Improve client retention with multi-touch attribution
Greg: People bounced between the desktop, their smartphones, stores, and back and forth.
Tracking all of that activity is really challenging. Once upon a time, we had a handful of traditional media. They were fairly straightforward, easy to buy, creative was pretty straightforward in most cases. And we’ve added to that, multiple digital channels and they’re both being used.
Contrary to some of the means and themes that kind of exist in the digital marketing world, traditional media aren’t dead. In fact, out of home and direct mail are seeing new life in unexpected ways. TV is still very strong in certain rural markets, Yellow Pages is strong, and radio is still widely used.
But you need to add to that all of the digital channels. How do you knit those together? How do you capture which ones are influencing purchase decision-making? This research is from Ipsos and what it stands for is the proposition that there are very few online-only buyers and very few offline-only buyers.
Most people in the market today are research online, buy offline or research offline and buy online. That’s the bulk of the market. Next slide. One thing that’s really important, this is something I talk about a lot in different contexts.
One thing that’s very, very important to understand is that nearly all purchase behavior is offline. People like to say 90% of retail spending is still online, which is something I heard Ruth Porat, the CFO from Google, say on the earnings call this week. But if you sort of expand the frame, what you see is that e-commerce online transactions are really a tiny little sliver of all the commerce that’s going on when you combine retail spending and services, which is a huge part of the economy.
Trillions and trillions of dollars are all being transacted offline. But what that doesn’t say is that the…what I should say is that the internet influences a growing percentage of that. So it’s very rare when somebody isn’t using the internet, a mobile device to do some kind of research, some kind of look up prior to making a decision.
This is one hypothetical purchase journey today for a consumer. Start on mobile, look at the desktop, go into a store, check out the product, back on to a mobile device, purchase in the store or purchase online. And it’s very hard for a marketer to track all of these things, let alone appropriately weight them all.
Mark’s going to get into that a little bit later. Next slide. Again, Ipsos research, which I won’t go through all these rows and columns. But basically, what this stands for is the earlier proposition, 80% of the audience is looking online, buying offline or vice versa.
You see that in the bottom of the slide, that the bulk of the audience is they’re using multiple devices, multiple channels and this is across four categories, buying a laptop, buying a TV, apparel, and then a wireless contract. Next slide, please.
In that same research, what they found was people were using multiple sources for each purchase decision from just under two for clothing to just over three for laptop purchases. But on the next slide, what we see is something larger than that. So the next slide shows…next slide please.
I keep saying the words “next slide” as a cue there. Okay, good. What this research from a different source shows is that an average of 10 sources are used across categories to make purchase decisions. And at the low end, it was about six. At the high end, it was over 18.
And so it makes sense. In a higher consideration purchase category, you’re going to see more resources used, in a lower consideration category, fewer. Somebody may go to a review site, make a decision on a restaurant, go to the restaurant. But in a travel context or buying a car or buying a home, other kinds of high-consideration purchase categories. You’re going to see months of research, lots and lots of sources used.
This is LSA proprietary research from last year with about 4000 consumers. We asked people what resources, what tools did you use when seeking out a local business during the past month?
They’re looking to do some sort of transaction or make some sort of buying decision, what are they looking at? This isn’t the full list. This is everything over 50% penetration. So as you might imagine, search engines, friends, family, word of mouth, email, and so on. People using lots and lots of tools. Even in some cases, you know, I know many of the people listening to this are probably like me in that they now research the hell out of things.
I mean, it’s made simple decisions really complicated, all the information available and just capturing that is challenging from a marketer standpoint. Next slide, please. And this is a sort of the uglier version, which is the B2B journey and I won’t go into this.
This is a Gartner slide but it just shows something even more convoluted, more of a labyrinth than what we have with consumers. Go on to the next slide. So I’m coming to the end here, which is going to segue over to Mark and he’s going to get into the mechanics of attribution. But before we do that, this survey from last year asked marketers, how well are you doing attribution?
Do an assessment of your own attribution capabilities. And really only 10%, 9.1% said that their attribution methodology was excellent. And then after that, there was a decent chunk that said it was good. But beyond that, everybody is sort of getting into layers of mediocrity to failure, basically.
