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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 eller Linkedin.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Andrii Yalanskyi/Shutterstock



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Microsoft Announces ChatGPT Capabilities Coming To Bing

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Microsoft Announces ChatGPT Capabilities Coming To Bing

Microsoft announced today that it is bringing cutting-edge AI capabilities to its Bing search engine, with the addition of a new ChatGPT-like feature.

Microsoft revealed its plans for integrating ChatGPT at a private event held at its Redmond headquarters today, which centered around its partnership with OpenAI.

Unlike recent virtual events, this particular press conference was held in person and not broadcast online.

During the event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella highlighted the significance of this new feature and how it will revolutionize the way people interact with search engines.

“I think this technology is going to reshape pretty much every software category,” says Nadella.

Nadella proclaimed, “The race starts today,” and Microsoft is going to “move and move fast.”

The event attendees were given a sneak peek at the latest search experience, which Microsoft refers to as “your AI-powered copilot for the web.”

This new experience combines the all-new Bing search engine and Edge web browser, which are designed to complement each other.

Nadella explained that the new Bing would provide direct answers to questions and encourage users to be more creative.

He also stated that the current search experience is not working as efficiently as it should be, as 40% of the time, people click on search links and then immediately click back.

This clearly indicates that the search experience needs to be updated and improved. Nadella claims that the search engine user experience hasn’t changed in 20 years, and it’s time for Microsoft to adapt.

Introducing The New Bing

The new Bing is powered by a next-generation language model from OpenAI, which has been specifically customized for search purposes. It’s even more powerful than the ChatGPT model.

Microsoft has implemented a new way of working with OpenAI called the “prometheus model,” which enhances the relevancy of answers, annotates them, keeps them up to date, and more.

The search index has also been improved by applying the AI model to the core search algorithm, which Nadella calls the largest jump in relevance ever.

It runs on a new user experience with an expanded search box that accepts up to 1,000 characters. Examples shared during the event look exactly like recent leaks.

The new Bing includes a chatbot that behaves similarly to ChatGPT, allowing users to interact with Bing in a natural language.

Bing’s new ChatGPT-like feature will take it a step further by allowing users to have an actual conversation with the search engine, with the ability to follow up on previous questions and provide more context for their search.

The new Bing is now available for a limited preview on desktop, and anyone can try it out by visiting Bing.com and performing sample searches.

You can also sign up to be notified when it becomes more widely available.

The preview will be expanded to millions of users in the near future, and a mobile version will be available soon.

The New Edge Browser

The chat interface Microsoft demonstrated in Bing is available as a sidebar feature in Edge, allowing users to access it without navigating to the Bing website. The interface can run alongside any webpage and interact with it.

During a demonstration, the AI assistant in Edge could summarize a 15-page PDF with one click and even translate a code snippet from Stack Overflow into another programming language.

Another benefit of the Edge browser’s “AI co-pilot” is having it complete tasks for you, such as filling out forms and writing emails.

In Summary

Microsoft has made a substantial leap in search engine technology by integrating a ChatGPT-like feature in its Bing search engine.

The new Bing is powered by a next-generation language model from OpenAI, which takes key learnings and advancements from ChatGPT and GPT-3.5.

Bing with the AI co-pilot is now available for a limited preview on desktop, and a mobile version will be available soon.

Additionally, the chat interface will be available as a sidebar feature in the new Edge browser, which has the ability to summarize information, translate code, and even complete tasks.


Source: Microsoft

Featured Image: Poetra.RH/Shutterstock



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From Competitors To Partners: Conductor Acquires Searchmetrics

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From Competitors To Partners: Conductor Acquires Searchmetrics

Conductor, a leading enterprise organic marketing platform, has acquired European-based competitor, Searchmetrics, to accelerate its expansion in the European market.

After acquiring ContentKing in 2022, the acquisition of Searchmetrics continues to strengthen Conductor’s position in the industry.

Seth Besmertnik, Conductor’s CEO and co-founder, said that the acquisition would bring the best of what Searchmetrics does to Conductor and its shared customers:

“Searchmetrics has been a competitor almost since we started Conductor, with a strong data foundation and a powerful presence in the European market. We are excited to bring the best of what Searchmetrics does to Conductor and to our now shared customers. Our goal is for customers to greatly benefit from this acquisition through delivery of more product value on a global scale.”

 

Matt Colebourne, the CEO of Searchmetrics, expressed his excitement for the company to join Conductor, calling it the “definitive global leader”:

“Conductor is indisputably the SEO space market leader. For years, we’ve admired their commitment to innovation for customers and their efforts to foster a dynamic and rewarding workplace culture for employees. By joining Conductor, we bring the best of what we do along with a large European customer base—solidifying Conductor as the definitive global leader. We cannot wait to build more for customers going forward.”

 

Ken Ogenbratt, Searchmetrics’s Chief Financial Officer, said the acquisition is a “pivotal step” for the SEO industry as the two companies move forward as partners with the opportunity to drive even greater value to customers.

