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Where Do Users Come From?

“Not another article about attribution modelling!” 

I know what you’re thinking. 

“It has been done before.” 

“I know everything about digital attribution.” 

I get it. In fact, I was quite reluctant when I was asked to write about digital attribution modelling. 

After all, it has been a topic of discussion between digital marketers for years, even though very few of us have actually taken the time to explore the ever-changing semantics behind attribution.

First things first, what in the world is digital attribution modelling?

Attribution modelling is simply the set of rules that determines how credit for specific online action is assigned to touchpoints in multiple conversion paths.

On the path to conversion, customers may do multiple searches and interact with multiple ads from the same advertiser. Attribution models let you choose how much credit each ad interaction gets for your conversions.

By using an attribution model, you can figure out what drove a consumer to take a specific action, whether in an online or offline environment. This allows marketers to understand which combination of touchpoints or events enhances the consumer journey and positively influences user behaviour.

Great. Now, why is digital attribution modelling even important?

Understanding your consumer’s journey through attribution models is essential to marketers since it dictates how you allocate your digital advertising budget. With numerous touchpoints and steps in the customer journey, marketers need to be strategic with how they manage their advertising spend to make the maximum ROI.

Keep in mind that according to the rule of seven, an average user interacts with a brand seven times before deciding to make a purchase. For consumers seeking more complex and expensive products, such as cars or mortgages, their buying journey might be much longer as they research and compare the options available to them in the market.

How do you decide on when and where to target your consumers during their buying journey?

There are several attribution models that coexist in the digital space. The six most common digital attribution models that marketers use are:

  • Last Interaction
  • First Interaction
  • Linear
  • Position Based
  • Time Decay

But how important is digital attribution modelling anyway?

A lot of marketers are so fixated on finding the right attribution model piece for their digital activities that they tend to overlook the most important factor, the consumer.

I have been guilty of doing this myself and for many years, I was obsessed with finding the right combination of touchpoints in order to enhance performance. I was looking at the data from every angle in hopes to find the right formula, but there was one thing that I forgot to consider: there’s a real person behind each click! 

As marketers, we have to always put the consumer first to understand the intent behind their online behaviour.

I know what is going through your mind right now.

“There’s no way I can possibly understand every individual consumer that interacts with my brand.”

And I’m with you on that. I’m not advocating analyzing every tiny piece of data to understand every aspect of digital consumers interacting with you online.

Instead, you should make your life easier and define a “cohort”.

What Are Cohorts in Marketing?

A cohort refers to a collection of events, interactions, and experiences, among other factors, shared by a group of consumers. We use cohorts to identify market opportunities among specific sets of users and effectively enhance our digital marketing strategy.

Cohorts Analytics

Cohort segmentation is one of the first steps to better understand your customers’ behaviour. After gathering and segmenting all user data, cohort analysis is really where you really uncover the value of this data. Your customers are real people, not just clicks and views.

As modern marketers, we need to be well versed in various subjects like human psychology or linguistics to better analyze our customers. A good understanding of cultural and social behaviour means you’ll have a better grasp of why your customers act the way they do.

By no means am I suggesting that you dedicate your whole life to studying sociology, but acquiring insights and knowledge from these fields helps you become a better marketer in the long run.

How Does Cohort Analysis Influence Consumer Behaviour?

Once you have a clear understanding of your consumers, who they are, where they play, then you can start visualizing and playing around with key elements and factors that will have a direct impact on your marketing campaigns.

You might be able to play around with different sentences, call-to-actions, headlines, visuals and topics that will resonate with your customers and entice them to click on an ad, remember a slogan, or open an email.


What are some of the marketing tactics you can test?

1. Personalization

Personalization really tells a consumer that a brand a) truly understands them as a person, and b) knows exactly what they want.

2. Creative direction

Creative direction can have a major impact not only on your marketing efforts but also on how consumers see your brand, product or services. Do your customers prefer light or dark colours, photography or illustrations, humour or seriousness? As a marketer, we should try to understand how does your ad makes them feel and how that influences their behaviour.

3. Messaging and content

From a search ad to an infographic to a blog post, how you deliver your message and the type of content that you create is what helps to bring your users together. You can better optimize your messaging by seeking online communities that deliver content similar to yours or even interact with your content. Since these online hubs share the same core audience as you, they can help you better understand what content your users are looking for.

4. Localization and cultural references

Understanding cultural differences brings a lot of value to your marketing activities. We tend to design advertising that works at a very macro level but often forget the micro-level diversity in our audiences. Optimizing your campaign based on your users’ locations and backgrounds can really strike a chord with your consumers.

Looking beyond digital attribution modelling

Day by day, digital marketing is getting more complex. Our role as marketers has shifted from simply placing ads on a channel to understanding consumer behaviours in full. Every single element of your campaign, including content, visual direction, personalization, plays a role in how your consumers interact with you online.

Digital attribution modelling can help you understand which channels you need to distribute your message on, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. You need to think holistically about your customer’s entire journey of interactions with your brand to truly optimize your campaigns and drive better results.