Next slide. And this is also true for small business. What we saw before was enterprise marketers. And then when you ask small businesses, you know, is your marketing working? Do you know what’s effective? Is Facebook effective? Is your SEO effective, etc, down the list?
Most of them don’t know. They can’t really provide any kind of assessment. Some of them will say, “I think so.I’m not sure.” But the majority, and this is representative of a lot of surveys that I’ve seen and that I’ve done, the majority really aren’t confident about their…whether their marketing is working, which is indirectly a statement about their attribution and understanding attribution.
This is my final slide appropriately. And what it reflects is in an enterprise marketing context, most brands and agencies are either using a first-click or last-click attribution method even though consumers and B2B buyers are going all over the place, looking at videos, emails, search, display, etc.
That’s not being reflected in the attribution strategies and tactics that brands and agencies are using today. And so with that, I want to turn it back over to…well, turn it over to Mark for the first time and he’ll get into the meat of this discussion. So take it away, Mark.
Mark: I think many of us as marketers are intimidated by it. And so especially those of us at agencies. We may be less intimidated by it at agencies but we need to understand how it works and how perhaps the attribution models are helping or hurting our client retention.
Even like keeping our ad, like the ad budgets that our clients spend, intact. So I’m going to sort of frame everything in terms of how to look at multi-touch attribution, how the best agencies look at multi-touch attribution, how they approach it, and how they leverage it to really expose a lot about the buyer’s journey to optimize their profits and produce results for their clients.
With that, we’ll dive right in. I’m going to start with a story. This is a picture of my two daughters, my older daughter feeding my younger daughter. This is a picture…I get to show pictures in my webinars of my family. They know about this, by the way.
This is my wife. We got married. And so the other day, I was actually at a party with a few college friends. And one of my college friends was looking at me and seeing pictures of my family and catching up with me. And he just couldn’t understand how this guy was able to attract this girl, this mate, and really end up from where I was in college, a bit of a mess, in his words, to really having a family and turning out okay as he said.
What he was interested in is learning how I met my wife because he’s been having trouble trying to find a mate himself. So he sort of had…he wasn’t all that successful meeting the right people. So he was just curious about the secret sauce.
He’s interested in really figuring out what he can do to meet a great mate. Now, I’m not sure that’s completely applicable but he’s looking for any insights he can derive from me about how I turned out so good, in his words. So I basically decided to catch him up. And I said, “Okay, well, how to meet a wife.”
I moved to Nicaragua after university. I lived in a little surf town, joined the Nicaraguan Softball League with some friends. We were terrible at it. And I had partied the night before our second game, was hungover and needed something to eat. So I went into a sandwich shop to get some food before the game and then that’s where I saw a pretty girl that I didn’t know and I decided to talk to her.
That pretty girl ended up being my wife. So pausing the story for a moment, I just want to be clear on the definition of attribution model so we know we’re all working with the same definition. Really, what it is, is it’s a set of rules to determine which preceeding events get credit for a particular outcome.
We’re all familiar with this, most likely many of you are, first-touch models, first-click models, as Greg went over, and last-click models. And you can see that there’s lots of touches that are thrown out in between. And those of you in the B2B marketing space, as Greg mentioned, have many more touch points to attribute especially if it’s a high-dollar sale than consumer purchases.
But the thing I want to talk about today is I want to remove some of the intimidation that many of us have around attribution. And specifically, I want to make the case and I think you’ll be convinced of it that you actually don’t need to dive into custom models and weighting and getting the exact touchpoint weighting for all these different touches you want to attribute an outcome to.
You can actually expose quite a bit about the buyer’s journey just by looking at single-touch models that we all have access to. So and most of us are using first touch and last touch. So going back to my story, the only data my friend had in our short conversation, the first data point I gave him, so to speak, was that I moved to Nicaragua after university.
Using a first-touch attribution model, my friend might give 100% credit to my move to Nicaragua in terms of meeting my wife and it turning out so good. So you can see how that’s…it sounds a little silly but with the data that he has when I tell him the story, this is sort of how we basically attribute marketers…attribute performance for our clients all the time of our marketing efforts.
In a last-touch attribution model, basically, this is probably closer to what might actually help my friend but still may be lacking some critical information, I decided to talk to a pretty girl that I didn’t know. So last touch, my friend would sort of take the indication that he should talk to girls that he doesn’t know.
