For the last few years, B2B marketers are spending more and more resources on powerful, advanced and sophisticated MarTech solutions and simultaneously, more time and effort to measure their ROI. So this begs the question: are we properly capturing all the Touchpoints our prospects are experiencing during their journey, and do we understand how to use that information properly to analyze each channel? The strategic decision about the first, last or multi-touch attribution is important but isn’t there something else we might be forgetting…
Tracking Cross-Channel Interactions
The main method we all trust in capturing online interactions is the usage of UTM parameters (params) we always make sure we are appending to links in emails we send, ads, PR’s and any other channel we use to drive users to our website. These UTM params that we pass along with the link URL, help us later to analyze the performance of each channel and give it the right weight in the overall ROI calculation. I like to define a website session that starts with UTM params, or external referrals, as a marketing Touchpoint (by the way, check out this free UTM Builder for Marketo chrome extension I built to help with this tagging mission).
The Missing Parts
Here is one scenario: Say a user clicked on one of my Facebook ads, got to my website and filled out a form. A day after he came again to my website, via a LinkedIn ad this time, and the following week he was there again thanks to a paid search. In both sessions, the user didn’t fill out the form, therefore the touchpoint was never recorded. Who gets the attribution in this case? Only Facebook?! Why? What if the deal closed only a year later?
Transforming Raw Data into Marketing Touchpoint
The problem, in this case, is that we are only capturing the touchpoint data upon a form submission. In the B2C space, it might be enough since in most cases, the optimization and measurement are being done in Google Analytics anyway and what matters there are the big numbers and not the drill-down. In B2B it’s a different story; every touchpoint counts, especially when talking about sales processes that might take months – or even years. Capturing all touchpoints the prospect experiences throughout the user journey and being able to drill down to the small details is essential for full-funnel optimization and not to mention, to simply to understand what works.
Marketo is automatically recording any interaction prospects are having with your online assets (i.e. if they visit a web page, fill out a form, click a link, etc). Meaning you seamlessly already have all the data in Marketo’s lead activity logs. However, the data is not organized by session and in order to dive into it, you will need to manually check each and every log or start querying it using their Activity API. In addition, according to Marketo’s data retention policy, you will only have access to this data for a few months before it disappears forever.
The New Approach
That led me and the team at Overstack.io to develop a Multi-Touch Attribution Engine for Marketo called touchpoints. It seamlessly integrates with your Marketo account and creates a new, custom activity or object called Marketing Touchpoint. Whenever a user visits your website with UTM params or from external referrals, a Touchpoint record will be created in his/her activity log along with all its metadata – source, medium, campaign, term, content, referral, landing page, device, browser, operating system and gclid (AdWords’ ID).
The engine synchronizes all activity every 24 hours to keep a low volume of API requests. There is also a backfill option and ability to access touchpoints from the last few months which are recorded retroactively. The best part: you don’t need to make any changes to your forms, and there’s no special configuration or hidden fields. The tool captures the params from Marketo’s standard pageview activity and copies them into the custom Marketing Touchpoint record.
You can use these Touchpoints to gain a clear view of all the channels the prospect experienced during their journey when filtering Marketo’s activity log to show only certain types of activities. In addition, you can use our Data Extraction Tool to obtain a CSV file of all the Touchpoints recorded in any specific instance (including any other activity type you deem important), and import or integrate it with your BI tools. From my experience, connecting this data with Tableau, PowerBI or Sisense is very powerful and will enable you to gain great visibility regarding your success on each channel.