Web analytics and digital attribution


I recently read an excellent research report by the IAB and Forrester titled Digital Attribution Comes of Age (full disclosure, SAS was a sponsor). In the paper, they talked specifically about improved multichannel measurement, data driven decision making and media buying leverage for marketers. Attribution, for me, is the natural evolution of marketing mix modelling and striving to find marketing ROI.

So let me ask you as a marketer - if your VP of sales asks you to grow the pipeline by 25% (say from $80M to $100M), what would you do? Would you want to know which digital touchpoints and various combinations of engagements would help you generate these dollars? Would this be helpful? I think so and I believe your web analytics, when used properly, can help you get there.

Web analytics and digital attribution

In my last post, I shared my thoughts on web analytics and demand generation  and how to manage and optimize web behavioral data. Your company strategy around demand generation will lay the groundwork for how you address attribution. First off, the topic of attribution can be a tricky subject internally as you may reveal some things that are politically sensitive (nobody wants to hear that their work is underperforming or underwhelming). If you are ready to take on building out a digital attribution model, here are some steps we've found helpful:

  • Web analytics and content tagging – One feeds the other. If you don’t have content consistently tagged in a way that can feed lead nurturing programs and recommendation engines  – start here. Then make sure you have an advanced web analytics solution that feeds into your database.
  • Build out your attribution model – A majority of marketers use first click or last click attribution. This view does not provide a complete picture. Your web analytics should now tell you what the individual’s behaviors are across all forms of 'ungated' content -  from articles read to offers they hovered over. Tie all of this together, build out an analytically driven model, and see what is really putting those dollars in your sales teams’ pipeline. For example, when you can identify more sales opportunities coming from specific digital channels, you can shift your investments quickly and confidently.
  • Web analytics and real time – It is critical to move quickly once you have your content tagged and models built. If your web analytics solution has a real time engine integrated into the solution, your time to value shrinks. For most marketers, the goal is to have your interactive marketing efforts and digital media buys all point people back to your website. Once there, real time engines deliver analytically driven offers and content that pulls people through the sales cycle and lets their behaviors dictate where they go next. The data will tell you what they value and find influential.

Right time. Real time. Next best offer. Next best action. These are not just fancy buzzwords, but achievable marketing objectives. Please let me know your thoughts and any examples you see of companies doing this well.


About Author

Will Waugh

Will Waugh is an interactive marketer at SAS. Areas of expertise include: digital marketing, lead nurturing, ecommerce, marketing automation, search, marketing analytics and evolving our use of SAS Customer Intelligence solutions. His career spans across multiple marketing disciplines including advertising, promotions, marketing analytics, social and digital marketing. Follow on Twitter: @willwaugh


  1. Pingback: Marketing analytics and why Google matters

Leave A Reply

Back to Top