Attribution is a word that means a variety of things to marketers. It's a concept of connecting consumer engagements all the way through different touch points to a conversion point, in our world, a sale.
Attribution is the practice of starting with an end point in mind. For example, a consumer making a purchase on a web site for a retailer. How did that purchase come to be? What was the different touch points in its sequence of events that the consumer went through that led to the purchase? The biggest issue with attribution is deciding what activities and actions get credit for contributing to that sale. For example let's say I clicked on an email I received from a retailer and went to the retailers web site. The next day I searched on Google for something similar and found an ad for that retailer. I went to the site and bought the product.
Ultimately, attribution is connecting these dots and creating a story a consumer journey map. But the issue is who within the marketing organization gets the credit? Do you give credit for the ad that had the last click, which is often the way it's done? Or do you get credit to the ad with the first click? Are there multi-touch points? Attribution credits? This begins to play a bit more of a political game than as a marketing analytics touchpoint and can be a very complicated practice with tremendous opportunity.
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