What is Media Attribution and How to Get Started?

Katie Holmes
13th May 2022

Implement media attribution and track which of your traffic sources, keywords and ads are having the most significant impact on your opportunities and deals. 

Marketers are under immense pressure to demonstrate measurable results. Reporting on the number of marketing leads and calling it a day is no longer enough.

Your leadership teams want to know how marketing impacts the pipeline and revenue. 

They want real outcomes.

And counting the number of leads just doesn’t cut it anymore. 

Fortunately, marketers have a solution in the form of media attribution.

Using attribution data to evaluate marketing touchpoints, marketers can ultimately show how their media campaigns are generating quality leads and revenue.   

And that’s all that everyone wants to know, right?

For this article, we’ll discuss:

💡 Pro Tip

Have you heard about our free attribution e-learning platform? Learn about marketing attribution at your own pace—any time, anywhere. Perfect for marketers at all levels. 

Sign up for attribution academy (it’s free)

What is media attribution?

Chances are, you have a general idea of what media attribution is and how it works. But, for the purposes of this article, let’s quickly break it down.

Media attribution, or marketing attribution, is a set of rules that determines how your analytics applies credit for clicks, conversions, and sales.

It’s the simple act of assigning credit or revenue back to the media channels that sourced and converted your most valuable customers.

Without attribution to help you see which touchpoints contribute to your overall ROI, you run the risk of wasting money on media channels that offer little to no value. 

What are the media attribution models?

Media attribution is important because, without it, you’d really have no understanding of your marketing performance

There are many attribution models to choose from, each with pros and cons. If you use Google Analytics, then you can make use of the following attribution models: 

Each of these attribution models will provide you with actionable data. But they will produce different findings and various outcomes. 

You can learn everything you need to know about the different types of attribution models and the best time to use them in our guide on attribution modelling.

Why should you care about media attribution?

Media attribution offers a whole host of benefits that allows marketers to tailor their marketing efforts and shift the needle on revenue. 

Interestingly, during our survey, respondents ranked “sales and marketing alignment”, “better visibility into the customer journey”, and “proving ROI” as the top three benefits of attribution. 

The feedback in our survey varied, but 59% of respondents consider sales and marketing alignment the main benefit of attribution. 

Sales and marketing alignment is a hot topic now more than ever.

Also referred to as smarketing, sales and marketing alignment is a strategy that unifies your marketing and sales teams to operate the same data, goals and objectives. 

Whether your business is small, large or somewhere in between, you can’t afford to ignore sales and marketing alignment. 

Previously sales and marketing alignment was a struggle, mainly because both teams worked in silos and focused on different stages of the funnel.

But that has changed with the rise of media attribution. 

With the help of attribution, both teams have access to the same data and can better understand how different interactions impact movement along the customer journey more collaboratively.

How to get started with media attribution

Whether you’re new to media attribution or looking to strengthen your understanding of the best practices, we’re here to help.

We asked data-driven marketers to weigh in and share top tips on media attribution. By following the steps below, you’ll find it easier to keep up with your media attribution data and go on to achieve much better results for your business.

Set the right goals

Like most things you do in life, you need to define your goals.

In other words, what is it you want to achieve from your media attribution data? 

Are you looking for insights into your customer’s behaviours? Perhaps you need to justify your spending so you can ask for a bigger budget?

Or, like most marketers, you want to understand which media channels are having the greatest impact on revenue. 

Whatever the goal, you need to make sure you have a crystal-clear idea of what it is you want to find out.

Kelly Maxwell, CEO at Seniors Mutual, agrees: “It is important to set goals and see how well you came to accomplishing those goals later. Unfortunately, most people don’t start with this.”

Choose your attribution model

Once you’ve outlined your goals, you’ll need to settle on an attribution model. 

Before you pick an attribution model, you must define a clear picture of your customer journey.

“This is a very critical process for media attribution as it will define the touchpoints that convert better for your audience,” says Saurabh Wani, Content Marketing Associate at Automate.io.

Essentially, a customer journey shows how a customer moves through each stage of the funnel before converting into a deal or sale. 

The easiest way to shape together a picture of your customer journey is to pull existing information and research from your CRM database and analytics. 

