Attribution is hard. 

Understanding buyer behavior is just complex, period. On top of that, the martech is difficult to configure and often stops working when someone changes the sign-up flow, pushes a site update, or launches a lead magnet with an in-form success message rather than a thank-you landing page. It’s ‘fragile’.

Unfortunately, attribution is also important. Bad combo. If you are investing in demand generation, you need to know what’s working (and what’s not working). The sales team needs to know where a lead came from since it says a lot about the prospect, buyer journey, and intent. 

The challenge is that B2B buyer behavior is rarely linear or quick. It would be great if prospects would click on a search ad, download an ebook, or better, sign up for a demo. But that seldom happens. Instead, a buyer will come to a site via multiple channels – perhaps organic, then display, then a search ad, then a search ad again, then via referral before coming direct to convert. It can be hard to rationalize, but prospects are following their purchase process, not your sales process.

Buyers often traverse a range of ad networks; they may show active interest until the project is put on hold for a quarter. They may research online but call to talk to a rep. Few companies can handle that complexity with their attribution.

Add to this, all those ad networks – Google Ads, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. – measure behavior differently. Privacy regulations restrict the use of third-party data and cookies. It’s like looking at the buying process through fractured glass covered in steam. Perhaps you can wipe the mist away here and there, but there’s a lot of guesswork.

It would be great if a tool could remember an individual prospect no matter how they came to the site and could gradually build up a picture of their behavior. The tool would need to plug into all the systems – the ad networks, the CRM, the chat tools, a call system, payments, and your preferred data analytics package. If that connective tissue existed, you’d have the chance to gather data and then piece it all together when there was a conversion. Well – that’s what Ruler Analytics does. It’s the ‘One tool to Ruler them all’ (C’mon, no one else has said it).

For startups, the usual stack of GA4, Search Console, Google Ads, LinkedIn, Hubspot, SFDC are core integrations, meaning you can now track attribution across the primary channels. Ruler allows you to adjust your attribution model to look at it from last-click, first-click, multi-touch and time decay. Each attribution model can tell you something new, but traditionally, you have to commit to just one.

That’s why Firebrand has partnered with Ruler Analytics. They give the extra level of detail that demand gen and marketing teams need. Because hypotheses, gut instincts, and anecdotal details only take you so far. Your hard work, and ultimately your bottom line, deserve a data-driven path forward.

Let’s make attribution a bit easier. 

About the Author

Morgan McLintic is the founder of Firebrand. With over 25 years’ experience in the tech sector, he advises clients about their marketing and PR strategy. Prior to Firebrand, he was the founder of digital communications agency, LEWIS in the US, growing it to 250 staff and $35m revenue.