With this acquisition, Conductor continues its commitment to creating a single, global platform that integrates all parts of the SEO workflow.

With Searchmetrics’ strong European presence and solid customer base, the acquisition will significantly accelerate Conductor’s growth in Europe.

Conductor has completed its second acquisition in a year with the purchase of Searchmetrics, which follows the company’s significant funding round from Bregal Sagemount in 2021.

This acquisition is seen as a sign of Conductor’s recent growth. It is expected to solidify its position as a leading player in the SEO space by incorporating the strengths of both companies for their shared customers.


Featured Image: dotshock/Shutterstock



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How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique (And Get Results)

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How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique (And Get Results)

In 2015, Brian Dean revealed a brand-new link building strategy. He called it the Skyscraper Technique.

With over 10,000 backlinks since the post was published, it’s fair to say that the Skyscraper Technique took the world by storm in 2015. But what is it exactly, how can you implement it, and can you still get results with this technique in 2023?

Låt oss börja.

What is the Skyscraper Technique?

The Skyscraper Technique is a link building strategy where you improve existing popular content and replicate the backlinks. 

Brian named it so because in his words, “It’s human nature to be attracted to the best. And what you’re doing here is finding the tallest ‘skyscraper’ in your space… and slapping 20 stories to the top of it.”

Here’s how the technique works:

Three steps of the Skyscraper Technique

How to implement the Skyscraper Technique

Follow these three steps to execute the Skyscraper Technique.

1. Find relevant content with lots of backlinks

There are three methods to find relevant pages with plenty of links:

Use Site Explorer

Enter a popular site into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Next, go to the Best by backlinks report.

Best pages by backlinks report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This report shows you a list of pages from the site with the highest number of referring domains. If there are content pieces with more than 50 referring domains, they’re likely to be good potential targets.

Sidenote.

Ignore homepages and other irrelevant content when eyeballing this report.

Use Content Explorer

Ahrefs’ Content Explorer is a searchable database of 10 billion pages. You can use it to find mentions of any word or phrase.

Let’s start by entering a broad topic related to your niche into Content Explorer. Next, set a Referring domains filter to a minimum of 50. 

We can also add:

  • Language filter to get only pages in our target language.
  • Exclude homepages to remove homepages from the results.
Ahrefs' Content Explorer search for "gardening," with filters

Eyeball the results to see if there are any potential pieces of content you could beat.

Use Keywords Explorer

Enter a broad keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Next, go to the Matching terms report and set a Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to a minimum of 40.

Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Why filter for KD? 

The reason is due to the method we use at Ahrefs to calculate KD. Our KD score is calculated from a trimmed mean of referring domains (RDs) to the top 10 ranking pages. 

In other words, the top-ranking pages for keywords with high KD scores have lots of backlinks on average.

From here, you’ll want to go through the report to find potential topics you could build a better piece of content around. 

2. Make it better

The core idea (or assumption) behind the Skyscraper Technique is that people want to see the best. 

Once you’ve found the content you want to beat, the next step is to make something even better

According to Brian, there are four aspects worth improving:

  1. Length – If the post has 25 tips, list more.
  2. Freshness – Update any outdated parts of the original article with new images, screenshots, information, stats, etc.
  3. Design – Make it stand out with a custom design. You could even make it interactive.
  4. Depth – Don’t just list things. Fill in the details and make them actionable.

3. Reach out to the right people

The key to successfully executing the Skyscraper Technique is email outreach. But instead of spamming everyone you know, you reach out to those who have already linked to the specific content you have improved. 

The assumption: Since they’ve already linked to a similar article, they’re more likely to link to one that’s better.

You can find these people by pasting the URL of the original piece into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and then going to the Backlinks report.

Backlinks report for ResumeGenius' how to write a resume, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This report shows all the backlinks to the page. In this case, there are 441 groups of links.

But not all of these links will make good prospects. So you’ll likely need to add some filters to clean them up. For example, you can:

  • Add a Language filter for the language you’re targeting (e.g., English).
  • Switch the tab to Dofollow for equity-passing links.
Backlinks report, with filters, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Does the Skyscraper Technique still work?

It’s been roughly eight years since Brian shared this link building strategy. Honestly speaking, the technique has been oversaturated. Given its widespread use, its effectiveness may even be limited. 

Some SEOs even say they wouldn’t recommend it.

So we asked our Twitter och LinkedIn following this question and received 1,242 votes. Here are the results:

Pie chart showing 61% of respondents feel the Skyscraper Technique still works

Clearly, many SEOs and marketers still believe the technique works.

Sidenote.

According to Aira’s annual State of Link Building report, only 18% of SEOs still use the Skyscraper Technique. It’s not a go-to for many SEOs, as it ranks #20 among the list of tactics. I suspect its popularity has waned because (1) it’s old and SEOs are looking for newer stuff and (2) SEOs believe that content is more important than links these days.

