Marketing Attribution – what does it mean?

Marketing Attribution – what does it mean?
April 12, 2017

I just started a new job at AdTriba, a business-to-business software provider. It sure is a major change from the language environment I was in so far! AdTriba is specialized in marketing attribution. Rather complex topic from the outside, but not so unfathomable when you start digging into it. And, since I love learning new things and that I need to become familiar with this topic, I did not have to be told twice.

So, what does AdTriba do again?

I get that a lot. I’m used to my mother not understanding what I do, but with marketing attribution, I lose a lot of people while explaining it. As I’m typing these lines, I’m thinking it’s a good thing I have this blog post for future inquiries 😉

Right, so marketing attribution is a process that tracks the journey of users and customers and allocates a value to each step of this journey. Something like that. Let’s take an example. You type “computer” on Google. There are good chances you notice an ad on top of the result page for an Apple computer. This is the first step of your customer journey. Later that day, you scroll down aimlessly on Facebook when suddenly – an ad for an Apple computer! Even if you don’t click on it, this is the second step of your journey. A few days later, you peruse an online portal that compares various computers. Third step. Another few days go by and you made up your mind: you need that Apple computer. You google the name of the brand (fourth step), visit the online store, and put an end of your customer journey by purchasing the device. This last step is called a conversion. Read more about marketing attribution here.

Then I thought about the word “attribution”

Attribution is rather common word, we all know it, heard it and read it before, yet it is difficult to grasp the exact meaning. So I asked the Oxford Dictionary: “The action of regarding something as being caused by a person or thing.” To attribute is to allocate, to apply, to associate something. It all makes sense. Marketing attribution consists of assigning a specific value to each step of the user journey.

A quick look at the Latin origins of the words confirm its meaning: attributio, from the verb attribuere, which means “to give”. It kept the same form in most Romance languages: attribution (fr), attribuzione (it), atribución (es), atribuição (pt).

In German, attribution is Attribution when used in marketing, but the literal translation is Zuordnung, Zuschreibung. At- has an obvious similarity to the preposition Zu-. Ordnung convey the idea of order, organisation while Schreibung of spelling, writing. In Swedish, tillskrivning is similar to Zuschreibung (till-skrivning). same for Danish with tilskrivning. Norwegian uses attribusjon and tilskrivelse.

At least, I’ve cleared up the linguistic part of the job.

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