My question for us as we dive into how to do multi-touch attribution in the way that I’m proposing is, which agency retains clients? The one using a first-touch model who says, “Move to Nicaragua to meet your mate,”the agency that operates on the last-touch model that says, “Talk to girls you don’t know,” or the agency that has a more measured view of single-touch models and says something really geeky like, “We need to collect more data on how other people find their mates but go ahead and talk to girls you don’t know.”
What I want to impress upon you all is that if you take a measured approach to this and you collect the right data, you’re going to end up in that final bucket which will help you retain clients by actually optimizing their campaigns and saving money or at least retaining more of your profits out of their budgets by optimizing what is exposed in the buyer’s journey by comparing different attribution data from the touch points you have.
Attribution modeling, it’s really important to understand, is never perfect. So don’t aim for perfection here, aim for getting sort of the basics right, the groundwork right, collecting the data and understanding it, and then use it to leverage the buyer’s journey for your client. So I have an exercise in this presentation.
And with everything that I’m going to be talking about, I don’t have time to…or we don’t have time to dive into this in detail. But I left it in the deck because I think this is really, really helpful. This sample report, this sample data, will show you the differences between first touch and last touch. So I left this in here.
There’s metric definitions for each one. But the one that I want to focus on just briefly in the presentation today is return on ad spend. So return on ad spend is basically a calculation of what is your customers, the number of customers times the average customer revenue divided by how much you spent.
The way this is expressed is really in, you know, 4x, 1.3x. And that’s really…what that means is for every dollar you give, you either get $4 back or $1.30 back in those two examples. So as you do this exercise, if you end up diving into the deck after the presentation, the questions really to look into are what channels are performing best?
And why so? And what does first touch tell us that last touch doesn’t and vice versa? And then most importantly, what decisions would you make based on this report? So these are the areas I’ve kind of highlighted to look into. And what you’ll find when you look into this in more detail is that if you were using a first-touch model for your agency, you would be overpaying Google, reducing your profit margins because you’d be focused on paid search, which in this sample report, and often is very, very similar to client performance, depends on the industry.
But a lot of times, paid search does a great job bringing people in, but in terms of actual like customer conversions or lower-funnel conversions, it doesn’t do as well. So if you’re using a first-touch model, you may end up over-valuing and overspending on paid efforts that you think are producing the most value when you probably don’t need to as much and you might need to sort of invest in organic.
You’ll notice some other things as you dive into the sample data between the projected revenue produced between organic and paid channels between the two touches as well as certain channels that do better in certain instances.
And if you’re using a last-touch model, your agency might be under-investing in the top of the funnel. So if you’re not filling up the top of the funnel and you’re seeing…if you’re using last touch, you’re seeing organic is driving so much of our efforts, why are we even spending on paid because it has a negative return. You might not be realizing if you were to have this data, that paid search is actually bringing people in and organic is sort of playing an assistive role to push them over the edge.
There’s certain channels that look good, like paid web referrals, perhaps those are listing sites where there’s reviews on your company or your client’s company. But it’s important to understand the differences between these so you’re not ignoring parts of the buyer’s journey and the funnel that you really need to focus on to produce the most client success, optimize the campaigns, and also make the most profit.
It’s really important to understand this so you can spend according to what you’ve committed to and what you’re being held to by your client. So top agencies would actually align efforts to the journey. They would say, “Okay, paid channels produce awareness in the data that we have for this client, organic channels are producing lower-funnel activity.
We should organize our organic content and organic optimization around the lower-funnel activity that it’s producing and increase or accelerate those conversions. And really focus paid channels on the awareness producing that they’re really good at. You might now also think that those listing sites or paid web referrals and organic emails actually can be leveraged in a certain way to accelerate customer acquisition even more.
But you wouldn’t get that if you were just looking at one single touch point. And even if you were looking at some crazy custom model where you think you got the weighting perfectly, you might not be seeing that. So I highly recommend not being intimidated by all the multi-touch models and custom attribution. Just start comparing models. Google Analytics actually has a model comparison tool that’s pretty good. It’s not perfect.
We’re going to talk about how to collect data to actually do this in a way that you have confidence in because we’ll talk about some challenges with Google Analytics in a moment. So we actually started at the finish line with looking at that sample dataset. That report is really the product of putting in quite a bit of work and trying to figure out what is producing value for clients.
