on August 11, 2020 (last modified on November 23, 2021) • 17 minute read
Ever find yourself in the position where you know marketing attribution is important, but you’re just not sure how to track it effectively? Or which tools to use?
Let’s admit it: marketing tools are a dime a dozen. And,
honestly, all the options can leave you paralyzed – which tool is the best?
To ease things for you, we’ve put together this list of marketing attribution tools. Each of these comes from an expert using it for their company or clients.
So, without further delay, let’s dig in.
Here’s what you’ll learn today:
Marketing attribution or multi-touch attribution is a way to
learn the ROI of the marketing channels you are using to get potential customers.
Put another way, marketing attribution tells you how a customer discovered your
product or service.
Think of it as an insight scoop into your customers’ buyer’s journey to understand what’s working and what’s not. You learn of the “value of each customer touchpoint that leads to a conversion,” notes Marcus Berkovitz of Adrack.
The goal here is simple: “figure out which marketing
channels/campaigns must be credited with the conversion, helping to attract new
customers more effectively.” This way, you can replicate what’s working and
improve your conversions.
A marketing attribution model shows you the touchpoints of
channels your prospects come across before buying from you. This helps you understand
the key points that are encouraging conversions.
Six models can help:
This model also goes with the name of first-click model and
it highlights the first touchpoint for customer conversion.
Let’s say, your prospect saw your ad, then came across one
of your pins on Pinterest. They then went on to your website to place an order.
Although there are multiple touchpoints here, this model gives credit to your ad
– the first touchpoint.
The last touch or last-click attribution model gives credit to the last touchpoint or channel your prospect interacted with before converting.
Let’s say, your prospect saw one of your tweets about a
product, then saw an ad of the same product. They finally went to your site to
purchase it directly. So, in this case, the attribution goes to the website
traffic, the last touchpoint.
This model, again, credits a single interaction. But this
interaction isn’t a direct one such as someone directly visiting your page.
Instead, the onus goes to how your customer learned about your company and
which touchpoint prompted them to click.
The linear attribution model highlights all the touchpoints
your customer has in their buyer’s journey before converting. If you look at
the examples above – you’ll see that each has 3 touchpoints in a linear
marketing attribution model.
The time-decay model works in the same way as the linear model – crediting all the touchpoints a customer comes across before buying from you. The only difference is that the model outlines when the touchpoint occurs.
So, in this case, the interactions closer to the purchase
are given more value as compared with a touchpoint that occurs first in the
The position-based marketing model gives half the credit to
a prospect’s first interaction with your business and half to the interactions
before converting. This split credit gives the position-based model the
‘U-shaped attribution’ name.
Question now is: how do you learn what’s working and what
needs replicating? Enter: marketing attribution tools.
These “attribution tools help any business owner in determining the success of their ad campaigns and other digital assets. These tools come in between the marketing tools/software and company website or other endpoints,” according to Srish Agrawalof A1 Future Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
So, let’s walk you through the best of these tools next.
Now that you know what marketing attribution is and what its
models are, let’s dive into the best marketing attribution tools.
We’ve put together this list based on the tools experts use
themselves. Here are the marketing attribution tools they recommend:
1. WickedReports 2. Ruler Analytics 3. Funnel 4. Addinton 5. Adobe Analytics 6. HubSpot 7. Neustar 8. Google Analytics 9. Google Analytics’ Model Comparison Tool 10. Google Attribution 11. Pardot 12. Woopra 13. Altitude 14. Databox
Major Impact Media’s Brice Gump shares, “WickedReports has proven to be a super valuable tool at our agency to take click data from Facebook and Google, sales data from your merchant processors and match that with emails from your CRM.”
The tool “gives you real customer lifetime value that you
can track over years.” Of course, “you could do this with Google Analytics and
Google Tag Manager but you need to be an absolute ninja with those tools. Or
you can just sign up with WickedReports and they will handle it for you.”
Another useful marketing attribution tool is Ruler Analytics. “This software is a versatile multi-touch attribution tool, meaning that it has the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of each of our advertising touchpoints,” explains Lauren Gast of Truck Driving Institute.
Gast shares, “For instance, if a particular
customer ignores a digital ad on Google but visits your site after seeing an
Instagram campaign, Ruler Analytics will be able to show you that kind of data.
A good SEO campaign should be continually
refined based on what digital experiences your customers are most likely to
respond to in terms of click-through rates, dwell time, and — ultimately —
sales. With Ruler Analytics, the process
of figuring out exactly which of your marketing efforts are most effectively
attracting customers becomes easier than ever before.”
SEO Moz’s George Oak agrees, “the best marketing attribution tool on which our company relies is Ruler because a lead can come from anywhere and Ruler gives you a wealth of insight into your marketing ROI.
It keeps eye on how you are getting the lead
if it is by call, paid media or social media because I have seen in many cases
leads are generated due to social media or by a call because it mostly
influences the people thoughts of a product and if you know the source from
which you are getting traffic then you can easily double your leads.”
