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Jan 25
What is attribution modeling?

Guide to enhancing user experience with attribution modeling

A positive user experience is vital to your business’ success. Improving user experience (UX) means that users are likely to spend more time on your website and are then more likely to use your product. They may also be more inclined to recommend your product to friends or colleagues.

All of this adds up to more sales and higher revenue. Word-of-mouth marketing is free marketing, which will also save you costs on advertising.

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What is attribution modeling?

Why use attribution modeling?

Types of attribution models

Your guide to attribution modeling (and improving user experience)

What is attribution modeling?

Consider a product that your business offers. There are many ways that customers can find your product, thanks to your marketing channels.

You might advertise through social media, through Google Ads, and by using an SEO strategy. All of these things represent a potential view of your product by a customer. There are also the pages of your website that customers see before they make a sale. Perhaps a landing page from a social media ad. All of these points of contact are called touchpoints.

Attribution modeling is a way of measuring which touchpoints are the most valuable for your company. It can tell you which sequences of touchpoints provide the most return on investment (ROI) and customer sales.

You can use this to reallocate your marketing budget. You can also use attribution modeling data to identify where the majority of your users are coming from and improve user experience in your sales funnel.

For example, a technical solutions business that seeks to solve a particular RPA challenge might get the majority of their conversions and sales from search engine rankings and ads. Attribution modeling can map out the path that their clients take—which ad do they click on? Which pages do they navigate to make their purchase?

Why use attribution modeling?

Attribution modeling can be a cost-saver in terms of your marketing budget. By understanding where your high-value touchpoints are, you can reallocate funds and resources from low-ROI marketing avenues.

You may also gain a deeper understanding of your customer base. By collecting data on where your customers are coming to your site from, you can understand what sites they’re using and how they’re using them.

You can also focus on optimizing the most commonly used paths so that they’re easy and quick for your customers to use.

Attribution modeling can also be used in collaboration with campaign KPIs to identify successful campaigns.

Types of attribution models

There are a number of different ways to conduct attribution modeling, depending on your business’ needs.

  • First touch – This version of the model gives the credit for the sale to the first point of contact that the customer has. For example, a customer who makes a purchase from a Facebook Ad would see the credit for the sale assigned to that ad.
  • Last touch – A model that assigns credit for a sale to the customer’s last touchpoint. This is usually a sales page or “learn more” page. It is one of the easiest models to work with and can help you to improve your sales page for user experience.
  • Time decay – Credit for a sale is assigned proportionally to the touchpoint’s place in the sequence. Points close to the end of the sequence gain more credit than at the beginning. This may come in handy when your sales funnel is short. You can use this model to improve your messaging and align it to what your users want to see.
  • Linear – This model assigns equal credit for a sale to every point in the sales cycle. This is useful for short cycles, but it can cause inaccuracies in longer cycles.
  • U-shaped (position-based) – This model takes the view that the beginning and end—the first and final touchpoints—are the most important in your sales funnel. 80% of the credit is divided between the first and last points of contact, while the other 20% is divided between the middle steps.
  • W-shaped – This method is similar to the previous type, except it also assigns weighting to a point in the middle of your customer journey. 30% of the credit is given to the beginning, the middle, and the end points, while the remaining 10% goes to all of the other points.

Which model you choose to use will depend on how complex your sales cycle is. For example, a business with a simple sales cycle might want to use a linear or first/last touch model, where one with a longer cycle might use a W or U-shaped modeling strategy.

Your guide to attribution modeling (and improving user experience)

Follow these steps to understand how to use attribution models to improve your users’ experience.

1. Identify high-value points

This is the big one for using attribution modeling to enhance your user experience.By identifying which touchpoints contribute the most to your customer journey, you can focus your resources on making these points as user-friendly and accessible as possible.

Let’s look at an example. Many companies use external call center providers to manage their customer service call system. A business that provides this service might work out an attribution model using any one of the methods outlined above. This example will use W-shaped modeling.

Say that the company discovers that their three most valuable touchpoints are LinkedIn advertisements, sign-ups for a short course on setting up a remote call center, and direct links to their sales page on the sign-up confirmation email.

This business would likely focus on filling any gaps in these three touchpoints to avoid putting customers off their business. Remember, each of these points represents a significant move forward in the sales funnel—they all need to be strong.

2. Modify sales pathways

A long sales journey can frustrate customers. Not all the time, but if the customer has to go through a lot of steps to purchase your product or service, they may give up.You can use attribution modeling to identify your longest and shortest pathways to a sale.

With a short sales journey, consider the following:
What proportion of your sales come from this journey?
Does the customer feel rushed?

With longer customer journeys, consider:
Is every step here necessary?
Is every step targeted towards my ideal customer?
At what stage do we tend to lose leads/potential sales?

Returning to the earlier example of a business phone system, imagine this time that the client needs a video conference phone system.

This is a big commitment of both time and money for this business, so they’re likely to want a slightly longer sales journey that allows them to review all of the information you have given them.

This is particularly true if they’re looking to invest in innovative technology, like an approved by Gartner VoIP system, to replace older platforms.

On the other hand, a customer looking to buy a simple set of headphones from your business won’t want to go through a seven-step sales journey.

3. Understand your audience

This is true of any area of your marketing strategy. It’s a real benefit of attribution modeling and it may help you to improve user experience.Imagine you’re examining the success of your seasonal marketing campaign. You find that your highest-value sequence is Instagram Ad > Linktree > landing page > sales page.By collecting this information, you’ve gained an insight into how your customers are shopping online and what sort of users they might be. Users who shop on Instagram are likely to be tech savvy and may not be using search engines as frequently as other customers.

You can also combine attribution modeling with another technique: Segmentation.

You can monitor your sales funnel and sales successes in segments of different factors, including geography and by demographic.

Have a look at some segmentation examples to help you understand this.

4. Don’t ignore other channels

Attribution modeling is a great way to cut unnecessary marketing costs. However, you’ll need to be careful as to what you deem unnecessary. Your modeling may show you that your Google Ads bring about the most conversions, particularly the ad that leads straight to your “product information” page.It makes good sense to focus on expanding the ad that leads to your information page, as this is the highest value route to a sale. But your other ads may still hold value for your business.This is particularly true if you have multiple products or services with different target audiences. Not ignoring other channels—like social media or less popular ads—means that you may be serving a section of your customer base that may otherwise be ignored.

It may seem difficult to manage multiple ads across different platforms, but you can use workflow management tools to combat this.

Next steps
Before beginning with attribution modeling, you need to have a solid understanding of the goals of your marketing strategy. This is where understanding your audience comes in again—you’ll need to know where your ads are going and when.

Try to avoid overwhelming your audience with adverts. No matter how effective they are, your audience is more likely to respond to less frequent ads in the right online spaces, rather than being spammed on irrelevant platforms.

About the author:

John Allen is the Director of SEO for 8×8, a leading communication platform with integrated call center WFM, voice, video, and chat functionality. John is a marketing professional with over 14 years experience in the field, and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, and a myriad of services. This is his LinkedIn.

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