Multi Touch Attribution

Multi Touch Attribution

In previous blogs, we have discussed the importance of setting KPIs and goals, analyzing results and tracking all of your marketing efforts. But, it’s not that easy as most customers need to see a message several times before making a purchase in today’s multichannel marketing world. So, what medium gets credit for the sale?

Think of it as a soccer game. The player who scores the goal is the one that gets his name in the boxscore. But, if the defense never clears the ball and the midfielders don’t advance it, the goal scorer on the front line never gets the chance to score. To lead the league in scoring, you need to have assists along the way.

Many marketers take the easy way out by using single touch attribution. Usually it means whoever kicks the ball into the net, gets credit for the sale. Final click attribution probably made sense in the early days of the internet. After all, just doing any kind of attribution was better than nothing. Today, however, single touch attribution is likely not sophisticated enough to be the best method for determining where your sales come from. 

Today, sophisticated marketers are using a more holistic approach to the customer buying experience by using multi touch attribution. It is likely that multiple actions are working in connection with one another, and all contribute to a weighted modeling approach to attribution. The question is, what percentage of the sale is attributed to each touch point? Are they all equally important? Or, does the first and last touch point deserve greater consideration?

Let’s take a look at some of the most common attribution methods being used.

  • First Touch — The initial message received gets 100% of the credit for the sale.
  • Final Touch — The final message that usually results in a tap through gets 100% of the credit for the conversion.
  • Linear — All touch points get equal credit along the buying journey.
  • U Shape Model — In the U shape model, more credit is given to the first and last touchpoint and those in between get assigned the remainder. This attribution is also called “position-based attribution” or “multi-channel attribution.” Often, the first and last touchpoints get 40% each and those contacts in the middle split the remaining 20%.
  • Time Decay — In this method, the most recent touchpoints get the most credit and the earlier touch points get a declining share of the attribution credit.
  • Custom Modeling — Is watching a 30 second video of your product more valuable to the penultimate sale than seeing a banner ad? 
  • Cost Modeling — You pay different CPM rates for different types of advertising. In this method, those costs are assigned to an overall percentage of the sale. The more expensive the marketing, the greater percentage that touchpoint receives.

One of the messages that has been prevalent for the Purplegator team is the ability to monitor and gauge results. There’s no official right or wrong way to measure this as the various attribution models concur. The savvy marketer just has to pick the one that makes the most sense for his or her unique situation.

Digital & Data Driven Marketing

Digital & Data Driven Marketing

Mobile’s uncanny ability to target just the right person is dependent on the marketer’s ability to maximize its available data. A major advantage of mobile and digital advertising is that we know so much about the consumer. While that may seem frightening to some people, as a marketer, it’s why mobile advertising works so darn well.

Let’s take a look at the type of data that mobile marketers use when targeting its audience that is most likely to buy:

First Party Data

First party data is your own data. It is usually acquired from the CRM of the business. First party data is the most valuable targeting data that you have to work with, because you can be sure of its quality and it is unique to only your business. Therefore, your competitors don’t have access to it. First party data includes not only your customer and prospect list, but also a list of behaviors, actions and interests acquired from website visits and other marketing activities such as surveys, customer feedback, in-store purchases, email marketing lists and social media data.

Once you know the actions of the consumers that are your best customers, you can take that information and purchase “lookalike” audiences from third party data companies in an attempt to expand your market. The theory behind lookalike audiences is that if your data works with your own market, then it should work with a market with similar characteristics.

Second Party Data

Second party data is data that you acquire from other companies so it’s essentially the first party data of the other company. Such data is usually purchased or bartered. 

Now, the obvious question is why would the competitor of your company sell you its data? Well, it probably won’t if you are direct competitors. But, consider this scenario: your business is a cosmetics company that provides products solely to the female market. You are introducing a new beard grooming product for men, but you don’t have any first party data available. Hence, you might reach out to a company or publisher that isn’t in the beard grooming business but does have the first party data that may help you.

Third Party Data

Many ad networks have third-party data providers baked into their offerings so as an advertiser, you don’t have to do anything to purchase their data individually. In some cases, however, a larger business or agency may purchase them directly. Some of the most important data providers include: Acxiom, Lotame, Nielsen, Oracle, Exelate, Blue Kai, Data Alliance and Data Logix.

The third party data companies are not necessarily accumulating their own data, but they are usually purchasing it from other companies. Third party data providers have the unique advantage of being able to accumulate information from multiple sources and merging it into one much larger database. The biggest advantage of third-party data is therefore its scale.

Geo Conquesting — Mobile’s Most Powerful Targeting Tactic

Geo Conquesting

Facebook and Google have done a great job of simplifying their platforms so that the average person with limited marketing knowledge can set up and monitor their own mobile and digital advertising campaigns. People with greater experience or an agency, who do this kind of work every day, can probably do it better. But, the fact is that the tools exist and it is fairly easy to set up for anybody with minimal marketing knowledge. 

