Decoding Attribution


Your prospect’s journey is anything but linear. From Google searches to social media scrolls, a full spectrum of micro-moments now define how your prospect comes to take action on your property. We know these touchpoints are important, but are they all equally so?

How can we tell which elements of property campaigns have the most impact on the prospect journey?

The answer: attribution.

Attribution Defined

According to Google, attribution is “the rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths.” In other words, getting your lead in the door is a team effort — and every member of your group shares equal credit for their contribution.

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Right now, if you were to open your property’s Google Analytics and look at conversions, you’d find the default attribution model is “Last-Interaction”. Last-Interaction is exactly what it sounds like — the source of the last touchpoint with your prospect. For example:

  1. Prospect (Justin) takes a tour of your community

  2. Leasing agent (Kathy) sends follow-up email with a link to your community’s online application

  3. Justin opens the email, clicks the link, and submits online application

  4. Google Analytics attributes the conversion to the email Kathy sent

What’s missing from this picture? Every single touchpoint outside of that email that may have driven Justin to apply.

Prior to applying, it’s possible (and incredibly likely) that Justin did several Google searches of your property, browsed the Instagram profile, visited your website, and later received an ad (while browsing the web) with your latest move-in special. Without proper attribution, you’re missing those moments that Justin interacted with your community. And most importantly, it’s difficult to tell exactly what micro-moments ultimately influenced his decision to take action.

With Google, there are seven attribution models designed to help you see the prospect journey with clarity. We recommend these two:

Linear Attribution

This one is our favorite — and here’s why. Linear attribution pulls together all touchpoints within a given timeframe and gives them credit. Whether you look at one week or 60 days, linear attribution creates a clear picture of the touchpoints along the prospect journey that ultimately led to conversion.

In our example above with Justin, Instagram, Google search, the online ad, and email from Kathy would all receive an equal share (25%) of credit for the conversion.

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Time Decay

If you’re concerned about what touchpoints or micro-moments have the most impact on conversions, time decay is worth exploring. Like linear attribution, this model shows all touchpoints involved. Where time decay differs is how the touchpoints are weighted — giving more credit to those that happened closer to the actual conversion.

Time decay is helpful in identifying what touchpoints are most influential with your prospects. It’s also useful for showing touchpoints that don’t directly lead to an application or lease, but are important in the prospect journey. Time decay can help you discover that the third email in a month drives more applications than the first two. It can also help you see that a search in March led the prospect to click an ad in April and immediately apply.

In this example, the April ad and third email would receive more credit for the conversion than the earlier Instagram and Google searches. With this information, you can develop campaigns to deliver the right message, on the right platform, at the right time.

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The Big Picture

Whether you prefer to examine linear attribution or time decay, the bigger picture behind your customer journey is important for sales, marketing strategies, and nationwide initiatives. With data on your side, you’ll see trends in how your demographic responds to advertising — and be able to adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.

For the most up-to-date analytics, speak with your property’s web team or reach out to the Paid Digital Advertising team at Social Kapture. We’re always available via email or chat inside the SK Client Dashboard to discuss different attribution models — and we’d love help you start tracking your prospect’s full journey!

Annette Smith