Introduction to Northbeam’s Clicks Only Attribution Model

We created the Clicks Only attribution model to reveal what top-of-funnel strategies are driving conversions to bottom-of-funnel touchpoints.

Northbeam’s machine learning models help you decode and decipher what your customers are actually doing before converting, allowing you to make better buying decisions across all platforms. Your dashboard will go through a “learning phase” where our machine learning models ingest your data to stitch together customer journeys, ultimately enabling two of our advanced multi-touch attribution models: Clicks Only and Clicks & Views. 

As of today, you’re probably seeing your Northbeam dashboard’s data look a little different and that’s because your Clicks Only data is ready for you to use! 

✏️ NOTE: The KPIs you’re seeing likely differ from the in-platform metrics you were using previously. This is because platforms tend to overstate their effectiveness and artificially inflate performance metrics to favor their products. Northbeam’s metrics represent a more conservative and direct comparison across all other channels and platforms.

In this module we’ll cover the basics of our Clicks Only attribution model and how to use your data to set campaign benchmarks and scale your media spend. 

What is a Northbeam attribution model?

An attribution model is a method to determine how conversion credit for sales should be assigned to touchpoints that occurred in that conversion path. Northbeam uses several attribution models to analyze what parts of your marketing funnels and customer journeys drive the most impact and revenue. 

We offer both single and multi-touch attribution models available to use out-of-the-box while you wait for the machine learning phase to finish ingesting enough data. Here are the definitions of the models and the ones available for immediate use:

Single-Touch Attribution Models 

  • First Touch: All revenues are attributed to the first marketing touchpoint in the customer journey (i.e., top of the funnel).   
  • Last Touch: All revenues are attributed to the last marketing touchpoint in the customer journey (i.e., bottom of the funnel). 
  • Last Non-Direct Touch: If the last touch was a direct visit, we skip that touchpoint and attribute the revenue to the last marketing touchpoint before that visit. For example, a customer was served an Instagram ad but didn't convert. A few days later, they return to your website and purchase. In this case, revenue would be attributed to that Instagram ad instead of the direct visit. 

Multi-Touch Attribution Models

  • Linear: Revenues are split evenly across all marketing touchpoints in the customer journey. For example, a customer was served multiple types of Instagram and Google ads and an email remarketing campaign before eventually converting. In this case, all touchpoints would get equal credit for that conversion. 

What is the Clicks Only attribution model?

Northbeam's proprietary Clicks Only model is similar to Linear, but it does not give attribution credit to direct, email/SMS, and on occasion branded search. (Note: Credit is given to search including non-branded. Even if branded search is the only touch point. If branded search has another touchpoint then it doesn’t get credit.) This model gives marketing touchpoints more weighting versus direct visits to divide credit across multiple sources. This results in a much more useful view of channel performance for a media buyer. 

We created this model to provide directionality of what’s moving the needle beyond the bottom-of-funnel (BOF) channels, as BOF touchpoints are more difficult to scale. Clicks Only is our way to show you what’s actually moving the needle at the top-of-funnel (TOF) so you can scale your media spend. This model can help reveal the TOF strategies that eventually drive conversions downstream with BOF touchpoints. 

How do I use Clicks Only data to benchmark?

The Northbeam platform offers a wealth of metrics and KPIs to track performance, but to fully understand the context of those numbers you’ll need an accurate baseline of what to expect. For example, you notice that your ROAS has been improving, but what is a good “North Star” ROAS goal for your business? We recommend using our most conservative view to set your performance goals: 1-Day Attribution Window + Clicks Only, and reviewing it daily until you have a full picture of your most important metrics. 

✏️ NOTE: While the custom Clicks Only model is Northbeam’s effort to increase weighting on TOF campaigns, many view-oriented channels and campaigns will nonetheless be under-represented vs more click-heavy channels such as search, for example. It’s therefore highly recommended that you work with an expert to set targets for this attribution model that account for the nature of each specific channel. 

How do I view 1-Day, Clicks Only data?

  1. Log onto your Northbeam dashboard
  2. Navigate over and click on either the Overview tab or Sales tab on the left panel
  3. On the Sales & Marketing Page, you’ll notice at the top that Clicks Only and 1-Day are the default KPI selections for Attribution Model and Attribution Window

What are Attribution Windows? 

The Attribution Window refers to the period where conversions will be credited to ads that occurred during that specific time. For example: 

  • 1-Day Attribution Window will show revenue recognized the same day that the ad was served, whereas 
  • 7-Day Attribution Window will show revenue recognized within the seven day span the ad was served. 

We recommend using 1-Day as your benchmark attribution window because it represents a “worst case scenario” of performance. It assumes the customer will see an ad, click on it, and buy in the same 24 hour period the ad was served to them. Although it likely undercounts the eventual revenue that occurs, using 1-Day is our best practice for establishing a conservative benchmark.