Why the Skyscraper Technique fails and how to improve your chances of success

Fundamentally, it makes sense that the Skyscraper Technique still works. After all, the principles are the same behind (almost) any link building strategy:

  1. Create great content
  2. Reach out to people and promote it

But why do people think it’s no longer effective? There are a few reasons why and knowing them will help you improve your chances of success with the Skyscraper Technique.

Let’s start with:

1. Sending only Brian’s email template

In Brian’s original post, he suggested an email template for his readers to use:

Hey, I found your post: http://post1

<generic compliment>

It links to this post: http://post2

I made something better: http://post3

Please swap out the link for mine.

Unfortunately, many SEOs decided to use this exact template word for word. 

Link building doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If everyone in your niche decides to send this exact template to every possible website, it’ll burn out real fast. And that’s exactly what happened.

Now, if a website owner sees this template, chances are they’ll delete it right away. 

Sidenote.

Judging by my inbox, there are still people using this exact template. And, like everyone else, I delete the email immediately.

I’m not saying this to disparage templated emails. If you’re sending something at scale, templating is necessary. But move away from this template. Write your own, personalize it as much as possible, and follow the outreach principles here.

Even better, ask yourself:

"What makes my content unique and link-worthy?”

2. Not segmenting your prospects

People link for different reasons, so you shouldn’t send everyone the same pitch. 

Consider dividing your list of prospects into segments according to the context in which they linked. You can do this by checking the Anchors report in Site Explorer.

Anchors report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can clearly see people are linking to different statistics from our SEO statistics post. So, for example, if we were doing outreach for a hypothetical post, we might want to mention to the first group that we have a new statistic for “Over 90% of content gets no traffic from Google.”

Then, to the second group, we’ll mention that we have new statistics for “68% of online experiences.” And so on. 

In fact, that’s exactly what we did when we built links to this post. Check out the case study here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

3. Not reaching out to enough people

Ultimately, link building is still a numbers game. If you don’t reach out to enough people, you won’t get enough links. 

Simply put: You need to curate a larger list of link prospects.

So rather than limiting yourself to only replicating the backlinks of the original content, you should replicate the backlinks from other top-ranking pages covering the same topic too.

To find these pages, enter the target keyword into Keywords Explorer and scroll down to the SERP overview.

SERP overview for "how to write a resume," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

In this example, most top-ranking pages have tons of links, and all of them (after filtering, of course) could be potential link prospects.

Pro tip

Looking for even more prospects? Use Content Explorer.

Search for your keyword, set a Referring domains filter, and you’ll see relevant pages where you can “mine” for more skyscraper prospects.

Referring domains filters selected in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

4. Thinking bigger equals better

Someone creates a list with 15 tools. The next person ups it to 30. Another “skyscrapers” it to 50, and the next increases it to 100.

Not only is it a never-ending arms race, there’s also no value for the reader. 

No one wants to skim through 5,000 words or hundreds of items just to find what they need. Curation is where the value is.

When considering the four aspects mentioned by Brian, don’t improve things for the sake of improving them. Adding 25 mediocre tips to an existing list of 25 doesn’t make it “better.” Likewise for changing the publish date or adding a few low-quality illustrations. 

Example: My colleague, Chris Haines, recently published a post on the best niche site ideas. Even though he only included 10, he has already outperformed the other “skyscraper” articles:

Our blog post ranking #3 for the query, "niche site ideas," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

He differentiated himself through his knowledge and expertise. After all, Chris has 10 years of experience in SEO. 

So when you’re creating your article, always look at any improvement through the lens of value:

Are you giving more value to the reader? 

5. Not considering brand

As Ross Hudgens says, “Better does not occur in a branding vacuum.”

För det mesta bedöms innehåll inte enbart efter dess kvalitet. Det bedöms också av vem det kommer ifrån. Vi upptäckte detta själva också när vi försökte bygga länkar till vår sökordsforskningsguide.

För det mesta läste folk inte artikeln. De länkade till oss på grund av vårt varumärke och vårt rykte – de visste att vi publicerade bra innehåll konsekvent, och de hade förtroende för att artikeln vi presenterade också var bra.

Med andra ord, det finns tillfällen där oavsett hur hårt du "skyskrapar" ditt innehåll, folk bara inte länkar till det eftersom de inte vet vem du är. 

Att ha ett eget personligt varumärke är viktigt nuförtiden. Men tänk på det: Vad är ett "starkt varumärke" om inte en konsekvent produktion av högkvalitativt arbete som människor tycker om? En ensam skyskrapa gör inte en stad; många av dem gör det tillsammans.

Vad jag säger är detta: Bli inte avskräckt om din "skyskrapa"-artikel inte får några resultat. Och bli inte avskräckt bara för att du inte har ett varumärke just nu – du kan arbeta med det över tid.

Fortsätt att skapa bra innehåll – skyskrapa eller inte – och resultat kommer om du litar på processen.

"Rom byggdes inte på en dag, men de lade tegel varje timme.” 

Slutgiltiga tankar

Skyscraper-tekniken är en legitim länkbyggande taktik som fungerar. Men det kan bara hända om du:

Några frågor eller kommentarer? Låt mig veta på Twitter.



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