6 Core Components to Achieve Multi-touch Attribution

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It is critical for any marketing leader to have insight into what is working and what is not. Multi-touch Attribution enables marketers to visualize the campaigns that a buyer has interacted with from the lead stage, all the way to closed won revenue.

If you think that sounds like a perfect world, you’d be right, as several challenges can get in the way. Martech stacks are complex and data is often kept in disparate systems, making it time consuming for teams to export and import the data they need to compile, so that they can draw conclusions on top performing efforts.

Even after all of that work, many times marketing teams still do not have all the insights they need on campaign performance. What are the six must-have elements for achieving optimal multi-touch campaign attribution?

Craig Jordan, the Founder & CEO of SaaScend, shared them at this past year’s ParDreamin event! They are summarized below to get marketers started on their attribution journey.

1. Attribution Models

First, decide which attribution model your organization is going to use to give credit back to marketing campaigns.

Craig broke up the different attribution models into two categories, standard and complex. The standard models, first, last, and even distribution all come with Pardot Plus out of the box. The complex models, W-Shaped, U-Shaped, Time Decay, and Custom, take more advanced configuration for example, using Apex code.

Standard Models

First and last touch only provide one view of engagement. All of the credit of a closed one deal is given to one campaign, either the prospect’s source, the promotional channel that drove them to convert, or the last touch that occurred before an opportunity was created. Both omit the rest of the customer journey and as Craig noted, the last touch often gives all the credit to sales, as they are typically involved in the last campaign before an opportunity is created.

Even distribution does provide a full view of the buyer’s journey, but it gives the same amount of credit to a click on a LinkedIn post as a webinar registration. Most would agree that not all prospect engagement should be equally weighed, which is why there are different Pardot scoring adjustments based on the prospect’s activity. Therefore having an evenly distributed model does not give the most accurate insight either.

Complex Models

Depending on the organization and what leadership deems as valuable insight will all help to determine which complex model to use. Each one provides data into the full customer journey, but places emphasis on different points.

The U-Shaped model gives more credit to the first and the last touch. The W-Shaped model does this as well, except it also gives more credit to a point in the middle. This midpoint can vary among teams, but an example would be the campaign the prospect engages with right before they reach the Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) threshold.

Time decay gives the most amount of credit to the last touch and then gives less and less credit to each touchpoint all the way back to when the visitor became a prospect. A Custom Model is neither of the models previously described, but is crafted by the organization itself. Each touchpoint is given a certain amount of credit that the team has configured.

To decide which attribution model is right for your business, The Ultimate Guide to Campaign Attribution by SaaScend, advises the following:

  • Examine the current state of the buyer’s journey.
  • Evaluate the campaigns that are being executed to win business.
  • Determine the touchpoints that matter the most to your business model.
  • Consider which buyer actions might deserve more credit than others.

2. Omnichannel Campaign Architecture

Craig acknowledged that element number two can be the hardest challenge for a lot of organizations, as teams are often left wondering…

How do we think about it?
Where do we start?
How do we structure our campaigns for the best reporting?

He advised teams to think about campaign architecture as a three-level hierarchy. Solution / Product, Asset / Conversion Point, and then Promotional Channel. Every asset, whether it is a blog article, downloadable content, or a webinar can typically be tied back to a certain product or service that the company provides. Meanwhile promotional channels are used to drive traffic to that asset.

If a team was to execute a Webinar related to their Attribution solution, their hierarchy would look something like this.

Keeping the campaign hierarchy to three levels, simplifies the data architecture, but still provides marketers with rich insights. Using this method enables teams to be able to answer questions such as:

  • Which product or solution is getting the best results from a marketing perspective?
  • Of all my webinars, which one was the most successful?
  • For that top webinar, which promotional channel drove the most registrants?

Answering these questions can help marketers pinpoint ideal campaign journeys, streamlining conversion for visitors into prospects, then MQLs, then pipeline, then closed won.