I just want to impress on you, it does take work, especially if you have an agency. There’s some scale factor depending on the size of your agency. So make sure you’re ready to put in the work. Now let’s start talking about how agencies think about approach and leverage attribution for retention. There’s four things that top agencies do differently.
They understand identity resolution, they collect the right attribution data, they define their channels for that client. So each client is going to have a little bit different business. You may want to actually define channels that are specific, that won’t be in any analytics application because they represent large investments of your time and effort in a channel that you want to give credit to.
Then they also, this is really important, they factor money. They use this attribution data they collect and they factor in the money, both the money going out and the money that the client is going to receive. So in order to get that return on ad spend, even if you don’t have access to your client’s data in terms of back office or transaction data or revenue, you can actually, 9 times out of 10, get an average customer revenue figure for the leads you’re producing for your client and you can get them to give that to you and then use that in your reporting.
It’s sort of sourced by them and they’re confident in what they’re looking at. So let’s dive into understanding identity resolution first. This is a fancy phrase, identity resolution, but I’m going to try to simplify it. Really, identity resolution is resolving identity across all the different stages of the buyer’s journey.
We’re going to focus mainly on online activity. And if you’re tracking phone calls and form submissions, live chats, all this is going to be applicable to you. And I’ll speak as I go through to specific offline channels and broadcasts and sort of how they fit in. But when it comes to online, the challenge really is assessing an anonymous web visit, someone who is visiting a website, hasn’t filled out any forms, is not cookied, they’re not recognized by any analytics tool you’re using, and then tying that to the lead acquisition event.
When they fill out a form and make a phone call, they begin chatting depending on which CTAs or offer types you have for your clients. And then customer acquisition. So the third area is a little bit more challenging as agencies depending on your relationship with the client to get because it’s a little bit further down the funnel.
You may want to stop at lead acquisition and really focus on the attribution up to that point and make assumptions and proxy calculations for customer acquisition with the average customer revenue and conversion rates of lead to customer that they’re seeing. So the important thing to understand is to resolve this identity, there’s actually a unique identifier that you can use at each stage.
For anonymous web visits, basically the cookie is what you’re looking at. So these are small identifiers that are placed in a user’s browser. And when that user comes back to the website, all the data…you basically save or retain all the data associated with that user ID that’s anonymous, not tied to an identity, you can tie that to a subsequent email, phone call, live chat, whatever the lead acquisition event is.
Then for customer data, you’re really looking at the transaction. For more sophisticated clients, you may be able to plug in their CRM and get a lot of data about the sales process to get maybe a metric in between two and three that might be sales-qualified leads or sales-accepted leads before that. But it’s really important to understand that identity really is the narrative glue for marketing attribution.
If you’re not collecting sort of the identifiers and marrying them along the way, you actually can determine this is the same person so you can actually sort of suss out what buyer’s journeys in the aggregate look like and which channels are performing best, where in that buyer’s journey. So the good news about identity resolution is that most analytics tools take care of the anonymous stage for you.
Google Analytics does this, many other analytics tools do this, CallRail does this if you’re using us to track phone calls and form submissions. And if you do this right, if you actually leverage this data and connect it with your buyer’s journey, you can really super optimize client campaigns around that.
Exposing that buyer’s journey allows you to optimize according to that. And then the bad news about identity resolution is that most analytics tools we use, Google Analytics included here, don’t have or forbid association to the richest identity data, lead and customer data. So really the who that we want to tie to all that activity, that’s anonymous.
Google Analytics actually prohibits any PII being put into Google Analytics. And they’re sort of clamping down on that a little more since GDPR came out last year as the regulators begin to look at the data that these companies have. So one tip to sort of deal with this is you need to understand how identity resolution works and understand how they’re doling out credit because most analytics tools are really quick to give credit to their own platforms.
If you notice, the most ubiquitous analytics tools in the market today, Google Analytics, Facebook Attribution, they actually all give credit to their own platforms first. And they have interesting ways of making sure that their platforms get credit and they are not focused as much on making sure other platforms get credit.
Take everything with a grain of salt if you’re relying on those tools on their own. So how do you solve this? It’s actually…this is going to sound complicated for many of you but it’s not, so don’t freak out. You need to store cookies on all lead capture events. You need to store them on form submissions.
