We cover the basics and more in our ABCs of Marketing Measurement series. Learn More

What Is Attribution In Digital Marketing?

Attribution in digital marketing is, in many ways, the backbone of how agencies and marketers search for and identify user behavior – particularly within digital marketing. It connects a media exposure to sales in two common approaches: first/last touch and multitouch attribution.

But first, the 30,000-foot view. Attribution models are designed for social media, websites, blogs, and other mainstays of the digital sphere; environments where tracking user behavior is relatively easy. 

Attribution in digital marketing is the identification and aggregation of user engagement that leads to site conversions. It is made up of individual actions or a series of actions that we call user touchpoints.

These touchpoints, alone or in concert with others in a series, lead to conversions — i.e., a defined, monitored, and most importantly, desired business outcome.

When values are assigned to each and every touchpoint, this is known as multitouch attribution (MTA). Marketers can analyze these touchpoints to determine which combinations of touchpoints lead to conversions.

MTA must connect each media impression to a single consumer, track behavior across multiple devices, and then attribute those activities to a sale. It’s what’s called a “bottom-up” technique and is very useful for simple conversion funnels across digital media.

When a value is assigned only to the final touchpoint, it’s what we call first or last touch or cookie-based attribution. This has historically been the standard digital marketing attribution model used across many analytics tools, including Google Analytics.

Both approaches are considered deterministic. The outcome is directly connected to the media exposure through the tracking of consumer activity. The results are determined. This differs from other approaches that are probabilistic, where the contribution of media is uncovered through probability modeling. Many marketers prefer a deterministic approach; however it does have some drawbacks. Attribution solutions require extensive tracking and surveillance that can be costly and is limited in application. This can restrict the types of media that is measured and can create unknown blind spots in a measurement solution. 

Leavened’s Cookieless Approach

Not all approaches provide equal weight when it comes to results. At Leavened, we utilize an even more sophisticated approach to analyzing user data. We focus on marketing measurement, a process whereby we quantify incremental lifts in online and offline revenue over time. This doesn’t require any user tracking, costly setup, and can measure value across walled gardens as well as offline media. 

The possible marketing solutions indicated by our swift and powerful suite of data analysis tools reveal the incremental impacts of an agency’s marketing tactics in ways that are unavailable in traditional first/last touch and multitouch attribution models.

We call it the Leavened Iterative Hypothesis Testing Engine (LIHTE). It’s a proprietary marketing and data analysis solution — and we teach our partners how to use it and brand it as their own.

Understanding the contribution of digital marketing can help agencies and their clients determine ways in which advertising impressions influence a site user’s conversion. It reveals past performance and provides a lighted roadmap for future advertising campaigns. But understanding it in a vacuum is less valuable. Leavened helps brands and agencies understand how their digital marketing works in conjunction with all their media efforts, all within a single, proven solution. 

Across a wide range of marketing channels and marketing strategies, Leavened makes sense of how models assign meaning to customer journeys.

We help marketing teams and other stakeholders see through the noise and the clutter. This leads to better an optimal media mix that drives quantifiable business growth. Leavened has helped dozens of brands and agencies optimize their digital media, all at a fraction of the cost and time of other solutions. 

Questions about Leavened’s approach? Get in touch with us today to learn what attribution in digital marketing reveals and how we can harness its power to assist you and your clients.