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7 Steps to Cross-Channel Marketing Attribution

February 14, 2017 Kathy Bryan

Spending without proof of effectiveness is on its way out. In truth, it hasn’t been acceptable for a long time.

Businesses of the 21st century are streamlined in both budgets and resources. As a result, marketers can no longer justify media budgets of any size without delivering quantifiable ROI.

Cross-channel marketing attribution tracking and modeling allows marketers to demonstrate the value of what they do. But that’s not all. By providing timely, insightful and actionable data with which marketing campaigns can be holistically optimized, attribution tracking also assists in the effective optimization of marketing efforts. Click here to download our new whitepaper, Cross-Channel Marketing Attribution: From Comprehension to Deployment to Predictive Planning, published in partnership with LeadsCouncil.


Without a doubt, cross-channel attribution is complicated to set up. Though oversimplified, the seven steps below will help you get started.

1. Create your attribution lexicon.

Define your campaign objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs), and make sure everyone is using the same language.

2. Integrate all of your data sources.

Identify one system (like Sparkroom performance marketing technology) to integrate, house and clean all of your marketing and conversion data and translate it, as needed, to ensure the lexicon language is being utilized.

3. Tag everything.

Tracking pixels must be incorporated into the code of every campaign element (display ads, landing pages, email creative, websites, etc.). These pixels power analytics tracking by letting you know when and from where someone has come. In addition, tags can set cookies (code placed on user devices to identify and remember information about an individual). Tags help collect data inclusive of IP addresses, browser information, traffic sources, cookie data and user behavior.

4. Establish a baseline.

Using last-click attribution, establish current performance benchmarks. As you make campaign changes, you’ll be measuring lift in relation to these initial parameters.

5. Build an attribution model.

With so many different approaches available, it’s essential to evaluate methods to determine what will work best for your brand and media mix. Use historical data to test models, and remember your best solution may be a combination of standard approaches.

6. Evaluate your attribution model.

Approximately three months are needed for model training and another three months for optimizations to start impacting campaign results. If you’re not seeing positive performance impact six months after launch, it’s time to adjust your approach.

7. Continually test and optimize.

Even when you see a conclusive ROI from your efforts, you should constantly search for opportunities to enhance your tracking and campaign performance further. Test new channels and monitoring methods regularly and make adjustments as appropriate.

Nothing worth doing comes easy, but having cross-channel attribution tracking in place will make every future decision easier. To learn more, download our new whitepaper, Cross-Channel Marketing Attribution: From Comprehension to Deployment to Predictive Planning, published in partnership with LeadsCouncil.

Click here to request a customized demonstration of Sparkroom performance marketing technology and to get a sneak peek at our soon-to-be-announced cross-channel marketing attribution features.

About the Author

Kathy Bryan

Kathy Bryan is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. In this role, Kathy is responsible for all aspects of marketing and communications for DMS and its subsidiary brands. Since its inception, DMS has evolved into an award-winning, full-service performance marketing company demonstrating incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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