Why Google’s Base Attribution Model isn’t Accurate for B2B

If you run a business with an online presence, you or your marketing agency have most likely analyzed the traffic and user behavior on your site by using Google Analytics. Among the vast and, at times, confusing capabilities of Google Analytics, one of the most useful tools is the ability to create and track goals. The site owner or agency sets goals within Google Analytics. They can be any action that you deem beneficial to your business and want to monitor.

When someone completes a goal, like a form submission, Google Analytics attributes the last method that a user utilized to reach your website. The method is called a medium and is most commonly organic (Google, Bing or any search engine), direct (typing in the URL), CPC (cost per click or Google AdWords) or email (email campaigns).
Attribution modeling essentially tells you where the conversion came from and what source should get the credit. There are many attribution models including last interaction, last non-direct click, Last Google Ads click, first interaction, linear, time decay and position based. They differ on how they credit the medium to the goal completion. The differing models are used to find out which medium is the most useful source or sources to get website conversions.

Attibution Model Types

The Downside of the Last Interaction Model

Google Analytics utilizes the Last Interaction Model, but it is not the best attribution model for many online businesses and especially not the B2B industry. The Last Interaction model gives credit to the medium a person used to reach the site when they converted. It doesn’t matter how many times the user has visited the site, or what method they used to reach your website in the past. The user could come to the site two times, one via the organic medium from Google and the second time from a Google AdWords campaign. If they convert on the second time from the AdWords campaign, this is the medium that gets the full credit, even though the user discovered the website organically. Organic search doesn’t receive any credit even though the user discovered your website organically. In the B2B industry, typically it requires many approvals up the corporate ladder and revisits to a site to decide to convert. Most purchases in the B2B industry are about partnerships rather than a one time purchase. That is why the Last Interaction model is not effective in this industry. Not to say that this model isn’t useful. The Last Interaction Model can be practical if people visit your site once and then convert. But, this isn’t the case for most users, especially in the B2B industry where the conversion funnel is much longer than B2C.

Why The Position Based Model is Best for B2B

The Position Based Model gives credit to the medium of each visit, called touchpoints, from a single user before they submit a form and convert. This model weighs the first and last touchpoint higher; 40% for the first touchpoint and 40% for the last touch point. The middle touchpoints, however many there are (2-100), evenly distribute the remaining 20%. This makes the most sense in the B2B industry because it gives the most weight to the first touchpoint, the medium that got the user to the site, and the final touchpoint, the medium that they ultimately converted on. This model makes the most sense because typically more than one medium is involved in getting a user to convert. Good SEO may get the user to the site but they may ultimately convert on direct traffic if they do their research on the company, product, and the competitors before deciding to purchase.

Choose the Right Data-Driven Attribution Model for your Industry

Overall, attribution modeling can further explain how people are finding your site and converting. Organic traffic often brings users to the site, but will not receive credit for conversions if the user visits the site multiple times. Organic traffic should be getting part of the conversion credit since it progresses the conversion process. The Last Interaction Model only explains one user’s visit to your site. It doesn’t explain the long conversion funnel that is part of the B2B decision-making process. The Position Based Model accurately gives credit to each medium that user utilized to visit your site and converted. By using the correct model for your industry, it explains the return on investment (ROI) for the various mediums. Finding out the most successful medium will tell you where you should invest more of your marketing budget and grow your sales.

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Written by Kasey McCarthy, Digital Marketing Specialist at Ecreativeworks

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