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B2B Marketing Attribution Guide: How to Master It in 2024


The last thing you want is to invest your advertising dollars in channels, campaigns and ads that don’t work. But B2B marketing attribution — figuring out which marketing efforts drive revenue — is far from easy.

With longer sales funnels and multiple people from the same company involved in the same sales process, B2B (business-to-business) is a different ballgame from B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing.

In this guide, we break down what B2B marketing attribution is, how it’s different, which tools you can use to set it up and the best practices.

What is B2B marketing attribution?

Marketing attribution in B2B companies is about figuring out where your high-value leads come from — nailing down long customer journeys across many different touchpoints.

Illustration of attributing a multi-person customer journey

The goal is to determine which campaigns and content contributed to various parts of the customer journey. It’s a complex process that needs a reliable, privacy-focused web analytics tool and a CRM that integrates with it.

This process significantly differs from traditional marketing attribution, where you focus more on short sales cycles from individual customers. With multiple contributing decision makers, B2B attribution requires more robust systems.

What makes marketing attribution different for B2B?

The key differences between B2B and B2C marketing attribution are a longer sales funnel and more  people involved in the sales process.

The B2B sales funnel is significantly longer and more complex

The typical B2C sales funnel is often broken down into four simple stages:

  1. Awareness: when a prospect first finds out about your product or brand
  2. Interest: where a prospect starts to learn about the benefits of your product
  3. Desire: when a prospect understands that they need your product
  4. Action: the actual process of closing the sale

Even the most simplified B2B sales funnel includes several key stages.

5 stages of the B2B customer journey.

Here’s a brief overview of each:

  1. Awareness: Buyers recognise they have a problem and start looking for solutions. Stand out with blog posts, social media updates, ebooks and whitepapers.
  2. Consideration: Buyers are aware of your company and are comparing options. Provide product demos, webinars and case studies to address their concerns and build trust.
  3. Conversion: Buyers have chosen your product or company. Offer live demos, customer service, case studies and testimonials to finalise the purchase.
  4. Loyalty: Buyers have made a purchase and are now customers. Nurture relationships with thank you emails, follow-ups, how-tos, reward programs and surveys to encourage repeat business.
  5. Advocacy: Loyal customers become advocates, promoting your brand to others. Encourage this with surveys, testimonial requests and a referral program.

A longer sales cycle typically involves not only more touchpoints but also extended decision-making processes.

More teams are involved in the marketing and sales process

The last differentiation in B2B attribution is the number of people involved. Instead of clear-cut sales and marketing teams, revenue teams are becoming more common.

They include all go-to-market teams like sales, marketing, customer success and customer support. In B2B sales, long-term customer relationships can be incredibly valuable. As such, the focus shifts away from new customer acquisition alone.

For example, you can also track and optimise your onboarding process. Marketing gets involved in post-sale efforts to boost loyalty. Sales reps follow up with customer success to get new sales angles and insights. Customer support insights drive future product development.

Everyone works together to meet high-level company goals.

The next section will explore how to set up an attribution system.

How to find the right mix of B2B marketing attribution tools

For most B2B marketing teams, the main struggle with attribution is not with the strategy but with creating a reliable system that gives them the data points they need to implement that strategy.

We’ll outline one approach you can take to achieve this without a million-dollar budget or internal data science team.

Use website analytics to track touchpoints

The first thing you want to do is install a reliable website analytics solution on your website. 

Once you’ve got your analytics in place, use  campaign tracking parameters to track touchpoints from external campaigns like email newsletters, social media ads, review sites (like Capterra) and third-party partner campaigns.

This way, you get a clear picture of which sources are driving traffic and conversions, helping you improve your marketing strategies.

With analytics installed, you can track the referring sources of visits, engagement and conversion events. A robust solution like Matomo tracks everything from traffic sources, marketing attribution and visitor counts to behavioural analytics, like clicks, scrolling patterns and form interactions on your site.

Marketing attribution will give you a cohesive view of which traffic sources and campaigns drive conversions and revenue over long periods. With Matomo’s marketing attribution feature, you can even use different marketing attribution models to compare results:

Matomo comparing linear, first click, and last click attribution models in the marketing attribution dashboard

For example, in a single report, you can compare the last interaction, first interaction and linear (three common marketing attribution models). 

In total, Matomo has 6 available attribution models to choose from:

  1. First interaction
  2. Last interaction
  3. Last non-direct 
  4. Linear
  5. Position based
  6. Time decay 

These additional attribution models are crucial for B2B sites. While other web analytics solutions often limit to last-click attribution, this model isn’t optimal for B2B with extended sales cycles.

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Use a CRM to integrate customer data from multiple sources

Use your CRM software to integrate customer data from multiple sources. This will give you the ability to get meaningful B2B marketing insights. For example, you can get company-level insights so you can view conversion information by company, not just by person.

Done effectively, you can close the loop back to analytics data by integrating data from multiple teams and platforms. 

Implement self-reported attribution

To further enhance the data, add qualifying questions in the lead signup process to create a hybrid attribution model. This is also known as self-reported attribution.

Example of self-reported attribution

Your web analytics platform won’t always be able to track the source of certain visits —  for instance, “dark social” or peer-to-peer sharing, where links are shared privately and are not easily traceable by analytics tools.

Doing self-reported attribution is crucial for getting a holistic image of your customer journey. 

However, self-reported attribution isn’t foolproof; users may click randomly or inaccurately recall where they first heard about you. So it’s essential to blend this data with your analytics to gain a more accurate understanding.

Best practices for handling B2B prospect data in a privacy-sensitive world 

Lastly, it’s important to respect your prospects’ privacy and comply with privacy regulations when conducting B2B marketing attribution.

Privacy regulations and their enforcement are rapidly gaining momentum around the globe. Meta recently received a record GDPR fine of €1.2 billion for insufficient privacy measures when handling user data by the Irish Data Protection Agency.

If you don’t want to risk major fines (or customers feeling betrayed), you shouldn’t follow in the same footsteps.

Switch to a privacy-friendly web analytics

Instead of using a controversial solution like Google Analytics, use a privacy-friendly web analytics solution like Matomo, Fathom or Plausible. 

These alternatives not only ensure compliance with regulations like GDPR but also provide peace of mind amid the uncertain relationship between Google and GDPR. Google Analytics has faced bans in recent years, raising concerns about the future of the solution.

While organisations governed by GDPR can currently use Google Analytics, there’s no guarantee of its continued availability.

Make the switch to privacy-friendly web analytics to avoid potential fines and disruptive rulings that could force you to change platforms urgently. Such disruptions can be catastrophic for marketing teams heavily reliant on web analytics for tracking campaigns, business goals and marketing efforts.

Improve your B2B marketing attribution with Matomo

Matomo’s privacy-by-design architecture makes it the perfect analytics platform for the modern B2B marketer. Matomo enables you to meet even the strictest privacy regulations.

At the same time, through campaign tracking URLs, marketing attribution, integrations and our API, you can track the results of various marketing channels and campaigns effectively. We help you understand the impact of each dollar of your marketing budget. 

If you want a competitive edge over other B2B companies, try Matomo for free for 21 days. No credit card required.

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A powerful web analytics platform that gives you and your business 100% data ownership and user privacy protection.

No credit card required.

Free forever.