pages affect their choices, you need to conduct attribution analysis on pageviews.

While Google Analytics does not support pageview-based

attribution, there are other tools you can use. We just recently performed such a pageview-based attribution analysis on AdRoll’s website and I ‘d be happy to show you the steps we went through and what we found out. Gather Pageview Sequence Data The very first and most challenging step is gathering data

on the series of pageviews for each visitor on your site. A lot of web analytics systems record this data in some form

. If your analytics system does not supply a way to draw out the data from the interface, you might need to pull the information from the system’s database.

Similar to the actions we went through on GA4

, the first step is defining the conversion. With pageview-based attribution analysis, you likewise require to determine the pages that are

part of the conversion procedure. As an example, for an ecommerce website with online purchase as the conversion event, the shopping cart page, the billing page, and the

order verification page become part of the conversion process, as every conversion goes through those pages. You should omit those pages from the pageview information because you don’t need an attribution analysis to tell you those

pages are important for converting your customers. The function of this analysis is to understand what pages your potential customers visited prior to the conversion occasion and how they influenced the clients’choices. Prepare Your Information For Attribution Analysis As soon as the information is ready, the next step is to summarize and manipulate your information into the following four-column format. Here is an example.

Screenshot from author, November 2022 The Path column reveals all the pageview sequences. You can utilize any distinct page identifier, however I ‘d recommend using the url or page path since it enables you to evaluate the result by page types utilizing the url structure.”>”is a separator used in between pages. The Total_Conversions column reveals the total variety of conversions a specific pageview course caused. The Total_Conversion_Value column reveals the total financial worth of the conversions from a particular pageview course. This column is

optional and is mostly relevant to ecommerce sites. The Total_Null column reveals the overall variety of times a specific pageview course failed to convert. Develop Your Page-Level Attribution Designs To build the attribution models, we leverage the open-source library called

ChannelAttribution. While this library was originally created for usage in R and Python shows languages, the authors

now supply a free Web app for it, so we can use this library without writing any code. Upon signing into the Web app, you can upload your information and begin developing the models. For novice users, I

‘d advise clicking the Load Demo Data button for a trial run. Make certain to examine the specification setup with the demonstration data. Screenshot from author, November 2022 When you’re prepared, click the Run button to create the models. When the models are developed, you’ll be directed to the Output tab , which displays the attribution arises from 4 different attribution models– first-touch, last-touch, direct, and data-drive(Markov Chain). Keep in mind to download the result information for more analysis. For your referral, while this tool is called ChannelAttribution, it’s not restricted to channel-specific information. Because the attribution modeling mechanism is agnostic to the type of information provided to it, it ‘d attribute conversions to channels if channel-specific data is offered, and to web pages if pageview data is supplied. Analyze Your Attribution Data Organize Pages Into Page Groups Depending upon the variety of pages on your website, it might make more sense to initially analyze your attribution information by page groups rather than individual pages. A page group can include as few as just one page to as many pages as you want, as long as it makes sense to you. Taking AdRoll’s site as an example, we have a Homepage group which contains just

the homepage and a Blog group that contains all of our article. For

ecommerce websites, you might consider grouping your pages by product categories too. Starting with page groups instead of specific pages permits online marketers to have a summary

of the attribution results across different parts of the website. You can always drill down from the page group to specific pages when required. Determine The Entries And Exits Of The Conversion Courses After all the information preparation and design structure, let’s get to the fun part– the analysis. I

‘d suggest very first recognizing the pages that your prospective consumers enter your website and the

pages that direct them to transform by analyzing the patterns of the first-touch and last-touch attribution models. Pages with particularly high first-touch and last-touch attribution values are the beginning points and endpoints, respectively, of the conversion courses.

These are what I call gateway pages. Make certain these pages are enhanced for conversion. Bear in mind that this kind of entrance page might not have really high traffic volume.

For instance, as a SaaS platform, AdRoll’s prices page does not have high traffic volume compared to some other pages on the website but it’s the page many visitors gone to before converting. Find Other Pages With Strong Impact On Customers’Choices After the entrance pages, the next step is to discover what other pages have a high impact on your consumers’ choices. For this analysis, we search for non-gateway pages with high attribution worth under the Markov Chain designs.

Taking the group of item feature pages on AdRoll.com as an example, the pattern

of their attribution worth across the four designs(revealed below )shows they have the highest attribution value under the Markov Chain model, followed by the linear model. This is a sign that they are

visited in the middle of the conversion courses and played a crucial function in affecting clients’decisions. Image from author, November 2022

These types of pages are also prime prospects for conversion rate optimization (CRO). Making them simpler to be found by your site visitors and their content more convincing would assist raise your conversion rate. To Evaluate Multi-touch attribution permits a company to understand the contribution of various marketing channels and recognize opportunities to additional enhance the conversion courses. Start merely with Google Analytics for channel-based attribution. Then, dig much deeper into a consumer’s pathway to conversion with pageview-based attribution. Do not stress over selecting the best attribution model. Leverage multiple attribution designs, as each attribution design reveals various elements of the client journey. More resources: Featured Image: Black Salmon/Best SMM Panel