Geo conquesting, however, is a different story. With geo conquesting, an advertiser can use mobile device detection down to the address level. It’s the sexiest thing available in mobile advertising today and it’s why many brands invest in mobile advertising.

Imagine that your business is a retail store. With geo conquesting, your business can do a “lookback” to find mobile devices that have been at a specific location over the past six months (during the pandemic this has been extended to 12 months). Geo conquesting enables your business to capture mobile devices that have been at your store location since your best customers are your existing ones. Moreover, and what advertisers find most exciting, is that geo conquesting enables you to capture devices that have been at your competitors’ locations. This creates an invaluable database of prime prospects that your business can target with mobile advertising. 

Another way to use geo conquesting is to obtain real time data, as opposed to using a lookback to find mobile devices that were at a specific location. We call this “micro-proximity.” With micro-proximity, a marketer can find mobile devices at a trade show and target delegates to visit your trade show booth. You could target football fans at a stadium and serve them a mobile advertisement to come to your club or restaurant after the game. Imagine the possibilities and how you might use geo conquesting in your marketing plan.

How is this data obtained? Cell towers have the ability to provide a seven mile triangulation reach from the location of the tower. If you are driving to a destination that is greater than a seven mile distance, chances are that you are pinging different cell towers along the way. These cell towers are keeping track of your mobile phone’s geographic position via latitude and longitude. This data is then stored and sold to agencies for targeting details.

The more popular method of knowing a mobile phone’s location, however, is gained from apps that are on a consumer’s mobile phone. A few years ago, for instance, when the iPhone hadn’t yet installed a flashlight on the device, people often downloaded a flashlight app. It was a very functional app and there were many of them in the app stores. 

You may have wondered “why would somebody take the time to create a flashlight app that is free to the user?” The flashlight app isn’t advertiser supported and there is no visible or obviou method of monetizing it. Well, the answer is quite simple: in the terms and conditions (which you probably didn’t read), you gave permission for the flashlight app to gather data from your smartphone. That data includes geolocation information that is then sold to mobile advertising platforms and agencies. 

Today, you may not have a flashlight app on your phone, but you probably have a navigation app such as WAZE or you have a weather app such as Accuweather. With these apps, you have to give them permission to access your location; otherwise, they wouldn’t be very beneficial to you. This is another way that geolocation data is accumulated. 

Of course, at the end of the day, business owners want to know that their mobile advertising has worked. With geo conquesting, we have that covered with “foot traffic reports.” Just as we can find mobile devices at a specific location, we can also find them later at your retail location. Hence, geo conquesting enables a business to identify those people that were served an advertisement and then showed up later at their retail location. How’s that for validation?

Still not sure of the definitions of the various geo targeting techniques? Read this article that describes each of them and gives examples of how a sushi restaurant used each to target its best customers via mobile advertising.

Mobile SEO

Mobile SEO

Most digital marketing professionals have heard of Google’s E-A-T: Expertise, Authority, Trust. If you want to improve your search engine rankings, boosting your EAT is crucial. Bob Bentz, President of Purplegator has a great analysis of the E-A-T theory:


Be an expert in what you love to do. The number one reason that consumers turn to Google or any of its competitors is that they have a problem to solve. Therefore, a site must show that it has expertise in your subject matter. Providing in-depth information is the way to make this happen. See why it’s so hard to rank higher than Web MD or Wikipedia?


 Potential customers need to know that they are at a website that is giving them the right information. This is why it is so important to have positive reviews from third party sites that link back to your website. It’s why Google My Business is so important to your business.


Trust is hard to gain, but easy to lose quickly. Consumers shy away from sites that are overly salesy or use linkbait. Become the recognized trusted source and the business will naturally come.

Now, here are some tips on how to optimize your mobile website for search engine optimization. 

Search Intent 

Effective search engine optimization is more than just choosing keywords. A huge part is understanding search intent. Some keywords can actually mean something unrelated to your business. Take the term “mobile marketing,” for example. In earlier days, the term actually meant the large mobile advertisements that drive up and down the Las Vegas Strip! Paying for a pay per click visitor for that product would not be beneficial to you.

There are four types of intent when it comes to search. Winning those keywords that are at the buying stage will be the most valuable to your business.

  • Navigational Intent — In this case, consumers are looking for something specific, but have no idea of where to find it.
  • Informational Intent — Consumers are looking for an answer to a problem.
  • Commercial Intent — Doing research in the final stages of the buying process.
  • Transactional Intent — At this point, consumers know what they want, and they are just looking for the best place to make the purchase.
How to Get Started with Mobile Marketing

How to Get Started with Mobile Marketing


Purplegator’s Bob Bentz was a recent guest talking mobile marketing on the Marketing Communications Today podcast from the Integrated Marketing Communications program at West Virginia University.

Where Should a Business Owner Start with MOBILE Marketing?

