Perpetual Traffic Podcast

Episode 524: When You Need a 3rd Party Attribution Tool With Austin Harrison

September 12, 2023
Share this post



This blog was written with the help of Content at Scale.

Boost Your Marketing with a 3rd Party Attribution Tool

Ever felt like you're trying to put together a puzzle, but the pieces are scattered across different rooms? That's what tracking customer behavior can feel like without a 3rd Party Attribution Tool.

You might have an inkling of where your customers come from or which campaigns they interact with. But imagine having crystal clear visibility into their journey.

This isn't about guesswork anymore; it's about strategic insights that drive success. Dive in with me as we explore how these tools bring all the puzzle pieces together under one roof.

We'll uncover why marketing attribution is key and get hands-on understanding on selecting and implementing such tools. By the end, not only will you be ready to jump onboard this ship of opportunity, but also steer it effectively!

Understanding the Role of 3rd Party Attribution Tools

Attempting to trace the source of a rainbow's end-of-the-rainbow pot of gold can be quite challenging. Tracking customer behavior across multiple channels is similar but with one key difference: we have third-party attribution tools to help us out.

Importance of Marketing Attribution

Marketing attribution is like your very own GPS in the digital marketing world. It helps map out the path your customers take from their first click on an ad right through to conversion.

This process gives us invaluable insights into what's working and what isn't. As discussed in our Perpetual Traffic podcast episode, Northbeam co-founder emphasized that having a reliable third-party tracking platform could significantly boost campaign success rates.

Features and Benefits of 3rd Party Attribution Tools

The benefits these tools bring are as numerous as jellybeans in a candy store. For starters, they let marketers see where traffic comes from - whether it’s social media, email campaigns or paid ads – allowing them make informed decisions about where best allocate resources for maximum ROI.

We know this sounds complex (it's not rocket science though.), so think about baking cookies at home without any recipe instructions versus following step-by-step directions from Grandma's secret cookie recipe. That’s precisely why understanding the role of a 3rd party attribution tool becomes vital when trying track user behaviour effectively.

Working Mechanism of 3rd Party Attribution Tools

You might wonder how these magical creatures work? They collect data using different mechanisms such as pixels and cookies (nope, not chocolate chip ones.). Think Hansel & Gretel leaving breadcrumbs along their way; that's how these tools trace the path of your customers.

Data Collection and Analysis by Attribution Tools

It’s like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, each data point adds another piece to the picture. Our podcast episode discusses some challenges in measuring effectiveness of video advertising. But with right tracking mechanisms and real-time insights, even those can be overcome.

Key Takeaway:3rd party attribution tools are like a GPS for your digital marketing, tracking customer behavior across multiple channels. They're essential to understanding what's working and where best to allocate resources. These magic-makers use pixels and cookies to collect data, helping you piece together the puzzle of your customers' journey.

Working Mechanism of 3rd Party Attribution Tools

The core functionality of any third-party attribution tool lies in its ability to collect and analyze data. Think of these tools as private investigators, sifting through the myriad clues left behind by customers on their digital journey. But how do they actually track customer behavior across various marketing channels? Let's break it down.

Data Collection and Analysis by Attribution Tools

In essence, third-party attribution tools are like bloodhounds sniffing out your trail online. They use a variety of data sources such as cookies and tracking pixels for effective monitoring. Cookies act like breadcrumbs dropped along the path, recording user activities while browsing websites or interacting with ads.

On the other hand, tracking pixels serve as mini surveillance cameras that capture user interactions in real-time; whether it’s clicking an ad or making a purchase – no action is too small to go unnoticed.

A crucial aspect discussed during our Northbeam podcast episode, was understanding video advertising effectiveness measurement challenges using these tools - shedding light on complex topics often ignored but vital nonetheless.

Data Source Type



Breadcrumbs recording users' online actions

Tracking Pixels

Silent observers capturing real-time interactions.

Pitfalls & Limitations of Data Sources & Tracking Mechanisms

All detective work comes with its fair share of obstacles though. With growing privacy concerns leading to increased cookie restrictions (we’re looking at you, GDPR and CCPA), the use of cookies as a data source can be quite challenging. And while tracking pixels are useful for real-time monitoring, they may fall short in accurately attributing conversions to specific marketing activities.

