Columnist Aaron Levy explores some common attribution models used by digital marketers. Which one is right for your business or client?
Last-click attribution has been the default for digital marketers since the beginning of time. It’s easy, it’s tangible, it’s close to the finish line, and in general, it makes us PPC managers look great. And that’s the problem.
Let’s face it — the last-click metrics we’ve been operating on for years have been greatly over-assigning credit to the last interaction. Think about it from a sporting perspective. We all love watching Usain Bolt close out a relay race by sprinting 30 miles per hour, but could he win the race if his team drops the baton? I personally love watching Jordan Speith drop putt after putt in every golf tournament that he plays in (maybe I’m the only one…), but does that matter if he hit his first two drives out of bounds? (In my golf world, that works just fine — but that’s a story for another day.)
You get the point: Last-click is wrong. Unfortunately, first-click attribution is wrong as well. So is position-based, time-decay… even data-driven attribution has some major flaws.
So, which one is right? That depends on goals and what story you want the message to be. The fact of the matter is that attribution modeling is completely, 100 percent made up. It’s up to you to assign credit to the metrics and channels that are most important to your business or client.
If every attribution model is wrong and right at the same time, which is the best for you to use? All of them? None of them? It’s confusing.
Let’s break the common attribution models down based on their pros and cons to figure out which works best for each scenario.
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