You’ve likely been using Google Analytics for a while now. It’s invaluable for many things, like providing a single source of truth for conversion counts. But as you expand the scope of your marketing, you start to realize its limitations.
For instance, GA’s attribution models are rule-based, so they fall short in determining how much credit each ad platform deserves for a conversion. Even worse, if you’re looking to track off-site impressions or any offline marketing (e.g., direct mail, TV ads), GA isn’t able to do this.
Now you may be thinking: Does it make sense for me to steer away from GA and implement multi-touch attribution?
Not everyone is ready for multi-touch attribution — it’s not just a box to be checked. Think about it like buying a house: it can be a big step towards financial success, or it can be a leap into instability.
Here’s what being a good MTA candidate typically looks like.
1) You're marketing through multiple channels. Multi-touch attribution won’t be much of a value-add unless you’re marketing through multiple ad platforms. At this point, your customers’ path to purchase is less straightforward — you need a sophisticated way of informing budget allocation across ad platforms. If you’re not marketing through multiple platforms, single-touch attribution is probably effective enough.
2) You're considering or actively buying offline. The moment you do offline marketing is the moment GA becomes inadequate for ingesting relevant data. If you can’t measure your offline marketing, how will you if you should increase or cut back spend here?
3) You're spending more than $20K a month on advertising. If you’re not spending at least $20K across ad platforms, you have bigger priorities than implementing MTA. At this stage, your time is better spent figuring out which ad platforms work best and improving on these so that you can get your ad budget higher.
4) There are at least two marketers on your team. Ideally, there’s someone on your team dedicated to MTA. This usually isn’t feasible if you’re the only marketer. There’s a lot of work involved: You’ll need to carve out time to define KPIs, ensure all the relevant data is ingested and establish a QA process. Once attribution results come in, you’ll need to check that activities captured in MTA match the data from your ad platforms and that the results make intuitive sense.
5) Your team has realistic expectations. MTA benefits are rarely realized overnight. Everyone involved should understand that you’re building the necessary marketing foundation for the next couple of years, not tomorrow. It’s likely that for the first few months, your campaigns will be running without any MTA optimizations in order to establish a baseline MTA benchmark.
You wouldn’t buy a house without planning for how it will get furnished, renovated and turned into a long-term asset. Similarly, you wouldn’t invest in MTA without planning for what data goes into it, how it will be maintained and how it will add long-term value.
When you’re actually ready for MTA, you’ll likely find it to be a necessary supplement to Google Analytics.