It’s Official: Multi-Touch Attribution Analytics Are Now the Smartest Weapon for B2B CMOs

By Yancy Oshita

The evidence that CMOs are on the hook for the magic growth number is overwhelming, but the days of unrestrained lead growth are fading into the annals of SaaS history. Inefficient scaling of a SaaS business is a death knell, which is why investors treasure the magic number as one of the best indicators of current health and future value. But without an effective and efficient marketing engine, the odds of a SaaS business scaling up growth and creating value are slim. And adding more salespeople only feeds the fire.

According to Paul Albright of Captora (Venture Beat), “The reality is the marketing has become THE most efficient want to accelerate growth in our digital economy. The imperative is to connect the dots, so each marketing expense dollar is aligned and reported against revenue growth.” Hence, CMO budgets are being conditioned by investors with weighty expectations to scale recurring revenue. The seminal question for CMOs is: How much recurring revenue are we getting out of your marketing? CMOs must own the answer to this question.

The Single Touch / Source Attribution Problem

How can you grow high-quality pipeline and bookings while improving the cost of acquiring new customers (CAC)? CMOs need to own the pathway to driving an impressive return on marketing and magic number. They own spending and outcomes for every marketing touch and channel across the full buyer’s journey from organic website clicks, social engagement and advertising click throughs to conference booth visits, nurture email downloads, on-demand demo views, and free trial requests.

While CMOs are on the hook for efficient revenue growth, the challenge is most are painfully handicapped by an archaic single-touch (or source) attribution approach. According to Chief Marketer’s Attribution Still a Huge Challenge for B2B Marketers report, “lengthy sales cycles, numerous touchpoints and too much data are among the biggest hurdles B2B marketers face when it comes to accurate attribution.” Regardless of how influential the other touches were in influencing the buyer, the first or last touch gets all the credit. How do you know which marketing touches and/or channels are really generating revenue and which ones need to go?

Single-touch attribution is inadequate for full-funnel, multi-touch insight. It does not tell you the impact of a given touch on revenue in relation to other touches nor does it give you the ROI granularity needed for optimization. This causes erroneous conclusions about what’s really working and what’s not. Further, single touch attribution involves multiple analytic tools and laborious effort, each one giving incomplete and biased insight. Single-touch attribution:

Deceptively distorts revenue contribution and ROI of touches and channels by giving 100% credit to whichever touch was first or last, woefully understating the impact of other touches and channels such as events, content, or drip emails.


Double-counts revenue credit from channel-specific sources such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights each claiming 100% revenue credit of their respective touches to a deal, severely overstating ROI.


Keeps you in a constant state of “attribution anarchy” due to stitching together attribution insights from your CRM, MAP, website, and channel specific sources, and spreadsheeting your way to getting the insight you need to optimize your spending.


Negative Consequences: Relying on first or last touch marketing attribution to make decisions on spending adversely impacts scaling revenue growth and driving sales & marketing efficiency.


Modernizing Your Analytics with a Multi-Touch Attribution Platform That’s Wired for B2B Marketing

To solve this pervasive pain and give you and your organization the data you need to continuously optimize budgets and maximize revenue, you must change to an attribution approach that can deal with the rigors of modern B2B SaaS marketing.

To start your journey, you will need to invest in a multi-touch attribution platform that:

  • Automatically connects every marketing touch to your buyer’s full path to purchase. From anonymous website visits to email offer click-throughs, offline visits to an event or store to digital ad click-throughs.
  • Uses various multi-touch attribution models such as time decay, linear, position-based and custom, depending on your business need. Regardless of source, channels, or funnel stage, these models must automatically allocate revenue and costs, and calculate ROI.
  • Enables you to compare “apples-to-apples” ROI of any combination of channels over long buying journeys with the flexibility to group or cohort their revenue and cost results by date or other parameters.
  • Provides built-in integration with:
    – Popular B2B advertising platforms including LinkedIn, Google Ads, Quora, and AdRoll.
    – Any other marketing channel including website, 3rd party media, offline events, content, and partners.
    – Top B2B CRM and marketing automation platforms such as such as Salesforce, Pipedrive, HubSpot, and Marketo.
  • Tracks B2B account-level buying journey and automatically allocates credit for revenue, conversions, and cost to all account-based marketing efforts.
  • Automatically reconciles touches and revenue credits among all your touch points to ensure 100% sum and zero duplicate to touches / channels that had no role in the conversion to revenue.

How Does Multi-Touch Attribution Fit in Your B2B Marketing Stack?

Multi-touch attribution doesn’t replace your CRM or MAP – it complements and enhances them. It enables both platforms to do what they do best: automate and scale lead and opportunity management activities. Multi-touch attribution also complements your advertising and other channels by integrating data flows and standardizing the attribution method, streamlining workflow and eliminating the chaos and inefficiency of extracting and normalizing data from multiple sources.

Concurrently, multi-touch attribution focuses solely on quantifying which marketing lead and opportunity activities (touches, campaigns, channels) are working (or not) to help marketers make better decisions across the entire (not just one touch or source) funnel. It also provides the data that fuels effective budgeting and optimization by helping marketers to know where to place their best bets to drive efficient revenue growth.

