Why multi-touch attribution demands a Customer Data Platform

5 minute read

Team BlueVenn

When 55% of marketers globally are seeing their budgets cut or frozen, and customer purchase behaviors are changing rapidly, the need for increased efficiency is critical. Marketers looking to do more with less,  and defend budgets and resource, are therefore investing in multi-touch attribution solutions to help measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and marketing strategies.

Ultimately, the job of attribution should be to inform the business of where there are pinch points in the customer journey, identify wastage, and highlight the successes and failures of the marketing strategy. When you consider that 15% to 30% of efficiencies can be gained through multi-touch attribution analysis, it’s no surprise that savvy marketers are adopting it.

Multi-touch attribution insights

For attribution insights to be accurate, all campaigns (online and offline), and every touchpoint or transaction, will need to be available to feed the attribution calculations, and that is why investing in a Customer Data Platform (CDP) is the first step towards achieving multi-touch attribution.

A Customer Data Platform, by it’s very nature, unifies all customer data into one system and then cleanses, de-duplicates and joins all the data together to build unified customer profiles, making it the best source of data that can help marketers to understand what is, and isn’t, working.

The modern customer journey is complex and can cross many channels, devices and touch-points. A potential customer may first land on a brand’s website when they type ‘running gear’ into a search engine, then browse various running vests and click to read more about two of them, before navigating away from the site to investigate other brands and mull over a purchase. Perhaps they’ll return to sign up for the newsletter, hit a social media channel or browse an affiliate site. Then, after receiving several offer emails, including one offering a 20% discount on one of the vests they’d been considering, that customer may return to make a purchase upon seeing a TV advert, using that 20% discount code.

But which step in the journey deserves credit for the purchase? In a first touch world, the search engine is the most important. In a last touch world, the TV ad might get the most credit. But then, it could be argued that, without the discount being offered in the email, the customer would never have been moved to buy. Which touchpoint receives the most weight will likely depend on the business’s priorities, whether that be attracting a wider customer base, maintaining engagement mid-funnel, or offering the right deal to clinch a sale. Of course, in order to attribute the steps correctly, the brand will first need to be able to follow the customer’s interactions across its social media, email, website and eCommerce site.

Many marketing platforms do now offer attribution, but channel specific tools, by their nature, have a siloed outlook on the customer journey. For example, an email marketing solution will only hold email-centric data, and thus provide single channel email attribution. It will likely ignore direct mail, in-store visits, real-time web coupons and social adverts, so you won’t be able to tell which multi-channel tactics are working best, but rather gain a single-channel view of how your email marketing is working.

To get a holistic view of attribution, you’ll need to gather data from all of these different systems, create unified customer profiles to eliminate duplicate records and attribute touchpoints to the right customers, and then apply an attribution model to analyze the customer journey. This can be a laborious process, with the resulting insights often arriving too late to be actionable within that journey. So, what if you could speed it up?A Customer Data Platform (CDP) connects to every one of a business’s internal systems and marketing channels, which hold all the customer data needed to make attribution trustworthy and holistic. The CDP will unify the resulting data flow into a Single Customer View, including every touchpoint and campaign over time, and all resulting conversions, so that they can be attached to an individual customer profile for analysis. This facilitates multi-touch attribution modeling to help drive more targeted campaigns and remove any that are not working so well. The CDP acts as a single source of truth across all channels, so it is one of the only MarTech tools that empowers true multi-touch attribution analysis.

What are the efficiency gains of multi-touch attribution?

By identifying the pinch points, or under-performing campaigns, you can remove or amend them. If you find that you are getting a higher percentage of conversions through the mobile app than the website, you can take action to funnel more customers to your app. Similarly, if you’re under pressure to cut the direct mail budget, but attribution models suggest that direct mailing is influencing revenue in a positive way, you’ll have the proof you need that this could be a bad idea. Perhaps there’s an entire call center under-performing, or a specific sales agent over-performing, or a combination of channels that seems to be hitting the mark. The actionable insights are seemingly endless once you have the data consolidated, and the attribution models baked in, to provide the answers you need.

Within the BlueVenn Marketing Hub, customers can make use of 7 single-touch and multi-touch attribution models out-of-the-box, which can all be customized and applied either in isolation or together. These include:

  • First touch attribution
  • Last touch attribution
  • Linear attribution
  • Positional (U-shaped) multi-touch attribution
  • Positional first and last touch attribution
  • Time decay attribution
  • Time growth attribution

If you want to better understand these multi-touch attribution models in more detail, and the vital role that a Customer Data Platform can provide for accurate attribution insights, then download BlueVenn’s guide to multi-touch attribution.

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