Why last click attribution will leave you in last place

For years, marketers have relied on last click attribution to assign value to their marketing campaigns. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, you probably already understand the concept because it isn’t a new idea — we just have a new name for it. Last click attribution assumes that no matter how many times a customer has interacted with a brand prior to purchase, the promotion, email campaign, television ad, or digital banner that drove them to the point of sale gets the credit for that purchase. This is great news for the strategist and designer who created those campaigns and hopes to prove the positive value of their work, but bad for your business.
The problem with last click attribution is it also leaves critical supporting efforts out of the equation. This makes sense when you think about it. For example, it is unlikely that a brand new customer who has never heard about your brand would receive a random email and decide — not only to open that unsolicited email — but to purchase from it. More likely, that customer found your company on a search engine or saw an intriguing ad, interacted with your site, signed up for your email newsletter, and purchased with some knowledge of your brand. If we rely solely on last click attribution, we might assume that email is the critical factor driving customers to purchase and scale back on the supporting content (and corresponding marketing spend) that, likely, captured that customer’s attention in the first place.

Omni-channel attribution provides big picture marketing support:

Still not convinced? According to a study by one of the most reputable digital marketing sources, ClickZ: “customers interact with a brand 4.3 times over a two-day period before they finally make a purchase. In addition, the average U.S. shopper consults a total of 10.4 new and traditional media sources prior to purchasing.” The internet has given consumers access to more information and choices than ever before, which means purchases are not happening by accident. People are spending more time researching the brands and products that fit their values, needs, and use cases … and they are finding what they are looking for. To be successful in today’s market, your brand needs to have a presence across all the touch points that inform and educate customers prior to purchase.

That’s great advice in theory; but in practice, we understand your brand has budget limitations and can’t realistically be everywhere at once. Omni-channel attribution helps you understand which channels are most effective so you can direct your resources to your most valuable marketing efforts. By understanding the big picture of how your customers are seeking information and making their purchase decisions, you can determine whether customers spent more time on your website reading white papers, or more time on review sites prior to clicking that email and cashing in on your latest promotion. That information allows you to invest accordingly.

Multi-channel marketing proves the purchase cycle is non-linear:

What you are likely to find is that the customer purchase cycle is non-linear. Traditional marketing funnels that suggest buyers move from education and discovery, through selection, toward purchase in a downward, narrowing motion are dead wrong. Instead of limiting your customer view to an antiquated behavior model, cross-channel attribution modeling reveals the circular nature of the modern consumer’s journey and breaks free from the static funnel.

We know the funnel model has blind spots because if customers are, indeed, visiting 10 media sources and interacting with a brand 4.3 times prior to purchase, it is unlikely that they are following a linear purchase cycle. Attribution allows you to understand how they are moving in and out of the funnel to evaluate multiple brands at once, pressure testing your products before committing to a purchase, and using your content and marketing collateral to support the socialization of their purchases. The benefits of understanding this process allow you to move from a strictly transactional relationship with your customers and build meaningful interactions with them. It should go without saying that the stronger your brand’s relationship is with its customers, the bigger their lifetime value will be.

Click here to learn more about our attribution services and how we can help you understand your customer needs so you can begin building lasting relationships with the people that make it all possible.

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