Your 4-Step Journey to Data-Driven Marketing

A multi-touch attribution cheat sheet for CMOs:

Marketing attribution has been re-thought for the modern, B2B SaaS marketing organization. Find out how you solve the pain of single touch / source attribution, giving you and your team the data to deliver more revenue with less spend:

Additional Links

Attribution for B2B CMOs
6 Best Practices for Successful B2B Multi-Touch Attribution
Using Multi-Touch Attribution to Make the Most of your B2B Ad Spend  [Sponsored by Quora]
Popular B2B Integrations with CRM, MAP, advertising and other channels
Attribution and Salesforce for B2B Marketing

Multi-Touch Attribution for Salesforce is Here

Go from single-touch attribution chaos to business outcomes faster than ever before with Attribution and Salesforce

By Ryan Koonce

B2B Marketing “Takes a Village”

Most B2B marketers would agree that acquiring new customers “takes a village” (marketing and sales) – it takes e-books, SEO, PPC ads, field events, blogs, retargeting ads, conferences, email nurtures, SDRs, case studies, free trials, 3rd party reviews, live chats, mailers, demos, webinars, and more, all working together to nudge buyers (and accounts) along a nonlinear journey, often starting with a Google search and progressing through various stages of the proverbial Salesforce funnel where concrete terms like MQLs, SALs, early and late stage pipe, and closed/won can be shared with marketers, sales folks, and board members. And the effort to acquire a single customer can be costly, easily reaching several hundred thousand dollars depending on the sales complexity and size of the prize. Hence, the better the village operates, the lower the customer acquisition cost (CAC), the higher the win rate and velocity, and the greater the valuation of a company.

But the problem is most B2B marketers are painfully handicapped by an archaic single-touch (or source) attribution model, which typically culls marketing touches from a marketing automation platform (MAP) and attaches one touch to each opportunity in Salesforce – typically the first or last touch. Regardless of how influential the other touches were in nudging the buyer along, the first or last touch gets all the credit. Seriously!? How do you know which marketing touches or channels are really generating revenue? Adding to this heap of attribution chaos is the length and complexity of the B2B journey, which often involves multiple contacts and can take months to over a year to close. How do you know which marketing touches are delivering the best outcomes by funnel stages such as MQLs created or Opportunities generated?

Attribution for Salesforce Integration

That’s why we’re excited to announce that Attribution for Salesforce integration is now available on Salesforce AppExchange, giving Salesforce customers an easy path to start their multi-touch attribution journey.

With Attribution’s Salesforce integration, Salesforce customers get easy access to a multi-touch attribution SaaS platform that automatically:

  1. Connects their lead and deal stages in Salesforce to the entire cast of marketing touches including on and offline channels and campaigns.
  2. Accesses revenue data from Salesforce for a complete return on ad spend (ROAS)

Our multi-touch attribution platform is architected from the ground up to simplify the complexity of B2B marketing attribution through:

  • Highly configurable time decay, linear, position-based and custom machine learning multi-touch attribution models
  • A patent pending cohort method to precisely allocate credit for revenue, conversions, and cost for any touch, channel, and/or account-based effort
  • Pre-integration with all major B2B adtech and martech platforms including LinkedIn, HubSpot, Facebook and Google, as well as any tracking parameter
  • Built-in auditing engine that reconciles revenue credits, preempting giving credit to channels/campaigns that had no role in the conversion to revenue.

Turbocharge Full-Funnel Demand Generation and Account-Based Marketing

There are hundreds of ways B2B marketers can spend their budgets and resources.

Do I spend it on thought leadership webinars or blogs to drive top-of-funnel metrics like traffic, social followers, and site time, or do I increase mid-funnel tactics like e-books, retargeting ads, webinars or conferences to grow click-throughs and MQLs? Or maybe I go all in on down-funnel things like nurture campaigns, direct mail, review sites, or field marketing events to drive new opportunities or accelerate pipeline stages?

How should I allocate my budget by channel, content, and/or campaign? Do I plan a frontal assault with LinkedIn ABM campaigns and retreat with Google retargeting? How much should I invest (or not) in BrightTALK, G2 Crowd, trade shows, field seminars, TechTarget content promotion, social media, direct mail, SEO, webinars and/or e-books?

For B2B marketers, the data analysis can be dizzying. And unless there’s a silver bullet awaiting, marketers must prioritize (continuously) which ones to invest in, which ones to watch, and which ones to stop.

Unlike single-touch / channel attribution, multi-touch attribution is touch-neutral. Regardless of source, it follows the money of each touch, allocates revenue and costs, and determines true ROI. Multi-touch attribution informs B2B marketers which channels and campaigns to place their bets across the marketing mix and which ones to avoid. Since our multi-touch software is integrated to Salesforce, it automatically connects upper-funnel activities (keyword clicks, ad campaigns, blog articles, webinars, emails, etc.) to lower-funnel results (opportunity conversions, closed deals, and revenue generated).

With Attribution’s Salesforce integration, Salesforce customers can easily compare granular attribution data at the touchpoint level. MQLs, opps, pipe, and/or revenue can be connected directly to specific keywords, online ads, events, and other channels or campaigns. By examining the down-funnel conversion rates of leads generated in earlier funnel stages, marketers have can better optimize their budgets and activities. If marketers know the opportunity-conversion rates of leads generated by a given channel or campaign, they can make decisions about how to reuse or improve those activities in the future. B2B marketers can easily compare campaigns against each other based on their respective down-funnel results (opportunities, customers, and revenue).

Marketers can use the insights from multi-touch attribution to make the right decision throughout the entire demand generation funnel from initial touch to MQL to pipe to booking and scale their spending up or down accordingly.

