#WeBuildWednesdays: Measuring ROI Using Attribution Models | Youtech.

#WeBuildWednesdays Ep 34: Measuring ROI Using Attribution Models

Take Control of Your Marketing Dollars

Hey guys. Happy Wednesday! It’s Mike Norris. I’m here to talk to you today about how you can better measure ROI with attribution models. I chose this topic because 43% of companies list measuring ROI as their top marketing challenge.

Adoption of marketing attribution has climbed in the past year by about 26%, but less than a third of organizations use a clearly-defined attribution model across their marketing campaigns.

So, it really hasn’t been widely adopted yet. Let’s dive right in.


What is Attribution?

I have a good analogy for you that will spark some thoughts.

(Moreso, a story)

A couple of years ago, we were visiting Google in Chicago and went to the 20th floor. One of Google’s employees was given a presentation to us and started with an icebreaker.

She asked around the room, “How did everyone get here today?”

Some people said, “Well, I drove. I parked in the garage across the street.”

Someone else took an Uber. Someone else walked (they lived really close by).

A couple of people took the bus. Others carpooled. Those were the common answers everyone was giving.

The Google employee looked at us and said, “Ok. And once you got in the building, how did you get to the 20th floor? Did anyone take the stairs?”

We all said, “No.”

She replied, “Okay, so you all took the elevator then?”

We all agreed.  

She then said, “Okay, we should put all of our money in elevators then, since the elevators were the final touch point that led you all here to complete the desired action that we wanted.”

We all looked around the room and laughed because it’s obviously not the case. There were a lot of different ways that we all got there today, and the elevator was just the one final thing that we all did. We all did happen to do it, don’t get me wrong, but putting all your money in elevators just seems so counterintuitive.

Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket

That’s what a lot of businesses do today. They look just at that last touch point of what’s driving the conversion. They’re not attributing value to those other channels. How can you best do that? That’s where an attribution model comes into play. I use Google as an example because they have one of the best umbrellas out there. They’ve got Google search, retargeting ads, display ads, and YouTube. They’ve got a big ecosystem and are working on implementing models within Google Analytics, Google Search Ads 360, and a variety of other sweet platforms so that you can correctly attribute your conversions to those different channels.  

Here’s what I mean by that.

Consider All Contributions

Let’s say you’re running YouTube ads and video ads, and someone sees your video ad on YouTube.

About seven days later, they see one of your display ads. Over the course of the next couple of days, they see one of your display ads again.

When it’s time for them to make a purchase two weeks later, they go to Google and type in keywords that pertain to your business.

They see your search ad and they say, “Oh, I’ve heard of this company. I’ve seen their Google or YouTube ad. I’ve seen their display ads. I recognize this brand and think they’re a good brand. I know them, so I trust them. I’m going to click.” At that point, they click on your ad. They go through the process and convert.

You don’t want to assign full conversion only to your search ad, because your YouTube ad also played a part, your display ads as well, and maybe if that user had just used the search ad, he/she wouldn’t have recognized you. They would have gone to a competitor instead. That’s why it’s important that you correctly attribute conversion to all those sources.

Conversion Models

There are a variety of models to do that.


The best one within Google is Data-Driven. To do that, you need a certain amount of conversions per month, so it’s not always something that’s applicable to everything.

First Click Attribution

There are other models, however. There’s First Click Attribution, which you don’t really want to use. That would give an entirety of the conversion to the first touch point.

Last Click Attribution

There’s Last Click Attribution, which you might guess, attributes 100 percent of the conversion to the last touch point.

Time Decay & Linear

There’s also something called Time Decay. There’s another one called Linear. What these do is put the value of conversion across different channels based on–in the case of Time Decay–how much time has passed since that touch point happened.

Your last touch point is valued a little bit more than some of your first touch points, but it still distributes it across all of them. In the case of Linear, that distributes evenly across everything.

Your Best Bet

The Data-Driven is the best because that uses different algorithms and machine learning capabilities to determine exactly what value should be assigned to which part of the process.

That’s the ideal model. You can do some of this under the Google umbrella, which is great. It has its limitations. If someone hears your radio ad or sees your billboard ad, you’re not gonna be able to attribute those things right now, unfortunately. You’ll have to look for upticks when running billboards, radio, TV ads, or anything like that.

When you look at your PPC data, you might see trends upward. You can look at that data and ascertain how well your other channels are performing. But again, not perfect size. So, if you stick to the digital, you could do a better job with that.

That is attribution, and that is how you can better measure ROI, using attribution.

Happy Wednesday, guys! Bye.

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