The Importance of Attribution
This is one of those posts that’s likely to get little engagement. Too many people refuse to fully understand or focus on attribution because it’s hard and there’s no clear cut answers.
People like to feel smart so they focus on the easy things that they can feel confident in.
You should not do this. You should focus on the hard things because the hard things are what move the needle forward.
Attribution is hard. And so so important.
Before we start, it’s well worth it to review this post on Attribution Models from 2.5 years ago.
What is Attribution?
Attribution is the process of assigning sales or the credit of sales to certain marketing activities. Not just to the channels where customers come to your website.
It’s not an exact science. There’s no perfect way to do it. It’s hard. It’s a never ending endeavor.
Let’s give a very straightforward example before we move into the hard stuff.
Let’s say you go to a business and they’re getting a ton of organic traffic from Google that’s driving sales.
Most people will say “that’s great! We should pull resources and focus more on SEO to ramp this thing.”
They do just that and sales decrease substantially.
Why? They didn’t understand why people were coming in through the organic channel to begin with. In this hypothetical example, organic search was doing so well because it was all brand search. Their radio ads were driving people to Google. When they pulled resources to focus on SEO, they pulled from radio.
This is an easy example to understand why your attribution tools (Google Analytics, Shopify Analytics, etc.) and reality don’t line up. The user journey is much more complicated than last click attribution or any attribution model usually accounts for.
Let’s define some things.