Align Sales and Marketing at a Whole New Level

By connecting Salesforce conversion data to our multi-touch attribution platform, marketing and sales can confidently align at a whole new level to continuously improve efficacy in each stage of the funnel. What exactly does this mean? The actionable insights marketers from multi-touch attribution can increase sales productivity. I’ll say it again, by optimizing all stages of the marketing funnel to revenue, sales people will increase opportunity conversion, deal velocity, and overall win rate. Together, Salesforce and multi-touch attribution do this this by:

  • Tracking a leads journey and quality from first-touch through the marketing and sales funnel to closed / won, giving salespeople powerful nuggets intelligence of what the buyer has interacted with throughout their journey.
  • Tracking every touchpoint in a given account, from every social click to every content download to booth visit, a sales person knows precisely how the lead has progressed through the funnel at any given time.
  • Streamlining the lead handoff between marketing and sales with revenue data being tracked to marketing campaigns in Salesforce, providing a lead’s ‘story’ and enabling more impactful sales outreach.
  • Enabling collaborative, data-driven forecasting between sales and marketing, eliminating the guesswork of what marketing budget will produce which outcome in terms of pipeline and revenue.
  • Unifying sales and marketing investments around trade shows and conferences (often one of the largest budget lines) through attribution insight how a given event and related sales activities at the event like seminars and dinners worked.

By providing both sales and marketing with a single-source of attribution truth aligned to pipe and revenue, marketing and sales can rally around one playbook to optimize CAC and maximize revenue.

Salesforce Customer Call-to-Action

According to Chief Marketer’s Attribution Still a Huge Challenge for B2B Marketers report, “lengthy sales cycles, numerous touchpoints and too much data are among the biggest hurdles B2B marketers face when it comes to accurate attribution.” B2B marketers are dealing with a plethora of content platforms and channels with multiple sources of leads over a long timeline, so easily and quickly telling the full attribution story, including what influenced the deal, and justifying events, ads and other investments is hard when you look at first and last touch only.

Adding Attribution for Salesforce frees B2B marketers from single-touch jail and enables them to easily see the full and true attribution story, which touchpoints are really working, which ones need monitoring, and which ones need to go.

Attribution’s Salesforce integration is currently available on the AppExchange here.
To learn more about Attribution’s Salesforce integration, click here.

Attribution Named High Performer by G2 Crowd Grid® for Attribution Software

By Ryan Koonce

At Attribution, we are determined to empower marketers with the insight they need to convert more buyers and maximize ROI. That’s why I’m excited to announce that we have been recognized as a High Performer in the Attribution Software category by G2 Crowd for Winter 2019. Just as we want to help our customers grow better, we want to grow better ourselves, so we always welcome honest feedback from our community.

In its announcement, G2 Crowd explains, “Rankings on G2 Crowd reports are based on data provided to us by real users. We are excited to share the achievements of the products ranked on our site because they represent the voice of the user and offer terrific insights to potential buyers around the world.” To ensure fair evaluation, G2 Crowd maintains rigorous criteria for recognizing vendors with a high customer satisfaction score.

For this distinction, a vendor must have a minimum of 10 published reviews and achieve top peer ratings in customer support, product setup and use, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and other key criteria.

Here’s what some of our customers had to say:

  • “Love that Attribution only does one thing and does it so well. No gimmick. No non-sense. Clear and simple solution to track our attribution metrics” – Head of Product, Vice President
  • “Attribution was easy to set up and use. Love their integrations to LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, and other…we now have one unbiased source to track and compare conversion performance of our ad channels. No more frustration with the conversion “math” from the different ad platforms! Also their customer support is awesome” – CEO and Co-Founder
  • “Once you get going with ads and have the platform set up, it works great. You’re able to see a complete history of CPL and can attribute every last dollar to each campaign you’re running” – Growth Marketing Lead

Recognition from real users is the best testimony that our product innovation and customer focus are solving real problems for marketers. In addition to being named a High Performer, Attribution earned the following honors:

The only reason we exist as a company is to empower every marketer with the data to optimize their marketing to revenue. This central tenet is our inspiration to challenge conventional marketing attribution norms and build a different multi-touch attribution platform that features a patent-pending attribution engine, cohort-based analytics, proven usability, and integration with an extensive and growing list of ad platforms including LinkedIn, Google, Quora, and Facebooks, as well as all major conversion platforms such as Salesforce, HubSpot, Segment, and Shopify.

Everyone at Attribution is deeply proud to be honored as a G2 Crowd High Performer in their Grid Report for Attribution, Winter 2019. The report showed that:

  • 87% of users would recommend Attribution
  • 92% gave Attribution 4 or 5-star ratings
  • 86% say that Attribution meets their business’ requirements

To learn more about these distinctions, see how Attribution stacks up against other multi-touch attribution vendors like Bizible or Visual IQ, or to read the reviews written about our product by the marketers who use them, please download a complimentary copy of the full Grid® Report for Attribution Software | Winter 2019.

To all our customers who submitted reviews, thank you! We will continue our mission to empower every marketer with the data to deliver amazing performance!

6 Best Practices for Successful B2B Multi-Touch Attribution

“Which marketing channels should we put more money into? Reduce or stop spending?”

If you’ve ever asked these questions (or are still asking them), multi-touch attribution is your best bet to getting the right answers; it provides you with meticulous details of how buyers are engaging with your business and which marketing touches are driving purchase journeys. Plus, it shows everyone in your organization how much revenue you are bringing to the table, which puts you in good standing with your investors and builds credibility in budgeting with your peers.

While 82% of CMOs report that their goals are aligned to revenue targets (Forrester Research), B2B marketers are struggling to quickly connect the dots along a lengthy and complex B2B purchase process to make decisions that optimize revenue. According to DemandGen, 58% of B2B companies said their current ability to analyze marketing performance “needs improvement” or worse and 48% of B2B companies say their biggest challenge is the “inability to track activity between specific buyer stages.”

