Glossary
Mobile App Terminology

Web attribution


What is web attribution?

Web attribution refers to the process of identifying and crediting each online interaction that a user takes in their customer journey towards a conversion.

The vast majority of online conversions, regardless if they are making a purchase, signing up for an email list, or installing an app, involve many steps from start to finish … in fact, more than we can easily diagram. Furthermore, this fragmented customer journey often involves multiple browsers on various devices from desktop to tablets to smartphones.

Web attribution works by measuring data points related to a user’s online activity and connecting them to a subsequent conversion event. In order to track an online customer journey, web attribution and supporting technologies have evolved to attribute web events with various marketing channels (such as paid media, organic search, email, etc.). Singular combines, web attribution with mobile attribution in order to provide a holistic solution to advertisers who are seeking to understand and optimize their purchase funnels.

Uses of web attribution

When it comes to marketing, measuring activity in each channel, medium, and device is crucial to optimizing campaign performance and maximizing ROI. To accomplish this, web attribution providers focus on two main goals:

  • Understanding where a customer or app user is coming from
  • Measuring a customer’s actions and subsequent conversions from their initial visit

The first goal of identifying where a customer is coming from is relatively simple and is largely considered a solved problem. The second goal, however, is much more difficult given the aforementioned attribution challenges related to multiple browsers, devices, and so on. Cross-platform attribution is not simple!

To solve this, a few of the most common web attribution techniques include:

  • Cookie-based attribution: This refers to storing a persistent cookie from a user’s initial visit throughout their customer journey. After an initial visit the attribution provider generates and stores a unique cookie in the browser. If the user returns to the site, the attribution provider is able to look up this temporary identifier and attribute any subsequent conversion events to the user. Of course, if the person switches devices, this requires combining with other technologies.
  • Attribution links: Web attribution can also be accomplished through deep linking, which works by sending special links to people that go directly to specific web pages — or a specific screen in an app — and measure any associated actions. A key use case of attribution links are, of course, analyzing the performance of a specific campaign, channel, or user experience.
  • An additional identifier, such as email address: Because people switch channels, apps, or even devices during customer journeys, building early value into them signing into or subscribing to your service can be valuable. Then you have a unique identifier like an email address to connect separate fragments of their paths.
  • UTM parameters: In addition to dedicated attribution links, UTM or URL parameters can be attached at any existing link to collect data such as the source and medium. HootSuite defines UTM parameters as “pre-defined text codes added to a URL to track important data about website visitors and traffic sources”. For example, a UTM parameter measures everything that comes after the “?” in this link:

https://example.com/?
utm_source=facebook&
utm_medium=paid&
utm_campaign=fb_ads&
utm_term=content

Regardless of the web attribution techniques used, the goal for businesses is to provide as much data and context about customer journeys and their associated conversion events. This provides marketers with key information to optimize existing campaigns and scale budgets accordingly.

How Singular uses web attribution

Singular helps customers perform attribution on the web by providing an SDK that uses a JavaScript tag. With this technique, customers can connect with customers by their browser,determining if they’re first-time visitors or returning visitors to a site. If a person is a returning visitor, Singular is able to use this tag and attribute it to a web campaign.

Keep in mind this JavaScript-based web attribution technique is not cookie-based and instead uses localStorage. W3Schools highlights a few of the key differences between localStorage and cookies, including:

  • The localStorage object stores data with no expiration date, which means the data will not be deleted when the browser is closed and is available for the next day, week, or year.
  • The storage limit is much larger than cookies (at least 5MB)
  • Unlike cookies, information is never transferred to the server with localStorage

In addition to this JavaScript-based technique, the Singular Website SDK and attribution is available as a Google Tag Manager Template.

Singular also supports web attribution for re-engagement or retargeting campaigns. In particular, Singular generates a new session and session ID in the following situations:

  • The user has been inactive for 30 minutes or more
  • The user visits the site with new campaign parameters
  • The user visits the site after being referred by a different site

In summary, the Singular Website SDK allows you to to attribute a website activity with a specific marketing campaign and track user events and conversions. Since a typical customer journey involves multiple devices, Singular’s cross-device attribution helps marketers optimize and scale campaigns with accurate performance metrics. As MartechToday highlights about SIngular’s cross-platform and web attribution technology:

Its new capability offers a unique granularity and scale for cross-channel ROI, because of the scope of its data collection for campaign actions, sales results online and offline, and marketing spend, and because its attribution is almost entirely deterministic.

Ultimately, web attribution provides marketers deeper insight into the cross-platform ROAS and LTV of each customer.

Related Terms

Related Terms

Stay up to date on the latest happenings in digital marketing