Good marketers run multiple, parallel campaigns to meet business goals. Great marketers make sure those campaigns are ROI-positive efforts they can rely on.

You might be familiar with the John Wanamaker quote, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted – the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Multi-touch attribution can transform a good marketing strategy into a game-changer for your business by letting you know which campaigns drive conversions, so you can invest in the efforts that work best.

There have been many blogs written over the years pointing to the complexity of marketing attribution and the reasons why a multi-touch approach is underutilized by marketers. In fact, while researching for this post, we found a nearly 40-point guide to implementing multi-touch attribution.

40 steps!? Nobody has time for that! And that’s why advertising and marketing dollars are going to waste.

While the industry has come a long way since Wanamaker shared those words, most businesses – unless they’re large enterprises with big budgets for marketing – don’t have the resources needed to accurately measure end-to-end ROI.

SharpSpring’s goal is to deliver the best value to agencies and small-to-medium-sized businesses so they can reach, connect, and convert their leads in new ways with a powerful marketing and sales platform that’s both affordable and easy to use. The decision to add streamlined multi-touch attribution to the solution is an extension of that vision.

While multi-touch marketing attribution isn’t a new concept, SharpSpring makes it a lot easier to get started – especially if you’re not on an enterprise budget. And we can sum it up in three steps, instead of 40! Before we dive in, let’s take a quick review of the basics.

What Are Campaigns?

A campaign is any marketing effort that gets you closer to a conversion.

So, whether you’re making phone calls, leveraging a drip series, or retargeting website visitors with ads, it’s important to view each of these efforts as levers you can pull to influence lead behavior.

A buyer’s journey consists of many touchpoints happening through multiple channels, and multi-touch attribution looks at the impact of all those campaign interactions in driving conversions, helping you measure true performance.

To optimize ROI and make sure the right message is being sent to the right person at the right time, marketers need to know which touchpoints and messaging a prospect interacted with that fueled their conversion.

Multi-touch attribution’s granular visibility into the buyer’s journey also helps to shorten sales cycles, letting you focus on fewer, but more effective channels.

Identify the Right Marketing Attribution Model for You

Google Analytics defines a marketing attribution model as “the rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths.”

Any interaction between your brand and a potential buyer is considered to be a touchpoint. This could be any activity – from interacting with a social media post to downloading an eBook from your website.

First-touch marketing attribution gives full credit to the first touchpoint that happens before a conversion, so you know exactly which campaigns are bringing you new leads.

Last-touch marketing attribution gives full credit to the last touchpoint before a conversion, so you can instantly see what occurs right before a purchase decision.

Linear marketing attribution attributes equal value to each of the touchpoints preceding a conversion. Let’s say one of our event prospects visited our website directly, filled out a “Contact Us” form, downloaded a whitepaper, and opened one of our pre-event emails. With linear attribution, all of these events get equal credit for the lead’s ultimate conversion.

U-shaped modeling attributes both the first and last touch points with 40% of a conversion’s value. The other 20% is split between the touchpoints in between. Using our event prospect example, we’d weigh the lead’s initial site visit and pre-event email open events with more value than the “Contact Us” form submission and whitepaper download that happened in between.

Time decay modeling allows you to set a half-life decay, so the touchpoints that occur closest to the conversion event get a greater amount of the credit. In our event example, we’d stagger the value of the initial site visit (least value) all the way to the pre-event email open (most value).

3 Steps to Holistic Performance Reporting

These three steps – not 40 – are the core components needed to provide performance reporting that tracks end-to-end ROI and optimizes your marketing and sales strategies.

1. Track Your Campaigns

Campaign reporting is a multi-dimensional process that requires you to examine your sales opportunities from every angle. You need a tool that helps you identify and analyze where conversions are coming from, so you’ll know which tactics work and which ones don’t.

For example, your marketing agency may have a small business client that needs help streamlining their marketing and sales efforts. As a small business, it’s important for them to get insight into what efforts are driving conversions, whether it’s direct traffic to their website, a link in their most recent blog post, or in person after signing up for a limited-time promotion.

So, what tool should your marketing agency use to identify the impact of their efforts on conversions?

2. Set Up Your Conversion Goals

In order to achieve this type of reporting, it’s important to define your conversion goals. SharpSpring considers a conversion goal an event specifically chosen as an indicator of success for the business. For example, your client’s conversion goal might be the action of a customer signing up for a membership program. To make sure the client continues to use the same tactics that led to those membership program signups, they need insight on what efforts led to those conversions.

If you’re an event coordinator preparing for a virtual workshop, your conversion goal might be a form submission on a landing page dedicated to your event. Knowing the strategies that were successful in driving prospects to convert and register for the event will be a key part of optimizing your event campaigns and ROI.

3. Build Custom Reports with Multi-touch Attribution

Revitalize your campaign and sales reporting by experimenting with the attribution models we’ve discussed and find one that works best for your business. Then, focus your efforts around that single model and start building Custom Reports.

SharpSpring’s Cloud Dashboard functionality also lets you share that information seamlessly across teams, giving you the transparency and insight you need to continually optimize marketing and sales processes.

A successful multi-touch approach to marketing attribution provides deep insights into the quantitative and qualitative role that each campaign is playing in the buyer’s journey – and what’s ultimately leading to closed deals.

If you’re looking to learn more about marketing attribution and enhanced performance reporting in SharpSpring, make sure to contact us or schedule a personalized live demo.

Mike Llerena