To close this burgeoning gap, many marketers are stitching together various technologies, data and spreadsheets to attribute marketing spend to revenue. However, this creates a data and management nightmare, and exacerbates your ability to continuously optimize your marketing investments to revenue.

WARNING: Unlike B2C, the B2B buyer’s journey is much longer and more complex, requiring the right multi-touch attribution system to capture and correctly attribute marketing touches to revenue. So if you are seriously considering instrumenting your marketing attribution to revenue outcomes, here are 6 best practices to ensure you’re on the path to accurately attributing spend and optimizing programs.

1. Capture all ad and conversion data

When it comes to attribution insight to do their jobs, most senior B2B marketers and their teams feel they are in a constant state of “data chaos,” suffocating under a combination of web, channel and CRM data that have been stitched together with Excel to give them the information they need to do their jobs. And how actionable, timely, and trusted is the end result?

To get an accurate and timely view of how buyers are interacting with your touchpoints, customer acquisition cost and lifetime value, you need to integrate your ad and conversion data into a multi-touch attribution system of record.

This allows you to accurately allocate revenue and cost back to all your marketing touches and channels that contributed to a closed sale.  Without a multi-touch attribution system of record, your team is plagued with messy reports and spreadsheet sprawl, wasting time on non-value activities. To eliminate this attribution data chaos, senior marketers should look to three ‘must-have’ capabilities:

  1. Automatically capture all your ad and conversion sources using pre-integrated connectors to most or all of your internal and 3rd party sources, making it much easier and less costly to connect and maintain.
  2. Instantly collect buyer interactions outside of ad and conversion sources using tracking technologies such as UTM parameters, click redirects and other unique identifiers.
  3. Seamlessly access your marketing attribution connections and overall system using only a web browser (think true, not fake SaaS), enabling simple and quick set up and configuration to your needs.

By building your B2B multi-touch attribution system to these standards, you’ll have the foundation or “plumbing” in place that frees you from “data jail” to focus your energy on optimizing marketing spend to revenue.

2. Connect every touch across your buyer’s journey

Rather than trying to make sense from fragmented lists of marketing touches, best practice B2B multi-touch attribution automatically connects all your touches to your buyer’s journey. This means every touch that achieved its intended outcome is connected to the buyer throughout their entire journey and is assigned a revenue credit and cost, resulting in a significantly higher degree of attribution precision and giving marketers the trusted insight they need to optimize their budgets to revenue.

To illustrate the power of following your buyer’s journey, let’s consider a scenario for a technology buyer for ZZZ bank who is looking for business intelligence tools.


In the buyer’s effort to understand ZZZ’s challenges and explore solutions, he begins by googling the web and researching various sources. One of your blogs shows up in his search results and he clicks on it and learns new insights on tackling his company’s problems – he also checks out your banking solution and company web pages. A week later he digs further into an independent tech community site he discovered for business intelligence and sees one of your ads pop up for an e-book, fills out the form and downloads it. That same week he continues researching on the web and one of your paid search ads pops up offering an educational video on business intelligence for banking.


Feeling he has a good handle on ZZZ’s business intelligence pains and different solution options, the buyer begins to crystallize the capabilities they need to solve their challenges and the vendors they should consider. Impressed with your e-book and blog, he registers and attends one of your live webinars. Another week later he receives and clicks on one of your emails (that he consented to when he downloaded your e-book) featuring a new blog on business intelligence for banking and checks it out. A month later he attends a banking technology conference and drops by your booth and speaks with a product specialist to discuss his needs; he also watches a demo of your business intelligence product.


At this stage in the buyer’s journey, he has narrowed down ZZZ’s short list of vendors to further evaluate and recommend.  He recalls the great experience he had at your booth and check’s out your website again to read the case studies of other banks that have gone through a similar business intelligence journey and are successfully using your tools. Later in the week the buyer is favoring your company and registers to watch your on-demand demo. At this point, your sales rep reaches out and schedules a live personalized demo for the following week. Impressed with the live demo, the buyer signs on for a paid proof of value and, upon completion of it, validates their business case. Though the buyer continues checking out your website, he moves ahead with pricing and a purchase contract for your business intelligence tools.

In this scenario, attributing 100% of the revenue credit to a single touch ignores the influence of the other seven touches. Further, analyzing touches in parts of the funnel such as “lead conversion” or “opportunity creation” neglects the full story of how your marketing is working (or not). In both cases, the attribution insight is heavily biased and/or flawed, leading to guessing your way into allocating marketing spend to optimize revenue.  However, using a multi-touch attribution model such as a position-based type allows you to accurately allocate weighted credits to all touchpoints in your buyer’s journey. For example, as shown in the illustration below, if your business most values the touchpoint that introduced a buyer to your brand and the final touchpoint that influenced the deal, you can assign the revenue credit accordingly with the balance (50%) being assigned to the touches in the middle of your buyer’s journey.

A position-based multi-touch attribution model allows you “see the forest for the trees” – to automatically connect and assign (and easily refine) the revenue and associated cost of every touch across your buyers journey, making it ideal for longer, more complex B2B buyer’s journey. With this level of insight into what’s really influencing (or not) your buyer’s journey, you can make precise decisions to continuously rebalance your marketing spend to maximize revenue.

3. Use a cohort method to determine ROI

The entire business value for building a best practice multi-touch attribution capability is based on the ability to accurately (and quickly) quantify the influence each touch has on the buyer’s decision, enabling marketers to optimize their marketing to revenue. The better the fidelity of the ROI calculation, the greater the value it has for marketers.