3. Lead Capture to Salesforce

The biggest takeaway from element number three is to use hidden fields on forms that capture UTM parameter data. This allows marketers to have accurate insight into the prospect’s source, or the promotional channel that drove them to the form where they converted.

Making sure this data is in Salesforce entails using automation. Marketers can use the Completion Action, Add to CRM Campaign, to add the prospect as a campaign member in Salesforce, as long as they have already been assigned. This captures the conversion point.

To make sure the UTM data is shared in Salesforce, UTM fields can be created on the lead and contact records and then synced to the fields in Pardot. Using the UTM data to track the prospect’s promotional channel campaign takes more automation. Adding the prospect as a campaign member using the UTM data can be done with Pardot automation rules, but they would need to be created again and again which can be time consuming. Collaborating with a Salesforce Admin to build a one-time flow is what is recommended.

4. Attributable Link Tracking

Element number four is related to number three in that a tracking link contains the UTM parameters that the hidden form fields will use to pull the data into Pardot and Salesforce. There are six UTM parameters that can be tracked, campaign ID, campaign name, source, medium, content, and term. All of these UTM parameters can be made as hidden fields on a Pardot form and then used in tracking links.

For example, a tracking link that includes the UTM source, medium, and campaign for a paid ad on LinkedIn, would look like the below example.

Building these URL’s manually can be time consuming, but using a tool can help expedite the process. Google Analytics has their own URL builder and then there is the one that Jenna Mobly recommends by Raven.

However your team decides to create their tracking links with UTM parameters, just remember to standardize the process, so there is consistent UTM data being used for certain types of campaigns.

5. Pipeline Campaign Influence

You may be using a campaign hierarchy, tracking links with UTM parameters, and hidden fields on your Pardot forms, but do you have campaign influence setup in Salesforce?

To check with Admin access, go to Setup, Marketing, Campaign Influence, and click on Campaign Influence Settings, or just search Influence in the Quick Find box. Then check to see if Enabled is selected.

Once enabled is selected, you will then have access to the report type, Campaigns with Influenced Opportunities (Customizable Campaign Influence). When a report is created with this Report Type, there will be the Model Name column that will display the type of influence model that is being used.

In addition to having campaign influence enabled, Craig brought up the more challenging part, contact role association. Which can be a massive frustration for any marketer that has been struggling to get their team to use contact roles on Opportunities.

One way to overcome this challenge is to create a required lookup field on the Opportunity that ties in the Contact selected as the main Point of Contact (POC) and uses Salesforce Automation to associate the POC identified as the contact role.

Without contact roles and having campaign influence enabled, there will be no marketing attribution. Therefore, element number five is absolutely critical!

6. Campaign ROI, KPIs, and Insights

Once all of the data is being captured, what should be focused on when it comes to measuring success and creating your Salesforce dashboards? Craig shared that he often sees organizations focus solely on opportunities created that can be tied back to campaigns, but it is important to also focus on leads and meetings.

Tracking leads, meetings, pipeline, and revenue, coincides with lifecycle stage tracking. Craig shared that using a custom object for lifecycle stage tracking along with date stamps and automation to update the lead or contact’s stage, shows the campaign engagement at each stage and the velocity at which leads and contacts are moving through the funnel.

Capturing this data empowers marketers to answer the question, which campaign will be the most cost effective and drive prospects through the funnel at the fastest rate? If there is only a month left in the quarter, and the team is behind on their number, marketing can use this insight to adjust their strategy and focus on the identified campaign to help the business meet its goals.

Focusing on the whole journey, provides data for marketing to make informed decisions with greater impact.

What Are the Next Steps?

  • Examine your current marketing attribution structure.
  • What attribution model are you using?
  • How is your campaign hierarchy set up?
  • Are you able to identify your top performing promotional channel?
  • Are you using hidden fields on forms to track UTM data?
  • Do you have campaign influence enabled?
  • Is there at least one contact associated with every opportunity?
  • How is campaign performance being captured and reported on?

Which of the six elements are being done and which are still areas that need to be planned and configured? It may seem intimidating at first, but the pay off to understand what is working and what is not is extremely valuable.

 

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