B2B Marketing Blog

Single-Touch B2B Attribution Models Top Out While Multi-Touch Comes from Behind [Attribution Models by Company Size]

By Lauren Frye
Dec 28, 2015
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How do companies of various sizes approach B2B attribution modeling? We can read the industry opinions, scrutinize the forum queries, and listen to thought-leaders post about marketing trends. But the best information comes straight from the data.

Single-Touch Attribution Models in B2B Marketing

Below are charts that show the different attribution models that companies tend to use, filtered by their company size.  The data gives marketers an idea of which B2B marketing attribution model the average B2B company in their industry segment is using. And, marketers can see how they should anticipate adapting their attribution modeling as their business continues to expand.

First Touch B2B Attribution Model

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First-touch attribution models only track top-of-funnel marketing activities (Paid search, display advertising, etc). It’s a more popular attribution model among smaller companies because ad networks (AdWords, Bing ads, Facebook, etc) provide these first-touch analytics as a part of their advertising service.

Oftentimes, smaller companies don’t have the resources to take advantage of sophisticated data-tracking methods that would allow them to use an attribution model that focuses on metrics tracked further down the funnel.

Lead Touch B2B Attribution Model

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Historically, B2B marketers have been held accountable for lead volume. Marketers have thought that converting leads to customers is the sales team’s problem. Thus, the lead touch attribution model remains a popular option.

Also, marketing automation is widely used across all industries in B2B marketing. These programs are built to easily track lead generation, and so marketers have these metrics at their fingertips, making lead touch attribution models easy to implement.

Last Touch B2B Attribution Model

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Last touch attribution models track the initiatives that generate conversions at the opportunity-stage of the marketing and sales funnel. Larger companies have learned that it’s important to be focused on bottom-of-funnel metrics in order to understand which initiatives generate the most conversions to revenue.

Hence, we see more larger companies are optimizing for this marketing metric using a last-touch attribution model.

Single-touch attribution models have been the only easy method of measuring marketing ROI for quite a long time. Recently, however, the industry has changed as tech and SaaS companies have developed tracking methods that extend beyond single-touch attribution modeling.

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Multi-Touch Attribution Models in B2B Marketing

Multi-touch attribution has arrived on the scene and the benefits are far and away from the minimal insights provided by single-touch modeling.

As a result, multi-touch models are being used more and more, though not as much as single touch models because they’re still a fairly new concept in the space. Also, multi-touch models are more difficult to implement without a full-fledged marketing attribution program that does it all for you.

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Larger companies tend to adopt new technology more slowly because change brings more intense repercussions across their marketing operations landscape than it would for a small company. New martech solutions take longer for the management team to research, select, and implement.

A tech change that alters any part of their marketing procedures creates a number of system integration challenges. It requires buy-in from the sales team because multi-touch attribution is a full-funnel tracking activity. And, IT personnel might be called on to help integrate the software solution with other business user applications. At big enterprise companies, this could be a difficult hurdle. Thus, multi-touch attribution is still making its way to the top.

But companies are realizing the benefits of multi-touch attribution and are doing one of three things to implement the strategy for themselves:

  • implement a marketing attribution program
  • hack the process through manual data reconciling (small companies)
  • custom model the attribution solution for themselves (large companies)

Of these three options, a marketing attribution software solution is by far the most streamlined method of accomplishing multi-touch attribution modeling for a B2B organization of any size.

When choosing between a single-touch or multi-touch attribution model, it's important to understand your goals. Are you only trying to zero in on one funnel stage for a specific purpose? Or, are you attempting to gauge how well your entire marketing strategy is performing? If you're shooting for the latter, you're looking for a multi-touch model, as opposed to a single-touch attribution model. As B2B marketing attribution becomes a staple in every company's martech stack, multi-touch modeling will continue to rise in popularity. 

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