Improving marketing attribution

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Improving marketing attribution

A playbook for more detailed, and practical, attribution systems

The challenge

Golzar Yaghoubpour needed accurate data about where leads were coming from. Hubspot was giving her some information on this, but it was incomplete and unreliable. Without accurate, consistent data, she couldn’t make confident decisions about her lead generation budget.

“When you don't have a big picture view in front of you, you have to go through different views in HubSpot. It takes a very long time to verify the data.”

Golzar Yaghoubpour

(Golzar was formerly Buildkite’s Head of Growth Marketing and Operations.)

The play

If we can set up new workflows for acquisition tracking, we can collect and categorize attribution data accurately, and integrate data from Buildkite’s website and marketing platforms via HubSpot.

It involves tracking 4 pieces of data for each lead:

  • The channel that first brought the lead to the site
  • The campaign (generally equivalent to ‘form’ in this case) on which the first conversion happened
  • The channel that most recently generated a conversion
  • The campaign that most recently generated a conversion

And if we set it up with longevity in mind, the ops team will be able to continuously iterate on the acquisition labels.

The strategy

Identify all of the source data Buildkite wants to start tracking, then work with their engineers to collect and integrate that data with existing frameworks from HubSpot, Segment and MadKudu.

We focused on two acquisition source use cases at first:

  • Contact and deal attribution
  • Google ads conversion tracking

The implementation process had four main stages.

1. Expand the acquisition source list

With Golzar and Buildkite’s VP of Marketing, we created an exhaustive list of all the sources that Buildkite wants to track.

2. Add code to Buildkite's website

The Buildkite website has strict security requirements and some idiosyncratic systems that don't allow standard tools like Google Tag Manager. This was an obstacle for updating the lead acquisition tags. In collaboration with Buildkite’s engineers, we added a small amount of custom JavaScript that would provide the additional information required.

3. Updated acquisition cataloging on Segment

Buildkite was already using Segment. We collaborated with the in-house engineers again to refine the data cataloging they had within Segment. This provided a clearer view of who the product users were, and where they came from.

4. Integrate Data into HubSpot

Once we started getting data from both the website and the product, we encountered issues with pulling different values into HubSpot. To address this, we worked with their team to build a workflow that uses all the individual data points to provide a single coherent answer about where leads came from.

“I can rerun this workflow a hundred times and still get the exact same. Being able to see \all the data in one chart and then drilling down where I need to has been very helpful – rather than trying to piece everything together from several different views in HubSpot.”

Golzar Yaghoubpour

The perks

Buildkite’s new attribution system provides a lot more clarity, consistency, and control:

  • Customized data labels
  • Easily updated workflows
  • Consistent data
  • Macro and micro-level analysis
  • More reliable reporting

“It's like clockwork now. Every quarter we're able to do a little bit more of that repeat, learn, scale, and relaunch.”

Golzar Yaghoubpour

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