“It helps you to tie all of your marketing
efforts directly to revenue. The best things is that it integrates major
services like Facebook and Google Analytics. It has 24 hours support,” Oak
“Funnel works perfect for data collection turning marketing and advertising data into automated reports and helping us to make smart decisions concerning our budgets and targeting,” shares Marcus Berkovitz of Adrack.
Berkovitz also shares, “thanks to the Funnel
we are able to import the data into the regular/traditional tools like Google
Greenback Expat Tax Services’ Carrie McKeegan is of the same opinion: “Funnel provides data that any company can easily plan their marketing strategies around, allowing you to spend time on other endeavors, rather than on gathering data.”
This is another one of the best marketing attribution tools that our expert respondents recommend. Adrack’s Marcus Berkovitz explains Addinton helps them track “marketing spend, clicks, and conversions, and then reports back on how effective each channel was with information on whether you under or over-invested in various channels.”
The WikiLawn team also uses the same tool. Dan Bailey from their team notes: “We use Adinton as a complete marketing tool. Mainly to track our spends and conversions, as well as tracking the efficacy of our campaigns and the attribution. The automation options are especially nice, since we can set up what we need and it will run in the background to be analyzed by our marketing professionals once data is compiled.
With this tool we’re able to see which campaigns are actually referring traffic and how much exposure it takes for a prospect to convert. This is a helpful metric for us and one we place a lot of value in because we primarily use sales funnels and drip marketing to advertise to our customers.”
JCT Growth’s Jesse Teske shares, “the best tool I’ve used for attribution is Adobe Analytics. With a custom solution, we’re able to assign position based revenue to organic landing pages. This helped us identify the true value of inspirational content and the impact on the bottom-line. Armed with this data, we were able to outline a plan and secure additional budget to ramp up our content efforts with a clear ROI defined.”
Marcus Berkovitz also praises Adobe Analytics as a tool that “helps to determine the effectiveness of marketing and shows exactly how your customers are purchase-ready.”
Jacob Lundy from Leighton Interactive appreciates HubSpot as one of the best marketing attribution tools. Lundy shares, “HubSpot provides our team with an in-depth look at what a person does at any given stage of the buyer’s journey. Through this tool, we can know how to help funnel them through with lifecycle stages. This can be in the form of SMART content that is dynamic.
Example: Person A signs up for your blog.
Their next step? Likely a top-of-funnel (TOF) offer. That’s what they should
see when a call-to-action (CTA) pops up for them. The attribution? Create a
report in HubSpot that shows that Person A signed up for the blog and clicked
the SMART CTA that shows the offer.
Then check if they downloaded the offer. If
they did, then boom, you have marketing attribution showing that this
conversion funnel path worked for the user.”
MakeWebBetter’s Vidushi Dwivedi also votes for HubSpot. “We love HubSpot because this one tool is a central hub for our company, now, we don’t have to remember dozens of passwords of separate accounts, with HubSpot Third-party integrations.
It not only simplifies our marketing efforts,
but also provides an easy way to generate leads, nurture them, track visitors,
and communicate them at the right time in the sales funnel.”
Anthony Taylor from Mean Joe Advertising adds further “this tool allows us to properly attribute and track leads from their initial visit, form fill, sale, and reoccurring revenue with relatively little ongoing maintenance.”
Rich Pusateri from Postal.io also shares how they use the same tool: “We use HubSpot every day to distribute our content and automate workflows to ensure we engage with our prospects, leads, and customers on a personal level. When it comes to attribution, all of their tools provide consistent reporting that all feeds back into the main dashboards.
We can see where a lead came in from down to
what they clicked on. By being able to track this, we’ve also been to optimize
workflows based on click patterns. We’ve been continually optimizing our blog
posts and lead capturing forms in a similar method.
As a start-up in the growth stage, we are
learning new things every day. HubSpot helps us tighten this curve with their
web analytics dashboard, so we can see how our decisions impact website
traffic. And most importantly, are the visitors even booking meetings with our sales
Related: The 40 Best HubSpot Integrations (According to 79 Marketers)
Mailbird’s Andrea Loubier adds another tool to this list. “Neustar makes monitoring both online and offline campaigns simple – all in one place and on one platform. It can help you stay within your set budget, but still optimize your campaigns and view the most optimal opportunities.”
Several of our experts applaud Google Analytics as the best marketing attribution tool. In fact, Qyn Bayley-Hay from Arcane Digital calls it an “all-in-one tool for digital marketing attribution.”
Here’s why: “Free solutions often lack depth, however, the deep configuration options and ubiquitous use of Google’s advertising solutions make Analytics a complete solution for our clients’ needs.
The ability to consistently track multiple
digital channels’ contribution to the customer purchase path provides valuable
insight into which channels are performing, where to invest resources in
developing content, and where to focus optimization time.”
If you want to discover how visitors engage with your website, and which content drives the most engagement and conversions, there are several on-page events and metrics you can track from Google Analytics that will get you started:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template showing the most important KPIs for monitoring visitor engagement on your website. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your Google Analytics account with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
AdQuick’s Chris Gadek echoes the same sentiment: “Google Analytics can provide in-depth marketing assistance by allowing you to see the demographics and other pertinent information related to your site visitors. By understanding who visits your site, from where, for how long and to which pages, you can better devise your next marketing strategy.”