But let's not forget, we're not chasing perfection here. The goal is to make smarter choices. Even Sherlock Holmes didn't have all the answers. That's the real deal.

Key Takeaway:3rd party attribution tools work like digital detectives, using data from cookies and tracking pixels to follow your online journey. These breadcrumbs of user activity help analyze customer behavior across marketing channels. But remember, it's not about perfection; it's about making smarter decisions with the clues we have.

Selecting the Right 3rd Party Attribution Tool

Choosing an attribution tool that fits your specific needs and goals is like picking a pair of shoes. It's not about what works for others, but rather finding the perfect match for you.

The first step to take when selecting a third-party attribution tool is understanding its scalability and flexibility. These are two critical factors to consider because as your business grows, so will your marketing efforts. A scalable solution lets you increase or decrease usage based on need while flexible solutions allow easy integration with other platforms.

Northbeam, one of our podcast guests and co-founder of a tracking platform, recommends having a baseline understanding of attribution before investing in these tools. The reason being it gives you better control over how data flows from different sources into one centralized location for accurate insights.

Evaluating Scalability

A scalable system should be able to handle increases in load without impacting performance. Think of it as climbing up steps; if each step represents an increment in workload, then scaling would mean adding more steps (capacity) whenever needed without losing balance (performance).

Scalable third-party attribution tools give businesses room to grow their campaigns freely without worrying about technical limitations getting in the way. Just remember – bigger isn't always better. Make sure that any investment made matches where your company stands today AND where it plans to be tomorrow.

Focusing on Flexibility

In addition to scalability, flexibility plays an equally crucial role when choosing an attribution tool - think yoga pants at Thanksgiving dinner. You want something adaptable enough not only now but also capable enough even when things get busier than usual.

A flexible tool integrates seamlessly with other platforms and tools. It means that the system can pull in data from various sources, making it easier to get a complete picture of your customer journey. More importantly, integration capabilities enable accurate tracking across multiple channels - ensuring no part of your marketing strategy gets left behind.

So, picking the perfect third-party attribution tool isn't just about features or cost. It needs a thoughtful approach.

Key Takeaway:Picking the right third-party attribution tool is like hunting for comfy shoes - it's more about fit than style. You need a tool that grows with your business and adjusts to changes, one that plays nice with other platforms for complete data tracking. But don't forget, bigger isn't always better - choose what works best for you now and in the future.

Popular Market Players in Third-Party Attribution Space

The digital marketing landscape is crowded with numerous third-party attribution tools, each boasting unique features and capabilities. Among these players, Ruler Analytics, Google Analytics, Visual IQ, and HubSpot Marketing Analytics have gained substantial popularity.

Exploring Ruler Analytics

Ruler Analytics, a leading 3rd party attribution tool in the market that emphasizes experimentation for better understanding of customer journeys across different channels. It's all about testing out various approaches to determine what yields the most success for your organization.

Ruler offers robust tracking capabilities allowing marketers to attribute every lead or sale back to their marketing source. This provides insights into which channels are driving results and helps fine-tune marketing efforts accordingly.

A distinct feature of this platform is its ability to integrate offline conversions such as phone calls into the mix. If you're not taking note of how much traffic comes from offline sources like phone calls - you might be missing out on valuable data.

Diving Into Google Analytics

No conversation about third-party attribution tools can ignore Google Analytics. This widely-used tool has been helping businesses make sense of user behavior since 2005.

The strength lies in its seamless integration with other Google products such as AdWords and Search Console along with an easy-to-use interface. While it may lack some advanced features compared to dedicated paid solutions like Visual IQ or Ruler analytics; it remains a reliable option especially for smaller businesses starting out their journey towards data-driven decision making.

Taking A Look At Visual IQ

Visual IQ is another noteworthy contender in the third-party attribution space. It offers multi-touch attribution, helping marketers understand how different touchpoints contribute to conversions.

