The next few blog posts will focus on a term called Marketing Attribution. Whether you’ve heard it before and want to learn more or it’s a new concept, our goal is for you to have a solid understanding by the end of the series.

So what is marketing attribution? It’s the logical progression of online marketing strategy and marketing strategy in general. In this blog series we’ll explore what marketing attribution is, how it can benefit your business and the gears and mechanisms behind the buzzword.

What came before marketing attribution in online marketing strategy?

To understand how marketing attribution is the evolved and improved version of online marketing strategy and why it’s the future of online marketing, you need to know what preceded it.

If you or your marketing agency use any sort of online strategy or conversion tracking system, it’s probably something called the last-click model. When you have an online marketing goal such as sales, appointment bookings, requests for contact/more information, etc. the last-click model will tell you what click brought the customer to your page. So, for example, say you own a day spa and you sent an email to your subscribers about a hot rock massage special, if a customer clicked on the link provided to book one, the “last click” would be from the email and you can infer your marketing success was a result of it.

That sounds great, you may be thinking. The marketing success was because of the email. What’s the problem?

It’s not that there’s necessarily a problem with the last-click model. It was considered a reliable industry standard for a long time. The theory behind marketing attribution is simply that there’s more to it than the last click.

So what exactly is marketing attribution?

Marketing attribution is a more complete look at how online sales are made, appointments are booked or how random browsers on smartphones turn into customers who spend money on your services.

Continuing with the email hot rock massage example, marketing attribution would not only tell you where the sale came from, but also how the email got to your new customer. Did she sign up for your weekly newsletter on Facebook? Was it forwarded to her from someone who thought she might be interested? Had she given you her email address to enter a contest? Someone who goes from perusing an email about a special to purchasing said special is a high-value contact. If you know where she came from, you know where you got your marketing ROI.

Think of the difference between last-click model and marketing attribution with this real word analogy,

A husband and wife have an excellent dinner at a new Italian restaurant. After the meal, the owner stops by their table. He’s spent all kinds of money on newspaper ads, billboards and radio commercials so he’d like to know what brought the couple to his restaurant.

The equivalent of the last-click model would tell him the answer is the subway from the lower east side.

The equivalent of marketing attribution would say the wife repeatedly saw a billboard for the restaurant outside her studio space on the lower east side, eventually she decided to look up the reviews online. There were only a few but all of them were great, so she met her husband after work and they took the subway over.

Both answers are helpful and can’t be discounted, but marketing attribution provides an undoubtedly more complete look at the picture.

Whitehead Agency Group is a leading Toronto, Ontario, healthcare marketing agency with over 25 years of specialized health and wellness experience.

Start profiting from the new age of consumer-driven healthcare with marketing that clicks. Contact us today at (416) 365-6884 or by emailing us at to arrange a complimentary, no-obligation review of your current marketing.