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Multi-Touch Attribution And Ad Spend: What SMB Marketers Need To Know For Success

  • Written by Madelyn Newman, CallRail
  • Published in Demanding Views

Madelyn Newman HeadshotAny small business owner is no stranger to the difficult question: what do you do with your marketing budget? Further, how do you attribute which tactics are actually working?

With billions of dollars wasted every year on fumbled digital advertising tactics, you’re right to examine your strategy. While enterprise brands like P&G can afford to waste advertising spend, small businesses don’t have that luxury. And while small businesses often have enough challenges deciding where to spend in the first place, they’re also unable to easily tell what’s working and what’s not. So, how do you make every ad dollar count when allocating your budget?

Many small businesses are solving for that by shifting more of their ad spend to test new strategies that more clearly show what is successful and what is not. For many, a good example would be Amazon. In fact, a survey of 700 digital marketers recently found that 80% of those currently spending on the platform plan to increase their budget in 2019.

Compared to larger businesses, small businesses are moving ad spend from search, display or paid social ads to Amazon’s platform by wide margins. That’s because platforms like Amazon are giving B2B and B2C marketers bigger bang for their buck — and better attribution capabilities.

What Amazon Offers: Attribution 

The obvious reason for Amazon’s growing popularity as an ad platform is its quick and easy path to purchase. As Amazon becomes more effective as a search function, buyers can search there directly and quickly buy advertised products with no friction or third-party interference. With functionality that improves the customer experience for shoppers, it’s no mystery why Amazon is proving effective.

But before shifting all your budget to Amazon, it’s important to understand that attribution is the critical factor of success, which has broader implications beyond just Amazon.

Amazon’s platform enables small business owners to understand what’s effective and what’s not by attributing conversions to specific ads. That way, even those with limited time and budgets have better visibility into their advertising efforts. Armed with that understanding, you can spend more money where it works and make the most of even the smallest budget.

Attribution Is The Best Way To Optimize Ad Spend

What’s the key takeaway here? Multi-touch attribution — the ability to track and assign credit to the various points of contact customers have with your brand before a conversion — is essential.

Amazon’s platform is just one of many tools democratizing online advertising so that small businesses have access to the same powerful insights that were previously only available to larger enterprises. You don’t have to keep working blind with respect to your ad budget, regardless of how much revenue you bring in a year. And the truth is, your competitors probably aren’t.

That doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to Amazon. There are other tools you can use to optimize high-performing ads and better prioritize spend.

For example, call tracking is an invaluable tool for small businesses, since customers often convert over the phone (like booking appointments or services). Call tracking illuminates where customers who call your business came from by assigning them each a unique phone number attached to specific touchpoints, be it a Facebook ad or a Google My Business listing. If customers continue to convert through a phone number unique to a Google listing ad and no one is converting through your Facebook ads, you can re-allocate budget from social and invest more in Google, to maximize your marketing spend.

The good news is, you don’t have to start from scratch to use these tools. The best solutions will integrate with the tech stack you have, so you don’t waste time or money getting started.

With the right technology, it’s easier than ever to attribute and optimize your B2B marketing efforts — regardless of the size of your business. These strategies mean all the difference between throwing money out the window and actually driving meaningful conversions.


Madelyn Newman is the Director of Product and Customer Marketing at CallRail and has a love for all things inbound and digital marketing. With a background in customer success and community building, Madelyn now focuses her time on helping buyers discover great technology products that solve their most perplexing marketing problems.