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Unrelated Content: Why Writing About Shiny Things Won’t Drive Links

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Unrelated Content: Why Writing About Shiny Things Won't Drive Links

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Have you ever worked with someone who had thousands of shiny thing content ideas?

Sure, the company focus may be B2B SaaS solutions for enterprise systems. But the boss wants to see blog content on SEO, how to run virtual meetings, and online presentation skills. 

Why? Because he thinks by scattering his content efforts and focusing on topics outside of their core competency, a whole bunch of backlinks and new traffic will flow his way. 

In his head, readers will see the unrelated article and scream, “Sure, I wanted to learn more about group dynamics. But, this article is by a company specializing in B2B SaaS solutions. I need a B2B SaaS solution! I’m so glad I stumbled across this post!”

(Yeah, like that ever happens.)

I’ve even seen people say, “I just read this article in Forbes, I loved it, and I want our company to write something similar.”

(Even if the company sells industrial equipment and the Forbes article is about cryptocurrency.)

You may also encounter this shiny things syndrome if you’re working with a small business or consultancy. Often, the owner wants to blog about whatever she wants because “she knows her audience.” 

These folks are usually under the misconception that anything they write will immediately build loads of links. Why? Because they’re THAT INFLUENTIAL (insert eye-roll here).

Yeah, so that’s not how this works. The reality is…

Off-topic posts won’t help your SEO.

Sometimes, it makes sense to write about something off-topic. Maybe you feel strongly about a cause, so you use your blog to amplify your message.

For instance, REI does this in the The Trees Remember series. The content relates to REI’s mission, but it’s not written with Google in mind.

This example of unrelated content is SEO-OK because REI has a tight-and-wired content strategy. Their posts are typically on-topic, written well, and masterfully address searcher intent.

Plus, many of REI’s blog posts position for hundreds of keyphrases.

REI is that good.

But would REI still get those tasty links if their content team focused on shiny things content and strayed too far away from their target audience?

Nope. 

In fact, Google’s John Mueller said that creating unrelated content is a “wasted opportunity.” After all, why would a site owner want to gain a reputation for topics that aren’t important to their business’s bottom line?

According to John:

“From a business POV: ranking, impressions, & clicks are nothing without conversion.”

I completely agree. For more than 20 years, I’ve been saying, “Getting a top ranking doesn’t matter if it doesn’t help conversions.” 

So think twice before you allow your CEO’s ego to dictate your content strategy. And if someone suggests that writing unrelated content will help your site position and drive traffic — run. Run fast. 

It’s not about attracting ALL the traffic. It’s about converting that small customer segment that needs what you have to offer.

There’s your content sweet spot.

What do you think?

Have you been asked to create weird, off-topic blog posts? Leave a comment and let me know!

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A Comprehensive Guide To Marketing Attribution Models

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A Comprehensive Guide To Marketing Attribution Models

We all know that customers interact with a brand through multiple channels and campaigns (online and offline) along their path to conversion.

Surprisingly, within the B2B sector, the average customer is exposed to a brand 36 times before converting into a customer.

With so many touchpoints, it is difficult to really pin down just how much a marketing channel or campaign influenced the decision to buy.

This is where marketing attribution comes in.

Marketing attribution provides insights into the most effective touchpoints along the buyer journey.

In this comprehensive guide, we simplify everything you need to know to get started with marketing attribution models, including an overview of your options and how to use them.

What Is Marketing Attribution?

Marketing attribution is the rule (or set of rules) that says how the credit for a conversion is distributed across a buyer’s journey.

How much credit each touchpoint should get is one of the more complicated marketing topics, which is why so many different types of attribution models are used today.

6 Common Attribution Models

There are six common attribution models, and each distributes conversion value across the buyer’s journey differently.

Don’t worry. We will help you understand all of the models below so you can decide which is best for your needs.

Note: The examples in this guide use Google Analytics 4 cross-channel rules-based models.

Cross-channel rules-based means that it ignores direct traffic. This may not be the case if you use alternative analytics software.

1. Last Click

The last click attribution model gives all the credit to the marketing touchpoint that happens directly before conversion.

Last Click helps you understand which marketing efforts close sales.

For example, a user initially discovers your brand by watching a YouTube Ad for 30 seconds (engaged view).

Later that day, the same user Googles your brand and clicks through an organic search result.

The following week this user is shown a retargeting ad on Facebook, clicks through, and signs up for your email newsletter.