In senior marketer terms, a cohort method simply allows you quantify the ROI of your paid programs (ads, events, etc.) based on the start date of your ad/campaign (the initial spend) and capture the subsequent stream of conversions to calculate ROI. Having this true ROI insight allows you accurately compare “apples-to-apples” of your programs and confidently rebalance your total spend to maximize revenue. The cohort method is ideal for multi-touch attribution in longer B2B buying journeys (which makes it hugely problematic in determining true ROI), providing precise ad/campaign ROI and Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV). According to Neil Patel in The Case for Cohort Analysis and Multi-Touch Attribution Analysis, “In B2B SaaS, there are two techniques that I feel are particularly important but not used widely enough – cohort analysis and multi-touch attribution analysis.”

In stark contrast to the level of precision using a cohort method ROI method, a non-cohort approach typically starts with a given conversion date (i.e., content download, ad click through) and “looks back” at random and changing time periods in an attempt to quantify the true ROI, leading to poor insight about the relative performance of your programs and channels. While this method may seem straight-forward, it’s deeply misleading. As a result, when you are trying optimize your spend among Google Ads or AdRoll as an example, you are using ROI information that is analogous to comparing “apples to oranges,” leading to erroneous conclusions and suboptimal decisions.

To put in place a best practice cohort method, senior marketers should look for flexibility that allows you to calculate ROI from the campaign start date and calculate the revenue against multiple dimensions depending on your business needs such as:

  • campaign/channel by source
  • any date up to current
  • various types of traffic

For example, you invest $10,000 each with Google Ads on January 1 and want to know how well the campaign has performed through September 30; a cohort method would automatically link conversion A for $40,000 and conversion B for $80,000 to your original investment and allocate a portion of the $120,000 revenue credit.  You can then compare this to LinkedIn ads using to same method. This eliminates the fuzzy math of a using non-cohort approach and gives you true insight as to what’s really converting (and not) to make better paid spend decisions.

4. Unify offline attribution

While offline marketing such as field events and conferences generally represent a large portion of B2B budgets, their conversion outcomes are often disconnected from online marketing efforts which can lead to flawed ROI conclusions and misguided budget allocations. As an example, a common practice for offline attribution is to collect and report on outcomes shortly after the event occurred. Success is usually based on “leads captured,” “deals piped,” and/or the proverbial, “hey, that was a great conference” with 100% revenue credit allocated for any wins that were captured under a traditional first or last touch system.

But B2B buyers who visited your booth frequently visit your site (direct URL) or Google your brand, and engage in other touches (i.e., registers for a webinar, downloads an e-book). And unlike the instant conversion associated with your online channels such as clicking on a retargeting ad, offline channels have what senior marketers call the “halo effect,” meaning the true value or conversions of events shows up over a much longer period of time. How are you supposed to be able to best allocate your marketing budget when you can’t accurately determine the true ROI of offline channels and/or compare offline channels like conferences with online channels?  You may be getting more revenue per dollar at conferences compared to paid ads, but you’d never know the true picture without unifying online/offline attribution.

Unifying your offline campaigns with online channels into a single multi-touch attribution system solves the attribution madness that plagues senior B2B marketers through the following capabilities:

  1. Automatically capture event cost and credit the stream of conversions (using a cohort method – see best practice #3) attributed to it over a longer period to account for the longer halo duration associated with offline channels.
  2. Flexibly assign ROI credit among offline and online with weighted touchpoints, allowing you to allocate the most accurate value of each touchpoint based on their relative impact on the whole customer journey from beginning to closed-won.

Senior B2B marketers will have a much more accurate understanding of the customer journey and marketing’s impact on it when their multi-touch attribution model takes these two capabilities into account. From branded search queries and on-demand webinar views to conference booth demos and field seminar receptions, you’ll have a single, holistic view of what’s driving conversions and revenue.

5. Track B2B account-based attribution

Today’s B2B buying journey often involves multiple people and roles – seldom will a single person click on an ad, visit your site, and purchase. B2B buyers are usually a team of people within the same account who have different buyer roles such as researcher or decision-maker depending on the buying stage. Hence, according to Martech Today, “the rise of account-based marketing has spurred a shift in how marketers think about accounts.”

Using our earlier scenario for a technology buyer for ZZZ bank who is looking for business intelligence tools, we illustrate below moving from a single buyer to multiple buyers in an account and their roles.

Best practice account-based multi-touch attribution enables you flexibly attribute the revenue and cost of all your successful marketing touches to account, resulting in complete visibility of the account-level journey and true account marketing ROI (especially account-based marketing [ABM] campaigns) and enabling you to fine tune your marketing investments to maximize revenue.

6. Make sure everything adds up

For senior B2B marketers who have ROI accountability for multiple channels and big budgets, errors adding up the right cost or assigning the correct revenue credit to touches can impair your optimization efforts and ruin your credibility among peers and board members. And with increasing complexity of the B2B buyer’s journey, current multi-touch attribution practices exacerbate this problem of duplicate and/or incorrect revenue credit.

Consider this scenario (simplified for illustrative purposes): a buyer clicks through on your LinkedIn ad and a week later he or she clicks through your Google retargeting and TechTarget content syndication offer, eventually buying your product for $50,000. And because these media programs aren’t integrated to one multi-touch attribution system, they each claim $50,000 in conversion credit. Sure you can manually override this for your presentation, but how painful is this problem with dozens and hundreds of programs running simultaneously, media prices changing constantly, and buyer journeys evolving continuously? And how would this impact your ability to demonstrate to executive and board members your ability to drive more outcomes with the same or less dollars?