You can set up hidden fields to basically fill in with user ID or an anonymous cookie and then you can query or tie in the data about earlier visits for that user ID upon a form submission. So right then, if you do that, you can connect all the anonymous activity beforehand with the actual contents of the form, the identity of using email address.
Phone calls. So you can use something called custom cookie capture if you’re tracking phone calls. If you’re using session level call tracking, also called keyword level call tracking, we provide that here at CallRail, several of those tools do it as well. If you have that in place, you can actually set up custom cookie capture to capture cookies upon those web visits that turned into phone calls.
Then you’ll have the phone call, the caller ID, the conversation and everything that comes…the contents of that conversation associated with the anonymous web traffic as well. And then live chat, the best way to go about it with live chat is really to integrate with your analytics tool that you’re using for identity resolution. So this is like a brief overview, but it kind of gives you some things you can grab on to and look into more and I can answer questions as well.
I’ve given this presentation a few times, once at SMX, once at Unbound’s Conference. And so I always get questions afterwards. So feel free to either email me or put them in the chat box and we’ll try to get to them at the end if you have further follow-up questions. So let’s talk about collecting the right data.
Believe it or not, you actually don’t need all that much data for every single marketing touchpoint to report in the way that we are proposing you do and looking at attribution models differently, the single touch models. So to get the data that’s needed for that sample report, you actually only need three data points. So before we do that, I just wanted to find the marketing touchpoint because it’s really the foundational concept of attribution.
It’s really any interaction with your brand and with the important modifiers that we can reasonably track. We are never going to be able to track every single interaction with our client’s brands or our brands. So it’s important that we sort of pencils down, so to speak, when we collect as much data as we think we can reasonably track.
But don’t obsess over tracking every single thing. For offline events, you can actually set up tracking. You’ll have to sort of do it manually and then and then marry it with your online data. But you can track offline as well for leads that you get for your clients through offline events. So collect the right data for your funnel or your client’s funnel.
As you’re setting up the campaign, really think about the funnel and collect the right data. The three data points you really need, you need the timestamp because you can’t have a chronology of events. You can’t have a first and last unless you’re collecting the timestamp. And then you really need to connect the referring URL and the landing page URL. And the reason that you want both referring URL and the landing page URL for those visits is the referring URL, if it’s not direct, you actually have something there that you can use and you can use in your channel definitions that we’ll get into in a moment.
The full string, the referral, whether it’s from like web referral, a listing site, or something else, a directory for a local business you’re marketing on behalf of, you can capture that there. And then the landing page URL is really useful for certain visits that come from your efforts that you can control with UTM tags. So emails, the biggest one that comes to mind, where UTMs or any other landing page parameters that you put in an email link, they will show up in this touchpoint and then you can use those to define your definitions as well for channels.
Those are really the three data points you need. So an example of an offline sort of dataset, timestamp is fairly consistent across all online and offline interactions. But for referring URL and landing page URLs, really what you’re trying to get there is the actual source of the visit.
So just think as you’re defining your channels, your online channels will use referring URL and landing page parameters but your offline interactions or channels, I should say, you need to figure out a naming convention and make sure that you understand what’s offline and what’s online. But really, those two condense into one to give you the source of the actual interaction with your brand.
Then I have some bonus data points. As you get into attribution and you begin collecting this for your clients, you can actually get a lot more data and you can slice and dice this in different ways. So imagine that sample report we went over earlier where you have the channels on the left and you’re attributing those and looking at different single touch models to really learn about the buyer’s journey, you can do the same thing with CTAs and offer types.
If you’re using something like CallRail where we natively track phone calls and forms, you don’t have to worry about this. But if you’re going to sort of build your system, you will need to figure out how to assign cookie values with that data, the data that we need, the timestamp, the referring, and the landing, in addition to the user ID of course. And then for lead capture touches, you really just want to retrieve the first touch values from that cookie you set and then just pass those in hidden fields.
But don’t go too crazy. Just collect what you can, start out small and grow into complexity as it’s needed or warranted. Defining channels. This is another thing that is really important to understand. So a channel, just for the purposes of our conversation, is really how eyeballs get on your brand.
