Does Your Ecommerce Attribution Model Tell the Truth?

July 1, 2015


After pouring money into marketing for your ecommerce company, you want to know where your traffic comes from, right? The launch of a particular campaign could involve pay-per-click ads, email marketing, social media posts, blogs, guest posts, and mentions in online magazines. How could you possibly track where your buyers found you with so many possibilities? 

There are quite a few attribution models available, with perhaps the most widely used being Google Analytics. It’s true that Google Analytics will help you identify the click that led buyers directly to your page, and that’s pretty helpful, in the end. But…does it tell the whole story?

The Google Analytics Story 

We like Google; don’t get us wrong. It’s a pretty powerful free tool that gives you a lot to work with. The problem is this: Google Analytics only tells you the last page a buyer was on before they clicked through to your ecommerce site. Basically, you get only that one point of referral. What does the story look like then?

Once upon a time, the end.

“But wait!” you say. “Where did the customers go? What did they do? When was the turning point that convinced them to make a purchase?”

And that’s the problem with the Google Analytics story.

The HubSpot Analytics Story

What you really need is a story that goes something like this: Once upon a time, Chris Customer saw his friend retweet a company’s video. It looked pretty funny, so he clicked through to watch. Amazingly enough, the video called his attention to a particular need—one he hadn’t realized existed. So, Chris Customer navigated his way over to the company website to do a little digging. After he got the information he needed, he visited the Facebook page to see what others might say.

There, on the Facebook page, he was able to read some of the reviews for the product, both good and bad. With plenty of information to digest, Chris took a few weeks to think. The company got a little worried that he’d forgotten about them, so they sent a quick email nudge to make sure Chris was still interested in their products. Because he opened the email and clicked through to the website, the company felt reassured. Then, one day, he jumped online, did a quick Google search to find the company again, and clicked the first link that appeared, which just happened to be a PPC ad. The end.

Wouldn’t that be a thrilling story? You’d know every touch your brand made with Chris Customer from beginning to end. Can you give the PPC ad the credit for selling the product, or does the first tweet get the credit? What about all the little interactions in between? Having the whole story helps you determine where you should put more marketing attention and where you can let things relax.

What kind of attribution model have you trusted so far? Wouldn’t you like to know more of the story so you can better plan your marketing?

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