To safeguard the fidelity of your attribution insights and preempt a costly and possibly embarrassing problem, senior marketers should build their attribution capability on the best B2B multi-touch attribution practices discussed earlier:

  1. Capture all ad and conversion data
  2. Connect every touch across your buyer’s journey
  3. Use a cohort method to determine ROI
  4. Unify offline attribution
  5. Track B2B account-based attribution

These are required to ensure you’re not duplicating attribution credit. The sixth best practice is to automatically and continuously check your calculations and allocations through multiple dimensions. In much the same way accounting is reconciling transactions, a best multi-touch attribution practice is to continuously (and proactively) reconcile revenue credit to your marketing touches. This preempts giving credit to channels/campaigns that had no role in the conversion to revenue, duplicating credit, and over/under (+/- 100%) assigning the total of all revenue credits for a given deal. In addition, you should have a complete audit trail that lets you drill down into every marketing touchpoint, channel, user, and account across your buyer’s journey.


According to Forrester Research’s What B2B Marketers Must Know and Do, “Crystallizing a view of the lengthy B2B purchase process and recontextualizing marketing activity as steps leading toward revenue, rather than disconnected conversions, allows B2B marketers to connect the dots along the path to won deals.” Hence, the linchpin of multi-touch attribution is the ability to precisely track and allocate credit to across all efforts that contributed to revenue.  Applying these six practices to your multi-touch attribution journey will eliminate the pain of your current attribution efforts and enable you to see what’s really working (and not) so you can focus your energy on optimizing your marketing to revenue.

Top 5 Marketing Attribution Trends for 2019

By Ryan Koonce

Investor demands, customer expectations and competitive intensity will drive adoption of marketing attribution technologies and new attribution models.

Although classic web analytics and marketing automation tools serve up point KPIs, marketers are grappling with the lack true attribution insight to optimize their spending to revenue. According to a 2017 research study by the Marketing Attribution Think Tank (MATT), which was spearheaded by marketing leaders from some of the world’s top brands including Unilever, Allstate and Bank of America, while “81% of marketers use CTR (click-through rate) more than any other metric…there is virtually no relationship between click-through and sales.”

The good news is that marketers are finally recognizing the need to evolve their attribution approach. The days of last-click, first-touch and CTRs are fading into the annals of advertising, and a new day of multi-touch attribution models is gaining momentum, where MATT’s study also showed “75% of respondent marketers said they are or will be using multi-touch attribution within 18 months.”  Companies large and small are using these advanced analytics to patrol online (and offline) marketing touches and connect them to revenue. They can quickly tally campaign and advertising costs, allocate revenue credits and collect new insights to show marketers what’s really working, what needs watching, and what needs to go.

The rise of multi-touch attribution is just one example of change, one of our marketing attribution trends for 2019 with the potential to drive significant evolution and deliver economic opportunity over the next five years. Our CMO, Yancy Oshita, shared his perspectives on the adoption of multi-touch attribution and other pivotal trends in an article published by Martech Advisor: Top 5 Marketing Attribution Trends for 2019. Having successfully scaled marketing and grown revenue at venture-backed and some of the best-known tech brands, Yancy combines his experience and passion in a plain-speaking way to offer his insights and practical guidance to senior marketing leaders in B2B and B2C industries. In the article, he expands on the following movements:

  1. Connecting Marketing to Revenue Outcomes
  2. Rise of Multi-Touch Attribution
  3. Performance Monitoring of Ad Vendors Comes of Age
  4. Shift to a Marketing Attribution System of Record
  5. Emerging Marketing Organizations and KPIs

As an advanced marketing attribution platform working with B2B and B2C clients, we’re always pushing ourselves to help marketers and advertisers use data to optimize their marketing to revenue. We believe the future will be characterized by smart attribution delivering increasingly insightful intelligence everywhere marketers connect with buyers. Still, most marketers are wrestling to act on attribution insights, indicating the challenge to take advantage of attribution intelligence goes beyond technology and includes process and culture. As Yancy predicts, next year we’ll see more companies tune their organization models and KPIs around the new insights offered by multi-touch attribution technologies.

Advanced marketing attribution is really about connecting marketing to revenue. It’s about bringing the science of marketing to a whole new level and organizations need to evolve with it to reap the enormous benefits. And unless CMOs are taking extreme ownership of revenue return on marketing, moving to advanced marketing attribution would likely lead to marginal success at best. As you grapple with “doing more with less” and “showing the money” to you’re your investors, the Top 5 Marketing Attribution Trends for 2019 in Martech Advisor is worth a read!

Attribution Quora Partnership | Attribution

By Ryan Koonce

I am thrilled to announce our partnership with Quora, the popular Q&A platform that connects people seeking knowledge with those who have it. Quora Ads is now integrated to Attribution’s platform, meaning that marketers and advertisers on Quora can easily link their account to view their true return on ad spend (ROAS) alongside their other paid networks such as Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

With a reach of over 300 million monthly visitors, Quora Ads provide marketers with a native, high-performance channel to connect and engage with their audiences. Advertisers can automatically serve ads in a way that is consistent and additive to Quora’s user experience and deliver a strong ROAS. By integrating Attribution to your Quora Ads account, you’ll receive actionable insights that enable you to optimize your budget to drive more conversions and generate the best revenue outcomes. Attribution automatically captures ad and conversion data and connects it to every marketing touch across the full buyer’s journey.

Quora Attribution Dashboard


Commenting on our new partnership, Quora’s GM & Head of Partnerships, Brendan L. Weitz, added, “We are excited to launch this integration to enable our customers to have greater insight into the value of marketing on Quora.”

Attribution provides marketers with single version of attribution truth in how paid channels are contributing to revenue. Using a patent pending multi-touch attribution approach and unique cohort-based ROAS method, Attribution quickly culls through how target audiences responded to various touchpoints and accurately assigns cost and revenue credit. These unique capabilities give you the true picture about what’s working, what’s not, and what is your current and forecasted return on marketing.  

