Marketing attribution offers rich, new data by connecting marketing efforts to metrics throughout the entire funnel, all the way down to revenue. Judging by the number of saved reports we have in Salesforce, there are seemingly limitless amounts of analysis that you can do with the data. If that sounds familiar to you, you don’t need my help with marketing attribution analysis. But if you’re struggling with where to start, here is a good place.
Cross-channel attribution analysis
Cross-channel analysis with marketing attribution data is one of the most basic, yet powerful analyses. It’s a director-plus level view -- though, useful for everyone on the marketing team -- of how each channel is performing, which is often a good proxy for the various marketing functions.
Before we get any deeper, let’s take a look at what a cross-channel net new lead/contact report looks like and then we will discuss how to analyze the data.
(These numbers are fictional)
On the left we have all of the marketing channels. And at the top we have the date, grouped by week. This allows us to look at week-by-week performance. Alternatively, you could look at it in bi-weekly segments or monthly segments. Finally, the table can then be populated by a number of things -- for our weekly demand updates we look at net new contacts using a U-shape attribution model. We could also look at the number of opportunities created, the number of touchpoints created from key accounts, or even the amount of closed-won revenue.
So looking at the data, what does this mean? I find it’s best to start your analysis with a question. Let’s take a look at some that you can begin to answer.
Are there week-to-week changes?
First, you want to look for week-to-week changes. Did you generate more net new contacts this week compared to past weeks? If yes, what are you doing differently? In our example report, weeks 2 and 3 are lower than week 1, but week 4 is the highest. Why is there a dip and what caused the eventual increase in week 4? What you’re looking for will depend on the channel.
If your Paid Search channel is generating more leads, did you increase your bids or start any new campaigns? If your Organic Search channel is generating more leads, you may be starting to rank higher on critical keywords. Or are you doing anything different with your SEO practices? Once you’ve identified some areas where you’re seeing growth (or a decline), come up with a few hypotheses, and then dig into channel-specific reports and see if they hold up.
In our example, partner marketing was strong in week 1 and week 4. There was also an uptick in offline media in week 4. These two channels have expected fluctuations because they are mostly project-based.
What channels are making the most impact?
Next, you can use this data to see which channels are making an impact. Where is your demand coming from? We’ve seen our demand come mainly from a handful of channels: paid social, organic search, and partner marketing (which fluctuates quite a bit). Combined with knowing how much we’re spending on social, how much time is spent trying to move the needle on organic search, and time spent coordinating partner marketing efforts, we can calculate which channels can scale and are worth more investment.
Then on the other side, we can take a look at the channels that aren’t currently driving much demand -- such as paid search and offline media, for us -- and figure out if these are channels that we want to try to improve.
These two analyses are a great way to get started using a cross-channel report. However, they’re not the only way to look at it. Here’s one more bonus analysis:
Bonus: What is the quality of contacts generated by each channel?
This isn’t something that you need to analyze on a weekly basis -- perhaps just quarterly or even annually. But if you create two versions of this cross-channel report: one populated with contacts/leads and the other populated with opportunities, you can see the efficiency in which your different channels are moving prospects through the funnel. Basically, this analysis tells us the quality of the contacts generated.
Using these two reports we can create a table of conversion percentages by channel. (Note: this conversion rate isn’t perfectly accurate because one company can have multiple contacts/leads, but can only be one opportunity -- but it suffices for a rough channel analysis.)
Now, we can compare each conversion percentage against the average to see the efficiency of each channel. Offline media, organic search, and social have above average conversion rates, while events, other, and paid search seem to be underperforming.
With underperforming channels, you have to ask yourself the question: are they underperforming because we are failing to effectively nurture these leads or are they underperforming because the channel just generates lower quality leads?
The answer to this question will tell you your next steps. Either you should redevelop the nurturing process for leads that come in via the underperforming channels or you should reallocate the budget to a higher performing channel.
With this simple cross-channel report, you can do quite a bit of analysis. Not only is it a good way to keep the temperature of your demand, it can help get you started on figuring out channel performance and optimization.