There’s many different words for this concept, source channel, and every tool seems to have slightly different definitions for different channels. I think medium is the closest thing to channels in Google Analytics. So there’s different words. But just think about this in terms of how eyeballs get on your brand. And then if you want to take it down a level, so maybe paid search is a broad channel, then you want to go into sub-channel, maybe it’s Google Ads or maybe it’s Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads).
You can get more specific. But it’s really important to have the detailed definitions. And the definitions really are ways to categorize that referring URL and landing page URL into these buckets. In order to produce a report where you can see first touch versus last touch in the channels, you really need to be able to categorize all these touch points and the users into the way that they came in.
So really, the definition is something that looks like if the referring URL contains Facebook, so they came from www.facebook.com/whatever your post was, and the landing page has “paid” in the UTMs, then the touchpoint channel might be paid social and the sub-channel, Facebook. So these definitions, they can get fairly complex.
It depends on the client campaign that you’re working on but the good news is that many analytics tools actually have decent predefined channels. Now you should know, I mean you should take them with a grain of salt, Google Analytics, for example, is horrible at attributing social interaction. It’ll group things correctly sometimes in a social from LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook but it doesn’t capture all the shortened URLs that we all know.
So we know they’re just not prioritizing this, like t.co, if you have a referral from t.co, you know that’s Twitter or one of the LinkedIn short ones. So you just need to know that they’re pretty good in analytics, Google Analytics specifically, but just know that you might need to tweak some where they have a vested interest in ignoring some of those.
So the point is that use them if they work. And then one thing, your client’s business, the business you’re working on, marketing on behalf of, it likely has unique channels. So define them carefully. You don’t need to go crazy with this but a perfect example is here at CallRail, we invest a lot in soliciting, like getting our customers to talk about our product, soliciting feedback.
And we really want them to share it with third-party websites like G2 Crowd and Capterra. We want people to tell their experience about CallRail to the world because we know that that helps us gain credibility and rapport with our audience if they hear from real CallRail users. So for us, we have a set of definitions for channels that actually specifically relate to what would show up in all analytics applications as a web referral but we actually have defined it as paid listing with those definitions because it’s an important enough effort that we want to sort of track individually.
And then don’t forget about offline and unpaid channels. These are really important. Don’t think that it’s only paid channels that you need to work on unless you’re a PVC agency and that’s all you do, then your life is a lot simpler in that respect. But if you’re doing multi-channel campaigns for your clients, just make sure you’re capturing everything that is going on in terms of what you are running campaign-wise for them.
And then don’t have too many. It gets hard to maintain the definitions. It also gets hard to analyze. So for even the most sophisticated businesses, I’d say no more than maybe 10 like top-line channels. And really, for most of us, I think we can get away with 10 total channel and sub-channel combinations.
So the last thing, and I think I’m doing okay on time, I got to quickly go through this so we can get to your questions. But the last thing I want to talk about is the best attribution marketers and agencies that I’ve met, they always factor money into the reporting. This is critical because if you think about what your client’s paying you to do, they’re paying you to produce results, ultimately revenue.
Whether you know exactly the revenue that you’re generating or not, you can get to it with certain ways. What I always tell people is you need to track spend by channel, the channels that you control, track the spend by channel and aggregate that spend monthly. You don’t need to get one to one, this visit costs this much because then you end up throwing out all the money spent on business that didn’t happen.
So really just aggregate monthly and then determine what metrics you’re going to sort of use to divide that spend by to get your CPL, your marketing acquisition costs, etc. Again, don’t forget about offline channels, broadcasts, campaigns. People tend to forget about these in the digital world but they are important and more and more, the big brands are…they seem to be getting some even positive ranking factors in terms of SEO from some of these campaigns that they’re doing offline.
And then determine average customer revenue. So again, just ask your client, how much… what’s the average customer revenue? So if I give you a lead and it closes, what is the average customer revenue? If you can actually connect direct to their systems and get the revenue, all the better. But don’t let that, the inability to get that information prevent you from going ahead and making a calculation and turning a report around to them that is really meaningful based on what they gave you.
You may also need to get the lead-to- customer conversion rate from them or the leads you’re generating if the lowest in the funnel you can get is the leads that you send over to them or you generate for them. And then you use that data to calculate cost per lead, marketing acquisition cost, and projected revenue. So this is an example like paid spend tracker is sort of I…excuse me. I can share with you all after the webinar.