We’re dedicated to giving our customers a variety of options when it comes to measuring their success on Quora. Our integration with Quora will give you a way to track the holistic ROAS and optimize your campaigns. Linking Attribution to your Quora Ads account to is easy. Just go to your Attribution account, visit Settings->Integrations and “Connect Quora”, and start receiving insights alongside all of your other paid social platforms.

If you are interested in integrating your Quora campaigns into Attribution and/or would like a demo of Attribution, please reach out to us at If you are new to Quora Ads, you can get started at

Attribution App is one of the first to join new Stripe partner program

Most people today don’t know that only three percent of GDP is online. That’s why we’re excited to join the Stripe Partner Program to increase internet commerce and help companies start, run, and scale their businesses more efficiently.

By joining the program, our mutual customers will now benefit from the combination of Attribution’s multi-touch attribution solution with Stripe’s seamless payments platform.

This means that our customers can now connect their Stripe account to Attribution, which can then automatically integrate standard Stripe data like when a charge is successful (event label: Charge Successful) or a Charge is captured (event label: Charge Captured).  These events can then be associated with the appropriate ad channels to calculate return on ad spend.

We believe that removing barriers to online commerce helps more new businesses get started, levels the playing field, and increases economic output and trade around the world, and we believe that democratizing attribution is a key for businesses to grow and thrive. Together with Stripe, our mission is to bring more commerce online and increase the GDP of the internet.

Read more about the Stripe Partner Program here:

3 Remarketing Mistakes Everyone Makes

Remarketing is everywhere now. It’s so common that my grandmother complains about it, and people outside the marketing bubble make jokes about it. This is the slightly creepy reality of modern marketing, remarketing works so well that companies basically have to use it to stay competitive. So without further ado, here is a primer on remarketing without being annoying about it. Because let’s face it, nobody wants to see your banner ad 1,264 times.

1. Showing the same ad over and over.

There’s two ways to make this mistake. Either you start your remarketing campaign and only use your best ads, or you create a campaign with lots of ads and let Google or Facebook ‘tune’ the campaign by showing the top performing ads more often. This seems logical, because we’re used to running display ad campaigns where you can show the same ad millions of times before showing it to the same person twice, and nobody wants to use ads that perform worse on even rotation with the best ads.

The effect is showing the same ad to the same person dozens of times. You’re like the new friend who calls 12 times per day – every day – just to see what’s new. You’re like a sales assistant following someone out of a clothing store and into the mall, asking over and over again if they’d like to try something on. Make some new ads, and tone down the frequency, and put them on even rotation.

2. Continuing your remarketing after the purchase

You know what’s worse than an overly aggressive remarketing campaign? One that doesn’t stop marketing after you buy the product. This is the kind of thing that would never happen in the real world. It makes no sense to market this way, but let’s face it, remarketing technology is complicated. In a perfect world, your remarketing would turn off after a purchase, or switch to customer-success style ads that market add-ons and special features.

Unfortunately, this is harder than it should be. There’s the easy way and the hard way, and most of us take the easy way and assume people won’t mind being targeted after they purchase. I blame this on the ad platforms. Firing a conversion pixel should turn off remarketing by default. Until this happens, marketers who don’t have a deep understanding of both JavaScript tracking and their ad platform will just keep on targeting. I don’t blame the marketer, this should be easier than it is.

3. Not splitting credit between the original source and remarketing ad

Want to know the real reason remarketing is so popular? Remarketing takes all the credit. Most of us still use a last-click attribution model, and that model heavily favors remarketing. Giving all the credit to your remarketing campaign is like a football team rewarding the extra-point kicker for scoring a touchdown. It’s just wrong.

If you use remarketing without using attribution software, you are seeing a vastly inaccurate picture of your marketing efforts. Sure, you should be skeptical of the guy who builds attribution software saying “You need attribution software,” but seriously you need attribution software. Without it you’re flying blind.

So there’s the three main remarketing mistakes. If you used remarketing, you’ve either made these mistakes or you’re still making them. I didn’t write this article to scorn you. I wrote this article because I set up remarketing for Attribution last week and I suddenly realized why everyone makes these mistakes. Google and Facebook encourage you to only show the ads that work best and discourage even rotation which would freshen up the ads. They both have a concept of “Audiences” but there’s no shortcut to exclude someone who’s fired a conversion pixel.

Finally, Facebook makes it genuinely difficult to UTM tag ads for Attribution software – their ads editor literally broke when I used a UTM tagged URL. The long URL caused a field to overlap the submit button, and I had to use developer tools to re-organize the page until the submit button was visible.

I’m guessing that some of the retargeting-specific tools like AdRoll and Perfect Audience would make this easier, so in the next part of this series I’ll explore some advanced remarketing techniques. Let me know in the comments what you’d like me to try!

Attribution Modeling Explained

These days, customers find your product through a variety of marketing channels (ad platforms, partnerships, content, organic, etc.). It is important to understand how these channels work together in driving conversions. After all, the journey of the converted customer is the one we really care about, the one we want to promote and replicate. To understand this journey, we use multi-channel attribution modeling.

Let’s say the follow diagram represents your customer’s journey, how much credit does each channel deserve? Let’s explore several ways distribute the credit.

First Click Attribution

First click attribution gives 100% of the credit to the first touchpoint. In our example, display would get 100% of the credit.

First click attribution is useful for figuring out how customers original found your product, but doesn’t shed much light onto the conversion driving touchpoints.

First click attribution is akin to giving my first girlfriend 100% of the credit for me marrying my wife.