Here you can define the touchpoints that convert better for your audience and choose an attribution model that will fit best for your customer journey and business. 

You can also use data from tools like Ruler Analytics, search console, and customer personas to generate better insights into your customer journey. 

Start your campaigns small

If you’re new to media attribution, our advice would be to start small with your campaigns. 

First, this allows you to test the waters and ensure that you’ve chosen the right marketing attribution model for your customer journey.

Second, it lets your team become familiar with the results of media attribution.

Once your confidence grows, you can slowly expand the variety of marketing channels as you go. 

David Cusick, CSO & Executive Editor at House Method, agrees: “Focus on one campaign first before you expand into a mix of marketing channels. It’s better to start with simple data that you can understand and build quality attribution over time. That will help you generate insightful reports over time rather than trying to perfect them immediately.”

Invest in marketing attribution tools

The most popular tool for tracking attribution data is Google Analytics. 

“Google Analytics offers multi-channel marketing attribution to help you measure your marketing efforts,” says Chelsea Cohan, Co-Founder at SoStocked.

According to our survey, 90% of marketers consider Google Analytics their go-to choice for marketing measurement. 

While Google Analytics has made it possible for marketers to attribute clicks and conversions, it isn’t perfect. 

First, the attribution window is limited to 90 days of historical data. This is fine if you have a short sales cycle with a single step buying process. 

But, if you’re like 1 in 5 businesses that have sales cycles longer than 90-days, chances are you’re missing out on crucial data about your customer journeys.  

Second, Google Analytics doesn’t provide much insight into your offline conversions and inbound calls. 

Related: How to track offline conversions in Google Analytics

The initial purpose of Google Analytics was to help users understand web and digital metrics rather than focus on traditional means of marketing.

But, despite the growth of modern technology, phone calls and offline interactions are still considered the most valuable type of lead for many businesses. In fact, 50% of marketers rely on phone calls to drive quality leads. 

With the lack of offline conversion data available in Google Analytics, marketers are left to guess about the quality of their campaigns.

In response to these issues, marketers are turning to marketing attribution software to track and analyse their data more effectively.

Ruler, for example, is a marketing attribution and call tracking solution. It works by matching revenue from real sales, leads and phone calls back to the exact marketing source that originally sourced them. 

As a result, allowing marketers to see which media channels are working well for them and those which are not.

We have plenty of blogs that explain how Ruler attributes revenue to your marketing if you want to learn more.

Import marketing attribution data in CRM

Marketing attribution tools allow you to identify who is converting on your website and how they got there. 

But to successfully connect these leads to revenue, you’ll need to pass your attribution data to your CRM. 

“The purpose of this is to determine which touchpoints are valuable and where to allocate your resources to decrease spending,” says James Edge, Founder at Crush The USMLE.

Obviously, manually adding marketing attribution and conversion data to your CRM can be complicated and time-consuming. 

But, with tools like Ruler, the job couldn’t be easier.

Ruler integrates with almost any tool, allowing you to seamlessly pass marketing source and conversion data to your CRM without the legwork. 

Here’s an example of what Ruler’s attribution data looks like in Pipedrive. 

As leads move down the funnel, you’ll be able to determine the effectiveness of your campaigns, keywords and landing pages at every stage of your sales pipeline. 

When a deal is made, you can feed the revenue data back to your marketing touchpoints that sourced the original lead and close the loop between your media channels and revenue. 

💡 Pro Tip

We have plenty more content on how Ruler sends lead source and attribution data to your CRM. You can start by checking out our guide below.

How Ruler sends lead source to your CRM

Need help getting started with media attribution?

Attribution is a must-have for marketers who want to track which media channels are driving the highest ROI.

The metrics for evaluating marketing measurement have changed. 

Lead generation goals are no longer enough. 

Marketers are being held increasingly accountable for the need to connect their efforts with revenue.

So, we hope this guide has been useful in giving you some ideas.

Don’t forget, Ruler makes the process of media attribution a breeze by seamlessly attributing revenue to your marketing sources across multiple touchpoints. 

Want more information? Read our guide and learn everything you can discover in Ruler, or book a demo to see it in action for yourself. 

book demo - revenue attribution - www.ruleranalytics.com