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An attribution model is a method of assigning credit to individual milestones in the sales funnel. While there might be multiple touchpoints along the funnel every time a customer interacts with your business, milestones mark a transition from one stage of the funnel to the next. For example, when a raw lead becomes a qualified lead.
How to Use Attribution Modeling
Attribution models allow you to distribute credit between milestones to know which marketing sources and campaigns are driving leads at what points in the sales funnel.
For example, maybe a certain Facebook campaign is where most of your first touch milestones occur, but more customers actually pick up the phone when they see a specific banner ad. Having that information can help you tailor your content for those first touch customers and invest in only the most effective marketing sources.
Attribution models allow you to weigh milestones differently based on the portion of the sales funnel you’re looking to optimize. For example, if you want to know which ads create the most first-time engagements for leads, you’d use a First Touch Model. If you’re more interested in learning which ads create the conversion action of calling your business, you’d use a Lead Creation Model. If you’re interested in both, you can assign half credit to both the first touch and lead creation milestones using the 50/50 Model.
Understanding the full customer journey gives you insight into exactly how individuals find your business, become a lead, and eventually a paying customer, so you can pinpoint how to optimize your marketing efforts and prioritize your spending by the most cost-effective campaigns.
Milestones are the touchpoints that move a customer from one stage of the sales funnel to the next.
The First Touch milestone is the first time a customer engages with your ad. For example, if they click a PPC ad that takes them to a landing page or they are called by a sales representative on your team. This is the first time a customer interacts with your company.
Two important things to know about the First Touch milestone:
- First Touch milestones won’t populate in CallRail until a customer calls one of your tracking numbers and is therefore visible to your company as a raw lead. (Outbound calls are an exception, see FAQ’s.)
- You must be using keyword pools in order to see session-level tracking on first touches. If you’re only using source tracking numbers, each First Touch milestone will also automatically also be counted as a Lead Creation milestone since source tracking requires a customer to call a tracking number before they are captured in CallRail. With keyword pools, once a customer calls we’re able to access individual visitor session data such as ad clicks and website visits before the call was made for a true look at first touch attribution.
The Lead Creation milestone is the last source before a customer calls and becomes known to your business as a raw lead. Raw leads are any lead that hasn’t been qualified yet (the next stage of the sales funnel). For example, if a customer clicks on one of your Google AdWords PPC ads and then calls the tracking number on your landing page, their Lead Creation milestone would be that PPC ad because it caused them to call.
The Qualified milestone is the last source before a customer becomes scored as a qualified lead. Raw leads can be scored as qualified leads using CallScore, keyword spotting, or manual scoring.
- First Touch = a customer is aware of your company.
- Lead Creation = a customer has contacted your company.
- Qualified = a customer is qualified as potential revenue.
It’s important to note that while each milestone is distinct, there are many instances where multiple milestones can occur at the same time. For example, if a customer’s first interaction with your business is a PPC ad and they call the tracking number on that ad the first time they see it, that would be both the First Touch and the Lead Creation milestone. Another common example is if a customer is scored on their first call as a qualified lead, that would represent the Lead Creation and Qualified milestones in one event.
First Touch Model
- 100% credit to the first touchpoint a customer engaged with.
Lead Creation Model
- 100% credit to the last touchpoint before a customer calls one of your tracking numbers and becomes known to your company as a raw lead.
- Split credit evenly between the first touchpoint and the lead creation touchpoint.
How does lead attribution work with source tracking numbers?
A first time call to one of your source tracking numbers will always populate as a First Touch and a Lead Creation touch. This is because source tracking numbers do not have session data attached (like keyword pools), so the first call always serves as the first known touchpoint for that customer.
How are outbound calls attributed?
Outbound first touches (ex. Sales team reaching out to potential customers) will show as a first touch unless session data reveals when the customer calls again that they had interacted with advertising before the outbound call. The outbound call will still be recorded in the visitor timeline.