Revenue attribution is the process of matching customer sales to specific advertisements in order to understand where revenue is coming from and optimize how advertising budgets are spent in the future.
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Today businesses use relatively complicated revenue attribution models to better allocate their marketing budgets. In the past, models looked primarily at Web data and generally attributed sales to the last marketing media customers saw prior to making a purchase, which is known as last-click attribution. But today marketers take advantage of multiple advertising channels, including web, email, mobile and social platforms, all of which can influence a customer's decision to buy. This means modelers must collect and analyze data from all these channels to assess the impact of each campaign.
Modern revenue attribution models take a scientific approach. Marketers will work with treatment and control groups, sending an advertisement or promotional offer to the majority of leads, while keeping the marketing media from those in the control group. Marketers can measure the difference in behavior and use this information to model how various campaigns will perform in the future.