Social Media Attribution Model Basics

Do you know how social media affects your sales? Research shows just 13 percent of marketers can quantify the effect social media has on their business. While every platform offers a series of metrics to watch, they don't provide the kind of specifics marketers need to understand their return on investment. That's where attribution models in come.

The attribution process uncovers the successes of social media and "attributes" them to specific channels and campaigns.

There are a number of different attribution models, but here's a look at some of the most common:

Single-Touch Models

A single-touch model gives credit to one specific point in a customer's buying journey. It's one of the most commonly used models, and the easiest to understand.

Using a single-touch model, brands may credit a conversion to several different touch points, including:

  • 1) First touch

In the first-touch model, the credit for the conversion is given to the very first piece of digital content that a customer interacts with that leads to a conversion.

For instance, if a customer clicked on a Facebook post to learn more about a product and wound up buying it later on, the credit for this sale is given to the buyer's first touch, which is the Facebook post.

  • 2) Last touch

The last-touch model gives the conversion credit to the last piece of content that a customer touched.

For instance, if a customer clicked on a link in an email, read an article, downloaded a whitepaper, and then made a purchase, the credit is given to the whitepaper.

Multi-Touch Models

Multi-touch models explore a customer's buying journey from start to finish rather than looking at one point. While they're more complicated, multi-touch models provide more accuracy.

Some multi-touch models include:

  • 1) Equal weight

This model spreads credit for a conversion across every piece of digital content that a customer interacts with before converting. If the customer conducts a search, browses a website, and makes a purchase after seeing an ad for the product he or she was interested in, every step is given equal credit for the sale.

  • 2) Time decay

This model gives more credit to the interactions that customers have prior to converting. This model incorporates time, understanding that customers browse, leave, and come back later.

Let's say a customer clicks on a social ad that's selling shoes and follows the link to the website, but leaves after browsing. A few days later, the same customer sees the shoes in a social ad and receives an email highlighting the product, which ultimately drives a purchase. The majority of the credit is given to the social ad and email.

Understanding what triggers a conversion is critical to the success of a marketing campaign. To see which model is best for your brand, consider working with an experienced digital marketing agency.