The importance of measurement and attribution in a multi-channel world

Return on investment (ROI) is a critical consideration when pouring resources into organic and paid advertising.

By accurately measuring the effectiveness of your individual campaigns – ads or posts, versions of copy and creative across all platforms – you gain more valuable and reliable insights that will better inform future decision-making.

Have you ever taken a snapshot of all your data from said channels and the numbers haven’t added up?  It seems as though you’re working with multiple versions of “the truth”? Well, read on.

You see, measurement and attribution are essential in our multi-channel world. All of the marketing platforms we use are, in essence, competing for the conversion measures and are, for better or worse, somewhat biased towards their own success to keep themselves valuable and relevant to their advertisers.

In the world of digital marketing, many of us refer to this as an ‘Attribution war’. There are models and algorithms continuously tuned to be competing for the click so you see value in their platform. Website speed is a big factor in conversions – and without a single source of truth, it’s hard to know where these are dropping off.

Let’s say you click on the back end of your website insights – it may paint a different picture to the data showing up on Instagram, Facebook, Google or email etc if these channels have claimed the conversion.

This obviously isn’t ideal when you’re testing the performance of multiple organic and paid ad campaigns across multiple channels.

However, there are two ways you can tackle this:

  • You anoint a platform as ‘god’ for metrics. E.g. you only look at Google Analytics and that’s it 
  • Or you continuously evaluate multiple platforms and research and dig into the data on your website to learn.

To have a better sense of what is actually happening, we recommend following best-practice attribution – using Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) codes for all of your campaigns so there is a single source of truth to help you measure your marketing campaigns effectively.

What does best-practice attribution look like in 2023?

You may have heard of UTM tracking and are already implementing this in your marketing, or it might be one of those tasks that keeps sliding down your to-do list.

Or if the concept of attribution is new for you, that’s fine too. It’s never too late to begin.

For those that aren’t familiar, UTM codes are small pieces of code that are added to URLs to track the source of website traffic and track the customer journey.


“These codes allow marketers to see exactly where their traffic is coming from and make it easier to determine which channels are driving the most value,” Made Great Paid Media Specialist Myles Harris said.

“By using UTM codes, marketers can track which social media platforms are driving the most traffic and allocate their resources accordingly.”


At Made Great, this is something that’s part of our process day in and day out for our client campaigns, but if you aren’t across attribution, it can be a time-consuming process and one a little tricky to master.

Attribution Models and Attribution Windows

Attribution is essentially the process of assigning credit for a conversion to the appropriate touchpoint in the customer journey. It enables a greater level of accuracy when measuring the success of campaigns and what to focus on moving forward to drive the most value. 


An Attribution Model is how a customer is tracked through touchpoints and at what point do we want the sale accredited to.

For example, a First Touch model has the sale attributed to the first point that the customer touches your properties before the sales e.g if they came through Instagram then purchased on the website the sale would be attributed to Instagram. 

Last Touch as its name suggests has the sale attributed to the last touch point, e.g if the customer came through Instagram and purchased on your website, the sale will be attributed to the website.

Then there’s Multi Touch where the sale can be attributed to multiple touch points e.g email > Facebook > website page > product page, meaning each would be attributed 25% of the sale (100%).

But it doesn’t end there. There are many other models, and you can even customise and build your own.

The most important thing here though is you need to know your business, know your campaign flow, and know your customer.


In addition to Attribution Models, there are also Attribution Windows.

This is similar to a model, but rather focuses on the time period that a customer converts instead of the touch point flow. 

They are often represented in a period of time split by clicks and views e.g. 7-day view and 1-day click – this Attribution Window means if a user converted within 7 days of viewing the ad OR within one day of clicking the ad, the ad will have the sale attributed to it.

Attribution Windows can be optimised by knowing your customer and their purchase rhythms. For example, if you have a small, cheap product that is fast moving, a short window will help sales report more accurately in your reports. 

If you have a product that is a bit more of a larger purchase and your data shows they look at the product a few times before a purchase, then a longer view period and click cycle might be best.

The technical bits: types of UTM code

If you’re still here, we’re going to get a bit more technical for those that are interested, diving into the types of UTM codes you can be using depending on your desired objective.

  •  utm_source: First up is the source code and, you guessed it, this parameter identifies the source of your traffic, such as the website or platform that sent the visitor to your site. For example, you might use “facebook” or “newsletter” as values for this parameter.
  • utm_medium: Next up, this parameter identifies the type of traffic, such as email, social media, or pay-per-click advertising. Common values include “email”, “social”, and “cpc” for cost-per-click advertising.

  • utm_campaign: Running a targeted campaign? This parameter identifies the specific campaign that the traffic is part of. For example, you might use “summer_sale” or “back_to_school” as values for this parameter.

  • utm_term: This parameter is used for paid search campaigns and identifies the specific keyword or search term that was used to trigger the ad.

  • utm_content: Do you tend to run two versions of the same ad? This parameter is used to differentiate between different versions. For example, if you’re running two different versions of a banner ad, you might use “blue_banner” and “red_banner” as values to see what works best. 

Our resident expert Myles said it’s important to remember that you don’t have to use all of these parameters for every link you create. 

“Depending on your goals, you might only use a few of them,” he said.

“However, using UTM parameters consistently can help you track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and optimize your efforts over time.”

How to get started

If you’d like to achieve a new level of awareness when measuring your marketing campaigns, we encourage all brands – big and small – to incorporate UTM codes into their strategy.

But, we’ll warn you. It isn’t simple to do. There is a level of skill involved and it is time-consuming determining what you want to track, the types of codes to use, setting up the codes, and of course, measuring results and turning all this data into decision-making information. 


However, the effort far outweighs the time. The data obtained is invaluable helping you track where sales have come from, what content and ads actually work, and getting a real clear snapshot on the return of your social media/email marketing spend. 

“In the world of social media marketing, attribution and measurement are crucial components of a successful strategy,” Myles said.

“With so many social media platforms to choose from, it’s important to understand which platforms are driving the most traffic, leads, and conversions for your business. This is where UTM codes and other tracking methods come into play.”


If you’d like to explore the world of UTMs, we encourage you to visit this website where you can get started: https://ga-dev-tools.google/campaign-url-builder/

An important part of marketing Greatness is ensuring your campaigns and reporting tools are set up to give you the data and insights you need for success. If you need a hand with UTM codes and better understanding your marketing attribution, send us an email at [email protected]. We’d be happy to help!

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