Attribution and Communications: Here’s What You Need to Know

An image of tipping dominos to illustrate the concept of attribution and communications.

The Paine of Measurement, May 2022

Next to COVID and Ukraine, the most frequent word I’ve been hearing of late is “attribution.” As in, “How can I show my attribution for ___  (fill in the blank: earned media? owned media? anything I do?).”

The fact is that opportunities to show how a press release generated a story which in turn resulted in a sale are few and far between. Nevertheless, the expectation that you can somehow directly attribute the activities of an earned media department to sales persists.

Granted, there’s a million ways a well-placed well-timed story might be the spark that starts a customer journey. The good news is that GA4—Google’s new version of Google Analytics—is designed to allow you to customize the attribution model according to your goals. Which is one reason we think you should be hopping on the GA4 bandwagon tomorrow. Read “Why PR and Comms People Need to Get On Board with GA4 and Measurement Now!

——Measurement Base Camp Summer 2022 covers the powerful new features of GA4 for measurement. Register now!——

Nonetheless, between that first spark and final sale are a million other factors. As Michael Ziviani pointed out at last year’s Measurement Summit, the traditional marketing funnel is now a sieve. Customers are easily diverted from their “journey” by anything from a bad user experience on your website, to a comment on Nextdoor, to being on the wrong side of a political issue. So, of course, the size of the holes in your marketing sieve may well be determined by communications. Which is yet another reason why attribution is getting so much attention these days.

In fact, the very word “attribution” has taken on new meanings of late, so we’ve attempted to sort out the various definitions. Read “The No-Bullsh*t Guide to Attribution and PR Measurement.”

For some how-to help, we provide a few tips and techniques to show attribution in your own programs, customized to your goals of course. And a few alternatives to try the next time the attribution issue emerges. Read “5 Ways to Show Attribution (aka Contribution to the Bottom Line).”

Don’t miss Greg Jarboe’s exciting case study “How to Attribute Economic Results to Press Releases.”

As always, we include:

Measure on,

Thanks for the photo up top to Bradyn Trollip on Unsplash.

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