– Avinash Kaushik

Although I love this quote, it’s not accurate. First click attribution is actually akin to giving your friend that introduced you to your wife full credit for your marriage.

Last Click Attribution

Last click attribution gives 100% of the credit to the last touchpoint. In our example, remarketing would get 100% of the credit.

Last click or last interaction is the classic model used in many reporting tools. It’s only good for figuring out which touchpoints are driving the actual conversions, it completely ignores the rest of the referral touchpoints.

Linear Attribution

Linear attribution is the most basic way of dividing a conversion. It divides the credit equally among each of the referring touch points.

This model is useful when analyzing a conversion event that has long sales cycles, where all the touch points are important in building a brand image.

Time Decay Attribution

The time decay model is the most advanced model we provide. It divides credit to each filter based on the number of days before the conversion.

The calculation we use for this is:

y = 2-x/7

where x is the number of days the referral happened prior to the conversion. The 7 in the equation is the half-life. A touchpoint 7 days before a different touchpoint, will receive half the credit.

For example, a user visits your site from a Google display ad, a remarketing ad and then finally a social channel, with the following timeline:

Based on the equation above, we would split the credit up for each channel accordingly:

Display Remarketing Social




.453 .673 .906
22.29% 33.13% 44.58%

So, What Should I Use?

The truth of the matter is, there’s no silver bullet for modeling attribution. Our team has found the best way to get an accurate understanding, is to compare our numbers for each of the models. This is easy to do using the model selector in Attribution. Give it a try with our demo data.

The SaaS Calculator: How Much Should I Spend to Acquire a Customer?

SaaS companies typically spend money upfront to acquire customers, then have to wait many months before recurring revenue makes up for the initial cost to acquire. Revenue from a customer is defined equally by the length of time they stay and the size of their monthly payment. This is a common problem: you spend a lot of money upfront to acquire customers who are only valuable if they stay for a long time. We are betting on our future product with our current cash. Anyone building a SaaS company faces this problem, but if growth erodes profit, how do we separate the viable businesses from the bottomless money-pits?

In this post we will explore the industry benchmarks for acquiring customers. I’m going to do this using Brett Victor’s Tangle library. Drag the blue numbers left or right, and adjust them until they reflect your company.

Monthly Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)

So let’s assume a simple case – you have a software company with 100 customers, and you make, on average $3000 recurring revenue per month. This means you have $30.00 Average Revenue Per User every month. That’s relatively straightforward. There’s also expansion revenue but we will bundle that into churn for simplicity.

Average Revenue Per User: $30.00

Monthly Churn

Your churn is a measurement of how many customers leave your product. Let’s say that 90days ago you had $2000 monthly recurring revenue. If we ignore the new customers, those customers from 90 days ago now account for $1800 remaining monthly recurring revenue. This would mean you have 3.70% monthly churn and 45.06% yearly churn.[1]

Monthly Churn: 3.70%

Lifetime Value Calculation

We can divide 1 by the monthly churn rate to get an idea of how many months your customers would be expected to stay. So for our calculation, 1 / 3.70% monthly churn = 27.0 months of expected revenue. Earlier we calculated that the average customer spends $30.00 per month and now we see the average customer stays for 27.0 months. Multiply these two numbers together and we see that an average customer would have a $810 lifetime value.

Lifetime Value: $810

So that’s a simple calculation of lifetime value. Now that we know how much a customer is worth, we can look at how much you can sensibly spend to acquire one.

Spend Less than 1/3 of LTV

A simple and prevalent model is spending 1/3 of your customer lifetime value [2]. Using the numbers we calculated above, we would have a $810 LTV divided by 3 for a $270 Maximum Customer Acquisition Cost. The idea here is to reserve 2/3 or your gross revenue for product development, operating expenses, taxes and profit.

Spend less than $270

Which is 1/3 of a $810 customer lifetime value.

Spend less than 12 Months of Revenue

Another common way to think about this to spend a set number of months income on customer acquisition, usually 12 months or less [2]. So if your customers spend an average of $30.00 per month, you spend 12 months income or less on acquisition. This would give us a $360 maximum CAC. This model forces you to think of acquisition costs as money that you recoup over time, and it re-frames churn as lost money. This can have a profound effect on the way you think about churn.

Spend less than $360

Or one year’s income at $30.00 per month.

The SaaS Conundrum – Profitability is Elusive

If you spend 12 months income to acquire a customer, you are in the red for 12 months. Losing that customer any time in the first 12 months should be treated as a failure. In the last few years, we’ve seen an increase of SaaS companies offering discounts yearly pre-payment. This is for good reason, SaaS companies typically face a cash crunch as their growth accelerates. 12 months is a long time to wait for revenue to catch up with spending. Couple this cash crunch with the common expectation of exponential growth and you can see why startups are typically not profitable for many years.

Spending 1/3 of LTV and recouping the cost of acquisition within 12 months are just benchmarks. The reality is that you know your startup better than anyone. These benchmarks are meant to get you started but growth is unique for every SaaS business. Your model will grow in complexity as you learn more about your market and your best growth channels.

Get in touch in the comments if you have any feedback or additions.

[1] This is a simplified churn calculation, you should read Steven Noble’s Definition of churn , Jason Cohen’s post on the topic and Joel York’s analysis for more information. Churn changes as your product improves and competitors enter your market. Churn is a deep concept and building multi-year models around it is a risky way to run your business.

[2] Both the 12 month benchmark and the 1/3 of LTV benchmark come from from David Skok’s excellent article on Sass Metrics. They have become common benchmarks but every startup is unique. For a nuanced analysis of the topic take a look at David Kellog’s post on CAC ratio.