When it comes to lead generation, you need to avoid targeting the wrong channels and instead double down your effort (and marketing budget) on channels that are driving sales for your business. 

But how do you know which lead generation channels are driving great results? Enter lead attribution — a way to know which channels provide the best lead generation rates. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss the fundamentals of lead attribution, from what it is to how to measure it. 

What is Lead Attribution?

Lead attribution is the process of giving a score or credit to each touchpoint for a customer’s interaction that results in conversion. This helps determine each touchpoint’s return on investment (ROI) or contribution to the overall lead generation strategy

Knowing the attribution score for each touchpoint helps you to make informed marketing investment decisions. You can also determine the channels that bring in the most qualified leads and optimize your marketing efforts to get the most out of that channel. In addition, lead attribution provides insights into the customer journey, enabling you to create effective lead nurturing campaigns

Types of Lead Attribution

Lead attribution is broken down into two primary models: single-touch and multi-touch attribution. There are two single-touch attributions:

  • First-touch attribution where the lead is attributed to the first recorded interaction with the brand. For example, if a prospect subscribes to your email newsletter, clicks a link in the email, and ends up buying, then credit for the lead is attributed to the email newsletter subscription. 
  • Last-touch attribution where the credit is to the action right before the purchase or conversion. In our previous example, the credit would be attributed to the email (link). 

In a multi-touch attribution model, the lead is attributed to multiple interactions along the customer journey. For example, in our previous example, the email newsletter may get 30% of the sales, and the email link may get 70%. This model is ideal for brands with longer sales cycles or multi-channel marketing strategies

Multi-touch attribution is arguably the most accurate attribution model as it takes into account more of the customer interactions before a conversion. Even so, it overlooks some vital activities such as reading a blog post or a print ad that may have influenced the buyer’s actions. 

The following are some multi-touch attribution models to know about:

  • Linear attribution is when equal credit for lead attribution is given to each touchpoint.
  • U-shaped attribution is when more weight is given to the first and last touchpoints. 
  • Time decay attribution is when touchpoints are organized based on which offers the most influence, with the least influential touchpoint happening first. 

What is a Lookback Window?

A lookback window is a time period, after an interaction on a touchpoint, within which conversion can be attributed to that interaction. Marketers and advertisers use lookback windows to determine if an interaction led to a user’s buying decision. 

The default lookback window is seven days, but you can also use the 24-hour probabilistic model. Besides that, Facebook and Google use 28 and 30-day fixed lookback windows, respectively. Twitter, on the other hand, gives advertisers a choice of five lookback windows: 1, 7, 14, 30, 60, and 90 days. 

How Can You Measure Lead Attribution?

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider with lead attribution. Here’s a simple guide to help you best measure lead attribution:

1. Set Revenue Generation Goals

While it’s okay to focus on lead generation goals like newsletter signups, ad clicks, and demo registration, they don’t take you closer to your overarching business goals. Turn your attention away from these goals and instead focus on what really matters: revenue. Set revenue goals that enable you to match leads with revenue.

2. Create a Customer Journey Map 

Once you set the goals, map out your customer journey. Create a visual representation of the steps your customers go through, from the first interaction and purchase to loyalty and retention. Doing so helps you to identify potential leaks in your sales pipeline so leads don’t slip through the cracks. 

3. Choose Your Technology

You don’t have to track lead attribution manually. There are many reliable lead attribution software tools that can match your business goals and attribution models. These tools aggregate data from different platforms and create meaningful attribution visualizations. 

Some of the great attribution tools include:

  • Impact – A partnership management platform that allows you to manage your partnerships at each stage. 
  • CallRail – Helps you match calls, forms, live chats, etc. to marketing campaigns so you can see which efforts are working. 
  • Supermetrics – Gathers your marketing data from the platforms you’re using and funnels it into your reporting so you can easily track success. 
  • Everflow – A partner management platform that tracks which channels deliver the most ROI.
  • BencmarkONE – While we aren’t a dedicated attribution tool, it’s easy to see last-touch attribution with BenchmarkONE for the campaigns you’ve created. Use automations to set a source on a form, link or campaign and report on your best lead channels. Sign-up free to see it in action.

The tools let you pick an attribution model for your business and continually evaluate data.

4. Analyze Data and Optimize your Model

Once you have launched your campaigns, track the lead attribution results. The attribution tools let you track and analyze results on a single dashboard to determine which channels and activities are performing well. Divert funds away from poorly performing activities and devote more resources to top-performing channels. 

There you have it: a guide to lead attribution! By paying attention to the channels that are delivering the most valuable leads, you’ll be able to supercharge your marketing strategy and effectively allocate your budget.