The next day, they click through the email and convert to a customer.

Under a last-click attribution model, 100% of the credit for that conversion is given to email, the touchpoint that closed the sale.

2. First Click

The first click is the opposite of the last click attribution model.

All of the credit for any conversion that may happen is awarded to the first interaction.

The first click helps you to understand which channels create brand awareness.

It doesn’t matter if the customer clicked through a retargeting ad and later converted through an email visit.

If the customer initially interacted with your brand through an engaged YouTube view, Paid Video gets full credit for that conversion because it started the journey.

3. Linear

Linear attribution provides a look at your marketing strategy as a whole.

This model is especially useful if you need to maintain awareness throughout the entire buyer journey.

Credit for conversion is split evenly among all the channels a customer interacts with.

Let’s look at our example: Each of the four touchpoints (Paid Video, Organic, Paid Social, and Email) all get 25% of the conversion value because they’re all given equal credit.

4. Time Decay

Time Decay is useful for short sales cycles like a promotion because it considers when each touchpoint occurred.

The first touch gets the least amount of credit, while the last click gets the most.

Using our example:

  • Paid Video (YouTube engaged view) would get 10% of the credit.
  • Organic search would get 20%.
  • Paid Social (Facebook ad) gets 30%.
  • Email, which occurred the day of the conversion, gets 40%.

Note: Google Analytics 4 distributes this credit using a seven-day half-life.

5. Position-Based

The position-based (U-shaped) approach divides credit for a sale between the two most critical interactions: how a client discovered your brand and the interaction that generated a conversion.

With position-based attribution modeling, Paid Video (YouTube engaged view) and Email would each get 40% of the credit because they were the first and last interaction within our example.

Organic search and the Facebook Ad would each get 10%.

6. Data-Driven (Cross-Channel Linear)

Google Analytics 4 has a unique data-driven attribution model that uses machine learning algorithms.

Credit is assigned based on how each touchpoint changes the estimated conversion probability.

It uses each advertiser’s data to calculate the actual contribution an interaction had for every conversion event.

Best Marketing Attribution Model

There isn’t necessarily a “best” marketing attribution model, and there’s no reason to limit yourself to just one.

Comparing performance under different attribution models will help you to understand the importance of multiple touchpoints along your buyer journey.

Model Comparison In Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

If you want to see how performance changes by attribution model, you can do that easily with GA4.

To access model comparison in Google Analytics 4, click “Advertising” in the left-hand menu and then click “Model comparison” under “Attribution.”

Screenshot from GA4, July 2022

By default, the conversion events will be all, the date range will be the last 28 days, and the dimension will be the default channel grouping.

Start by selecting the date range and conversion event you want to analyze.

GA4 model comparison_choose event and date rangeScreenshot from GA4, July 2022

You can add a filter to view a specific campaign, geographic location, or device using the edit comparison option in the top right of the report.

GA4 Model comparison filterScreenshot from GA4, July 2022

Select the dimension to report on and then use the drown-down menus to select the attribution models to compare.

GA4 model comparison_select dimensionScreenshot from GA4, July 2022

GA4 Model Comparison Example

Let’s say you’re asked to increase new customers to the website.

You could open Google Analytics 4 and compare the “last-click” model to the “first-click” model to discover which marketing efforts start customers down the path to conversion.

GA4 model comparison_increase new customersScreenshot from GA4, July 2022

In the example above, we may choose to look further into the email and paid search further because they appear to be more effective at starting customers down the path to conversion than closing the sale.

How To Change Google Analytics 4 Attribution Model

If you choose a different attribution model for your company, you can edit your attribution settings by clicking the gear icon in the bottom left-hand corner.

Open Attribution Settings under the property column and click the Reporting attribution model drop-down menu.

Here you can choose from the six cross-channel attribution models discussed above or the “ads-preferred last click model.”

Ads-preferred gives full credit to the last Google Ads click along the conversion path.

edit GA4 attribution settingsScreenshot from GA4, July 2022

Please note that attribution model changes will apply to historical and future data.

Final Thoughts

Determining where and when a lead or purchase occurred is easy. The hard part is defining the reason behind a lead or purchase.

Comparing attribution modeling reports help us to understand how the entire buyer journey supported the conversion.

Looking at this information in greater depth enables marketers to maximize ROI.

Got questions? Let us know on Twitter or Linkedin.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Andrii Yalanskyi/Shutterstock



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