When a sale happens on your website, do you know what drove it?

It very rarely is simple and straightforward. Usually, multiple touchpoints need to be made before the sale finally takes place.

The simplest scenario would be that someone needed X, they went online, searched for X in Google, clicked on your link (organic result), and bought X on your website, then and there.

Much more realistic scenario is that a customer is already familiar with what X is, where to buy it, and how much it costs. They do some research to find the most suitable X for themselves. It could be about price, about returns policy, about speed of delivery, about quality.

They visited a few sites, clicked on a few ads, maybe even went through the buying process and added the product to the card, with no intention of buying.

Then a few days later they read an article about X. Or a review. Or saw a remarketing ad. Or got a cart recovery email. So they went through the research process again, this time choosing between the final 2-3 options.

Then, when they finally do buy X on your website, practically any department or traffic source could take credit for the sale.


What’s funny, you could make an argument for each of them.

Or it could be like in the last picture – pure randomness.

To have a full picture of your marketing efforts, you need to be able to measure all the touchpoints. Blog posts may drive almost zero sales but they may be an important factor in the research process. And they could very well be the reason why the customer bought with you and not with one of many competitors (or Amazon.)

The article from a few days ago may be helpful for a start: Why Multi-Touch Attribution Is Still So Difficult & How To Excel At It.

At the same time, you need to remember that there’s also a significant degree of randomness in the data. The guys who “just bought it because they were out of what they wanted.”

So measure well, attribute appropriately, know what’s important and remember that the world is random and complicated.

Have great and attributable sales!