I’m happy to share. If you want it, just email me, email@example.com and I’ll make sure you get it. There’s a few templates that I can give you, the channel template, the attribution reporting template and this one. But this is really helpful for just…it is a sample data but it helps you sort of manage your budget. I imagine if you have more than even a few clients, you have something that looks like this.
But if you want them, I’m happy to share with you. Let’s talk about tools to use to factor in the money. So Google Sheets is free and fantastic and has a lot of add-ons and connections that you can use to pull in spend. WordPress plugins. There’s a few of them that are okay, some of them are paid a little bit better. One add-on that I particularly like is Supermetrics.
It connects to so many ad platforms that I imagine it covers 89% of what all of us are using in terms of our agency, our client campaigns, and even internally here at CallRail. And it’s only…it might have gone up in price. I thought I saw a price change but $60 to $90 a month and you can get that add-on that pulls in the data directly into Google Sheets.
And then just a shameless plug here, we at CallRail, we’re actually one of the only tools that tracks calls and forums natively and we have just begun beta-testing a new product that we’re going to be releasing very soon that pulls in ad platform spend for both calls and forms. I talk about all these challenges and it’s important to understand this regardless of what tool you use, but we are trying to solve this problem in a way that makes your life easier.
And so we’re about to release something in June that actually will allow you to calculate CPL with different attribution models so you can sort of compare these different models, first touch, last touch, and even some 50/50 split between them, some qualified touches. It starts at $45 a month with the feature set that I’m talking about. So basically just to recap, four things you should do to retain budgets, maximize profits, and keep your clients longer, you need to understand how identity resolution works.
Whatever tool you’re using, understand how it works, understand how the cookie values are set, the expiration time, the look-back window. Cookies expire. So if you can’t get that data out, then maybe your first touch is really only 60 days old when you’re buying cycle for your clients may be 120 days. So you really need to understand how their identity resolution works at a base level to make sure it works for you and your client.
And then you need to collect the right data. Collect the minimum data, start with that, and then move to other data that helps you really optimize those campaigns for your clients, define their channels according to their business and then factor the money into the reporting, both the money going out and the money coming in to your clients. So just as you see, just a recap, this takes a lot of work.
And to make it meaningful, it takes work. But I know this from experience and I know this from dealing with agencies all the time here at CallRail. Really, if you do this well, it’s really the secret to long-term client retention because you cannot only optimize according to the buyer’s journey by using this data and these methods but you can also use this data.
So let’s say you get into client conversations where they want to know what’s going on, you can expose this data and show them exactly what you’ve learned about the buyer’s journey. Often you’re not going to go into crazy detail with your clients depending on, you know, each client is a little bit different, but if they’re asking questions on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and they want more data, this kind of data will give them an immense amount of confidence in what you’re producing for them and then your sophistication as a marketer.
So just to bring it back home, if you can explain how one goes from this to my friend to attract a mate like my wife, who I swear knows she’s in this presentation, to this, and if you can do all that with the understanding that no attribution model is perfect, especially when it tells a friend that he needs to move to Nicaragua to find the ideal mate, you will become an extremely valuable agency, you will retain clients longer, and you’ll gain the confidence for a long time of who you’re working with.
So with that, I’m going to turn it over to Rachel, who some of you might not have met because at the beginning, there was a little bit of a chop-up. Oh, she’s reminding me…Rachel is reminding me we’re going to do a poll question real quick before we dive into the discussion and your questions. So this’ll be pretty quick. But just want to understand, I’d love to know if you guys, if anybody wants a demo of CallRail, go ahead and answer the question, there’s no obligation.
But if you do want to learn more about what we’re doing, what we’re building, we’re happy to set you up with a personalized demo that’s quick. You can also sign up for a free trial, it’s 14 days, no credit card needed. So we’ll give you a moment to fill that out. And I think we have one more question after this which is…the next question really is just related to if you want to get early access to this new tool that we’re going to be launching soon, we’d love to let you know about it and sort of learn from your experience with it.
But we’ve built it to really have one tool that captures calls, forms, and then eventually down the road, to capture live chat as well. So several months down the road, we’re going to be releasing live chat. So the goal is to sort of have one tool that is agnostic in terms of ad platforms and credit that they get where you can get attribution data that doesn’t make you go silly trying to understand it or trying to set it up, which a lot of tools are difficult to set up.