It is also a good marketing tool for understanding your audience. Einsstark’s Deepak Kumar says they use Google Analytics to “understand what our audience likes, their demographics, session time on our website, plus all 50+ data points. Since most of our audience speak another tongue, with the help of GA we were able to translate our site which helped us expand our reach to more people.”
Live Help Now‘s team also uses Google Analytics. Natalya Bucuy explains, “the tool gives us great insights on:
just to name a few features.”
This helps their team “clearly identify what
works best and what does not. The
results are delivered quickly and efficiently, are easy to read and understand,
and give us the flexibility to see them whenever we need them.”
Related: How to Measure Blog Attribution Using Google Analytics
Your Marketing People’s Lane Burns adds you can use Google Analytics to “track last-click attribution” as well. “This way so you will be certain the cost and revenue data matches with your internal data (like Shopify).
It’s reliable and easy to track with very
little overlap between channels which is why Google Analytics is a very
reliable source when tracking last click.
We also use Google Ads for tracking
attribution so we can see on a granular level which campaigns are driving
conversions. Something we do to compare is use Google Analytics conversion path
so we can see if paid search drove the initial conversion and where the last
click was captured.”
With all this data, the tool “gives you a direct window into what your audience is thinking – which allows you to update your site and strategy to be more impactful and successful,” points out The Loop Marketing’s Ashley Sterling.
Not to forget, Google Analytics is “clear and easy to use, but best of all its free,” notes Abel Hegyes of eBacon. Also, “the benefit of Google Analytics is that it has access to cross-channel data, and integrates with Google’s paid channels to capture our full funnel,” shares Bruce Hogan from SoftwarePundit.
“In addition, it comes with a data-driven attribution model that uses actual data from our Analytics account to generate a custom model for assigning conversion credit to marketing touchpoints throughout the entire customer journey,” Hogan elaborates.
Summarizing, PureVPN’s Rameez Ghayas Usmani says, “It is the simplest and handy tool not just for tracking the performance indicators but also tracking different metrics concerning how visitors or users interact with the brand.”
Pelicoin’s Karlee Tate specifically points out “Google Analytics’ Model Comparison Tool under their Conversions reports” as “a significant tool I use for marketing attribution.”
Tate explains, “the tool allows you to compare
the three different attribution models, First Interaction, Linear, Last
Non-Direct Click, to see how each channel contributes to various stages of your
marketing efforts. While you can select up to three channels to compare, you
can view one channel at a time, as well.
attribution channels can be customized to more effectively align with your
advertising goals and business models. With the
help of the Model Comparison Tool, you can simply track your conversion
insights within each channel and test your assumptions of your campaign
spending through experimenting and observing your results thereafter.”
Related: Google Analytics Goals: 75 Marketers On How to Set & Use Goals in ‘GA’
GadgetReview’s Rex Freiberger shares Google Attribution as their go-to marketing attribution tool. “Because we often advertise through Google, we use Google Attribution 360 as our marketing attribution tool of choice.”
Freiberger explains, “it basically puts everything in one place for us. We use it combined with AdWords to check how effective our ads are.” However, Freiberger cautions, “I really only trust it when looking at the efficacy of Google campaigns. I don’t know that they would provide unbiased data about competitors.”
Carol Tran speaks in favor of Pardot as another useful marketing attribution tool. “By far, the best marketing attribution tool for me is Pardot.”
Here’s why: “I consider it to be the growth hub and it plays really well with other tools I used to help understand the company’s growth in every angle (marketing, sales, product, engineer, customer success, etc.). By having Amplitude, an analytic tool, plug into Pardot, it helps companies further understand user behavior in order to improve customer retention and drive growth.”
What’s more, Larry Ludwig from Ludwig Media, Inc. praises Woopra as the “hands down” best marketing attribution tool. “You can not only use for conversion attribution but can use it for post-sale (i.e. customer retention). It’s perhaps the most flexible analytic tool on the market.”
Srish Agrawal of A1 Future Technologies Pvt. Ltd. calls Altitude the “winning choice” as the “tool provides deep insights into customer behaviors (mapping their path to purchase).”
“Altitude also offers a wide array of
customizations for reporting and attribution modeling. They have exceptional
internal analytics suites that offer a choice of rules-based on machine
Also, if needed, you may work with your own ruleset. This marketing attribution tool yields great insights on determining the specific acquisition channel instrumental in your conversions,” Agrawal continues.
Last on this list is Databox as suggested by Shantelle P. Dedickeed of Frances Roy Agency.
“Since our launch, we’ve used Databox as our
primary marketing attribution tool. A saying around our agency is ‘data or it
didn’t happen’ and it is imperative we back that up with action. Customized
dashboards ensure our clients receive performance data at a moment’s notice
without compromising aesthetics.”
Here’s hoping you have a clear picture of which marketing attribution tool is best for you. Remember, “choosing the ideal Marketing Attribution tool is paramount,” Srish Agrawal advises. “If you are looking at the wrong tools, the data produced can be faulty.”
So, “to fully leverage the power of attribution, pick the right tool that helps you supercharge your marketing efforts, and optimize the marketing budget.”
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