Sometimes you fall into good things more by luck than by skill.  Such was the case with my own experience with mobile marketing.  I first learned about mobile marketing when I was at our London office back in 2001 and I noticed when cell phones rang in the underground, they did so with Spice Girls ringtones.  Ringtones were not yet popular in the USA so when I returned back home, we got started in supplying customized ringtones for American phones.  That’s how I got my start in mobile.

There’s a tsunami of traffic moving from desktops to mobiles, so the first place a business should start with mobile marketing is with its own website.  Your website is your best salesperson.  It’s your quarterback.  It’s your starting pitcher.  And, the experience provided on your mobile website needs to be equally engaging as that of your desktop computer.

A decade ago, when mobile access to the internet was less than 15%, we created m-dot websites.  These were scaled down versions of a desktop website designed exclusively for the mobile phone.  Today, however, 57% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices.  That’s 68% more than just 18 months ago.  So, most businesses use responsive design to provide a great experience for both desktop and mobile users.

Purplegator is a mobile-first digital agency, meaning we develop websites for the mobile phone first and then desktop second.  Most web developers do it the other way around.  But, since the trend is clearly moving more and more to mobile every year, why not make the user experience best on mobile and then worry about desktop?

In my book Relevance Raises Response, we talk about using the “thumb test.”  Try navigating your website with only your thumbs.  If it’s easy to do, you have a good mobile user experience.

Text Message Marketing – The Next Best Choice

Sometimes the least sexy aspect of something makes the most sense.  Text message marketing is cheap and provides the single best ROI that you’ll likely experience with mobile marketing.  SMS marketing is the workhorse of mobile marketing.

Text message marketing is opt-in marketing, as opposed to opt-out marketing that is customary with email marketing.  What this means is that you must have permission to send a text message to a customer or prospect.  This is where many short-sighted business persons bow out, because creating a database of opt-ins seems like a daunting task.  But, it’s the opt-in element of text message marketing that makes it so darn effective, because customers have said that they WANT to receive your promotional messages!  How often does that happen?

The average office worker receives 140 emails per day, of which 49% are spam.  Text message marketing doesn’t have the same spam problem as email, because of the strict regulations that have been put in place to protect consumers.  Add to that a 97% open rate and it is apparent why text message marketing works so amazingly well.

Most people think of text message marketing as only B to C, but it works for B to B marketing as well.  Try sending your B to B text messages just three minutes before the top of the hour.  Why?  That’s when busy executives are checking their phones while waiting for their next meeting to start.  Send it at this time and they’ll have more time to read it and engage with it.

Social Media Marketing: Which Sites Should You Use?

Which social media sites your business should use really depends on your customer’s preferences.  Every social media network is different.  A business needs to select the proper image and strategy for each, because acting the part is half the battle.

Facebook remains the gorilla in the room when it comes to social media marketing.  It’s especially effective on mobile, because your advertisement takes up 100% of the screen in the News Feed.  Moreover, it’s native and most of the advertisements you see will likely be of interest to you.  People are used to buying on Facebook so direct response advertising works well.

On Facebook-owned Instagram, the image is everything.  Use aspirational imagery to maximize engagement.  Pinterest works best for fashion and female skewing products.  Teens and Gen Y love Snapchat.  Twitter is the most timely social media network.  Interested in B to B?  LinkedIn is your best choice.

Small businesses with limited resources shouldn’t try to do too many social media networks.  Work with the one(s) that you are most comfortable with and will have the greatest impact for your business.

Even if you don’t plan on using all of the major social media networks, however, try to reserve your company or brand name on all of them.  That way you’ll have them when you need them and won’t have to pay a king’s ransom down the road.

The Fastest Growing Advertising Medium

There’s never been an advertising medium quite like mobile that effectively enables a brand to target the right consumers in the right place, at the right mobile moment.

Effective targeting is what really makes mobile stand out from traditional advertising.  Take Facebook for example.  Facebook knows so much about you.  You gave it a lot of personal demographic information when you started your account.  And, it not only knows that information, but it tracks what you do on it: what you like and what you post.  Moreover, when you go to external sites, there’s that ubiquitous Facebook share button that is tracking your visit again.

A restaurant or small business likely only has a trading area of a few miles or a few zip codes so how can it possible advertise on traditional media in a large city?  With geo-targeting, a business can just serve ads to its own immediate trading area.  No Waste!  Add in interest third party data and your advertising won’t go to the masses, but only to your best targets.

Target People, Not Places.

Want to know what Facebook knows about you?  Go into your newsfeed and click on the three dots in the upper right.  Then, click “Why am I seeing this?” and then “Manage your ad preferences.”  You’ll now see what Facebook knows about you!  Some consumers think its scary, but as a marketer, you should love it!

Relevance Raises Response

If you are interested in learning more about mobile marketing, and you don’t want to take my graduate level class at the University of Denver, please consider purchasing my book Relevance Raises Response: How to Engage and Acquire with Mobile Marketing.  It’s available at Amazon, at my book website, many retail bookstores, and at many fine online book retailers.