So that last question is up. We’ll give you one more second and then we’re going to dive into questions. – [Rachel] So we have a couple of questions from you guys. So I’m going to ask the question and then give Mark and Greg an opportunity to answer.
So first question, we are having trouble showing value in Facebook/Instagram conversion campaigns, which have a conversion window of seven days, to show clients this platform is valuable though it doesn’t operate off of last click. Any advice?
– This is Mark. I’ll take a stab at this first and Greg, I’ll turn it over to you if you have something to add. But I guess I’m wondering, is the conversion window a limitation of seven days? Where’s that limitation coming from? So this might require a little bit more back and forth than the webinar format really lends itself to but I guess I’d be curious why the conversion window, where that’s coming from, and what system you’re using to report on these conversions?
If you actually capture the…let’s say that those campaigns drive website visits, if the goal is to sort of get people to your client’s website, then if you’re capturing the referring URL and you have landing page parameters, you sort of have things tagged, you should be able to capture that touchpoint and sort of set your own conversion window, lookback window where whatever we’re going to call it.
But you should be able to go outside that date range. But I guess I’m curious why, which analytics tool you’re using, and perhaps we can follow up on email. Whoever asked that question, feel free to send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m happy to continue the conversation there. Greg, do you have anything to add on the Facebook question?
– Yeah, I would say that, again, without more context, it’s a little bit challenging to answer but you need to think more broadly about your client’s presence on Facebook as a customer service channel, as a branding and awareness channel, as a customer engagement channel. There are many reasons to be on social media that aren’t directly related to conversions although there are, you know, Facebook just announced today more conversion opportunities on Instagram.
So there’s a lot of customers that can convert directly but there’s a broader set of reasons to be there and that might be an important discussion to have with your client. But again, that’s an abstract answer without knowing more.
– That’s a good point. And that’s something we didn’t go into in detail. But Greg and I have actually discussed quite a bit sort of the walled gardens of Facebook and like Facebook’s ad platform and then Google Ads and Google’s platform and the challenge of sort of attributing anything, like the conversions that happened on that platform, sort of to Greg’s point, things that you may be doing or using that platform for that don’t involve interactions that you can track on your own sort of online assets or with phone calls.
It gets challenging to sort of mix the data types. So I think you’re sort of limited if you’re using Facebook to drive interactions on Facebook to what’s available with Facebook’s reporting. And also, if it’s a phone call, of course, you can use a tracking phone number, specific to Facebook, to track those.
But good question.
– All right. Our second question is for you, Mark. Regarding CallRail’s new product releasing in June, are there any requirements to qualify to use it?
There is an add-on. It’s an add-on feature. So I can send you more information about that specifically but it sounds like you’re probably someone who’d be interested in it. We’ll make sure to get you information. The one thing that…there is a native form builder in the new product that we’re launching in about a month and a few days.
But in addition to the native form builder, which is not nearly as full-featured yet as many of the form builders that we all as agencies, agency marketers, might want to keep using, there is a way like similar to how we’re tracking all the sessions to attribute a phone call that happens during a session to all the behavior that was associated with it. We can do that with third-party form submissions as well depending on the form provider you use but it should work with a majority of the ones that everybody uses.
– Okay, and last question. What is the most optimal way to make sure we get credit as an agency for all gore guard [SP] my business, call as we do local optimization?
– So what’s the most optimal way to ensure…- Google. Google My Business. – [crosstalk] GMB.
– Sorry about that. I was reading live. I did not know. Google My Business.
– Yeah. Maybe I’ll let…Greg, do you want to take this one first? This is sort of in the world of local. I can take a stab at it or you can.
– So the question is, Rachel, just correct me if this is wrong, the question is, how does the…the agency wants to get credit for all the traffic driven by…the actions driven by Google My Business, correct?
– Correct. Yes. What is the most optimal way to make sure we get credit as an agency for Google My Business?
– Yeah, you can track calls, you can track…I mean, GMB has analytics and GA, Google Analytics, are sort of semi…there’s a little bit of overlap, I think, although I’m not a user. But I think they’re semi-independent, mutually exclusive.