The platform also shines with its predictive modeling capabilities which allow businesses to forecast future performance based on historical data. Though it boasts powerful features, its complexity may be too much for smaller businesses that lack the data and resources to take full advantage of them.

Key Takeaway:Third-party attribution tools like Ruler Analytics, Google Analytics, and Visual IQ each offer unique capabilities to help businesses understand customer journeys. While Ruler excels in tracking offline conversions, Google's strength lies in its integration with other products. On the other hand, Visual IQ stands out for its predictive modeling abilities.

Implementation of a 3rd Party Attribution Tool

Enhance your marketing strategy with the right tools to give you an edge over time and competition. It's like swapping out your old bicycle for a high-speed motorbike when you're racing against time and competition. Let me show you how to turbocharge your efforts by implementing a third-party attribution tool.

Data Integration: Getting Your Ducks in A Row

The first step is akin to assembling ingredients before cooking up an exotic dish – it's all about getting your data sources together. This includes CRM systems, email marketing platforms, social media channels - essentially any platform that houses user interaction data relevant to customer journeys.

Your selected attribution tool should easily integrate with these different sources. For example, Northbeam, co-founded by our podcast guest this week, has been lauded for its integration capabilities.

Auditing Data Quality: The Importance of Fresh Ingredients

An audit will help make sure there are no rotten eggs in the mix. Bad data quality could lead to inaccurate insights or misleading reports - kind of like trying to navigate through foggy glasses.

You need clean and accurate data flowing into the system consistently because as we discussed on Perpetual Traffic YouTube Channel, these tools become more essential when scaling aggressively or when efficiency becomes paramount.

Setting Up Tracking Mechanisms: Baking Cookies Not Just For Santa.

The next step is setting up tracking mechanisms such as cookies and pixels within these platforms which let us follow customers' digital footprints across multiple touchpoints just like how Santa follows cookie crumbs to find his way.

These mechanisms help gather real-time data, so you're always in the loop about what's happening with your campaigns. Just remember - while tracking is important, respect for privacy should be paramount.

Customizing Reports: Your Own Secret Sauce

What's really cool about third-party attribution tools is their knack for giving you tailor-made reports.

Key Takeaway:Boosting your marketing game can feel like swapping a bicycle for a speedy motorbike, especially when you've got the right third-party attribution tool in hand. Picture it as preparing an exotic feast - first off, gather all your data sources and make sure they're pristine. Next up, establish tracking systems to trace customer's digital footprints across different platforms and touchpoints. This gives you a comprehensive view of their journey and interactions with your brand.

FAQs in Relation to 3Rd Party Attribution Tool

What is an example of attribution tracking?

Google Analytics is a classic example. It tracks user interactions across different channels, tying it back to your marketing efforts.

What is a mobile attribution tool?

A mobile attribution tool helps you understand which campaigns drive app installs or in-app actions like purchases.

What is an attribution tracker?

An attribution tracker maps customer journeys, linking each interaction with a specific marketing activity for insights on what works best.

What is Google Analytics Attribution?

This feature within Google Analytics lets you see how your various digital strategies impact the customer's path to purchase.


Now you're in the know about a 3rd Party Attribution Tool. It's not just another tool, it’s your compass for navigating customer behavior.

You've learned how crucial marketing attribution is. Not as an abstract concept but as tangible data guiding your campaigns to success.

You’ve understood what to look for when selecting such tools: scalability and flexibility are key. You don't need something generic; you require a solution that can expand with your business.

We’ve also touched upon popular market players like Ruler Analytics, giving you starting points on your exploration journey.

Last but definitely not least, we delved into implementation steps because knowledge without action is like a ship without sails. Time now to set sail towards more insightful marketing!

Want to work with us? It all starts when you click here

Share this post

You May Also Be Interested In...

Episode 573: 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Hiring in South America

Episode 572: Off-The-Record: Marketers Unleashed

Episode 571:  How to Build Create Crack-like Offers To 2x-10x Your Leads with Alisha Conlin-Hurd

Episode 570: (Replay) The “Should You Buy This Product or Not” Webinar Framework with Jason Fladlien