Avatar photo Michael Cooney
Oct 22, 2021

Studies from eMarketer revealed that 83% of companies with 100+ employees use some kind of marketing attribution.

Does this mean that attribution is only important for large companies? No, it means large companies have figured out the value of marketing attribution, and you should too. What can you learn from attribution reports?

You can learn exactly how marketing is driving revenue for your business. You can learn which campaigns are worth more than you’re spending on them, and which ones are a waste of money.

In the article below, we’ll cover the following:

1. What is attribution?
2. Different types of attribution models
3. What is the purpose of attribution?
4. How attribution impacts marketing spend
5. What can you learn from attribution reports?
6. Metrics to track in attribution reports
7. Why is correct attribution so important?

WhatConverts provides detailed marketing attribution. This is different from some of the attribution you might find on Google Analytics and Google Ads. Read on for the answer to the question, "what can you learn from attribution reports?"

Sign up here for a free 14-day WhatConverts trial. You can also request a 30-minute live demo, where we’ll answer your questions and show you the best ways to use marketing attribution.

What is attribution?

In the world of marketing, attribution means identifying the marketing channels and web pages that deliver leads. Note that there are different levels of attribution.

At the most basic level, attribution can tell you which marketing channels bring users to your website. More advanced marketing attribution can tell you which marketing channels deliver leads. The most sophisticated marketing attribution can tie a specific lead to a specific marketing channel. It can also reveal every touchpoint the lead interacted with on their way to becoming a customer.

WhatConverts provides this last type of sophisticated marketing attribution.

What are the different types of attribution models?

There are three main ways to give attribution credit to marketing channels for delivering leads.

First-Click Attribution —  Attribution credit goes to the marketing channel that first brings a user to your website.

Example: User first comes to your website from a Google Organic search. They don’t convert then, but two weeks later they return to your site after clicking on a Facebook ad. During this visit, they fill out a form.

Google Organic gets credit for this lead because it was the first marketing channel the lead used to visit your website.

Last-Click Attribution — Attribution credit goes to the marketing channel that brought a user to the website right before they performed a conversion action.

Example: In the same example from above, last-click attribution would give credit to the Facebook Ad. Google Organic first brought the user to the website, but the user didn’t perform a conversion action after the Google Organic visit. It wasn’t until the user clicked on the Facebook Ad that they filled out a form and became a lead.

Multi-channel attribution — Attribution credit is spread across all the marketing channels a lead used before they converted.

Example: Using the same example as before, 50% of credit would go to Google Organic search and 50% of credit would go to Facebook Ads. The lead used two different marketing channels before converting, so the attribution credit is split down the middle.

What is the purpose of attribution?

Attribution tells marketers which channels work. When marketers know which channels work, they can shift future spending towards effective channels and away from ineffective channels.

Attribution reveals which PPC campaigns are driving leads, which keywords are worth targeting in SEO, and which web pages are converting leads at a high rate. No matter what kind of marketing you do, attribution can help you figure out if it’s worthwhile.

When done right, marketing attribution can reveal the exact return-on-investment you’re getting from your marketing budget. A recent Forrester study showed that 37% of businesses waste marketing spend because of bad marketing data. Attribution helps companies forecast future budgets, stop wasteful spending, and streamline the entire marketing strategy.

what can you learn from marketing attribution reports

The direct impact of attribution on marketing spend:

Attribution is the best way to figure out which marketing channels are worthwhile. Detailed attribution data can tie revenue to marketing, allowing you to set budgets and shift spending towards effective channels.

Attribution helps companies optimize PPC spend

Company A spends thousands of dollars on Google Ads each month and wants to know which campaigns and keywords are driving leads. Attribution reveals that half the ads deliver quotable leads, but the other half drive clicks that don’t result in leads.

The marketing team stops running the ineffective ads and doubles down on the effective ads, thereby doubling the number of leads they’re getting from Google Ads.

Better attribution data leads to tangible business benefits. For example, Google Ads switched its attribution model in September of 2021. Now, Google Ads takes uses multi-touch attribution to give different marketing materials credit for conversions. As a result, some Google Ads users have seen an 18% reduction in cost per lead.

marketing attribution report

Attribution helps companies improve SEO

Company B hired an SEO agency to create keyword-rich blogs and landing pages. Attribution reveals that these landing pages are getting a lot of traffic from organic search, but very few quotable leads. The SEO agency now knows to either change the keywords to match the target audience or adjust the landing pages to be more conversion-focused.

Attribution helps companies get value from paid social

Company C runs both Facebook Ads and Twitter Ads. Both ads are receiving a high number of clicks and conversions, but attribution reveals that Facebook Ads drive leads with higher quote value. The company now knows they should shift some marketing spend from Twitter to Facebook.

learn from attribution report

What can you learn from attribution reports?

An attribution report is only as good as the data behind it. The most well-designed reports in the world won’t help your marketing team unless the data tells the full story. WhatConverts attribution reports are built on top of live lead data. Since we can capture every lead that comes in and tie it to a marketing source, our reports tell the full story of what kind of marketing works.

Attribution reports do more than show which marketing channels drive leads. They can also show which landing pages convince website visitors to convert. This helps optimize ads to direct to the most effective landing pages. It’s also useful from an SEO standpoint, as it reveals which pages on your site attract organic traffic that is ready to buy.


An attribution report can also show the complete customer journey for an individual lead. This real-life data reveals how leads go through the buyer journey and which marketing touchpoints impact their decision.

marketing attribution

The best marketing attribution reports reveal which marketing sources deliver real business value to your company. It’s one thing to see which channels deliver visitors to your site; it’s another to see which marketing channels deliver leads, and how much those leads are worth to your business.

Metrics to track in attribution reports

Reporting is only useful if you’re tracking the right metrics. If you choose to only track clicks, impressions and conversions, you can’t be sure how many of those actions resulted in quotable leads. At WhatConverts, we believe three metrics should be in every attribution report:

  • Leads
  • Qualified Leads
  • Lead Value

Most people know that leads fuel sales. It’s a lot harder for people to make the connection between clicks and sales, or impressions and sales. By tracking lead-based metrics, you can tie marketing to revenue.

Why is correct attribution so important?

It’s hard to make marketing decisions when you have inaccurate data. You may pour money into a campaign that looks like it’s working, only to find out later that the data was inaccurate.

Misattribution happens when leads fall through the gaps in your attribution. For example, phone call leads often don’t get attributed to a marketing source because the company doesn’t have call tracking set up.

A phone call lead is an offline conversion, so you can’t track it the same way you would track a chat, transaction or form-fill submission. WhatConverts call tracking ties every phone call back to the marketing source, allowing you to fill in the gaps in your lead data.

Another form of misattribution occurs when unqualified leads slip into your attribution reports. If a solicitor fills out a form on your website or a spammer starts a webchat, you shouldn’t count those as wins for your marketing.

WhatConverts gives you the ability to mark leads as qualified or non-qualified. This ensures your marketing reports only show which channels deliver real leads.

Sign up here for a free 14-day WhatConverts trial. You can also request a 30-minute live demo, where we’ll answer your questions and show you the best ways to use marketing attribution.

Read WhatConverts reviews on G2

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Michael Cooney

Michael Cooney is a co-founder of WhatConverts. Connect with him on Twitter or via email at michael.cooney@whatconverts.com.

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