“Attribution” in marketing is defined as the means of giving credit to the marketing touchpoint or touchpoints that lead a prospect to some type of conversion event. Conversion can be a sale, application, visit or even a view on a video. Touchpoints can be blog posts, social media ads, paid Google search results or even broadcast advertising channels like TV and radio.  

Marketers have so many channels to choose from, it is challenging to keep track of which ones are really driving conversions. This is why the attribution methodology developed. One of the interesting use cases to develop from this was in the recruitment industry.

Attribution and Recruitment

Professionals see online platforms as the primary medium to look for new jobs and submit applications. Because many of these platforms — like LinkedIn, Indeed and ZipRecruiter — have become so popular, competition in the sector is fierce. 

The battle for top talent is higher in some industries than others. For example, in the tech industry, the shortage of professionals requires recruiters to use inventive strategies to attract candidates. Plus, half of the applicants use four to six job sites before ultimately accepting a position.

Most recruiters nowadays have to have certain marketing skills to make their job postings stand out and yield results. That’s why attribution has entered the recruitment sector; companies and agencies need to know which campaigns are producing more conversions. In the case of recruitment, conversions come in the form of applicants that later are qualified and hired.

Attribution helps recruiters know the journey the candidate took before submitting an application for a job opening. By understanding the candidate’s journey, they can then start designing campaigns that will ensure a better return on investment.  

Attribution Models

Different attribution models use unique rules that determine how conversion credit is going to be distributed across touchpoints.

Some models are better adapted for direct response campaigns, while others adapt better to bigger campaigns with multiple channels/touchpoints – like in B2B Attribution. These are the different attribution models that can be applied in recruiting.

Single-Touch Attribution

Single-touch models give full credit to a single touchpoint. This doesn’t provide much detail about the user journey; instead, this model provides information on what makes the user navigate to conversion.

First-touch: This model gives full credit to the first interaction of the user with the job opening. This doesn’t provide detail on how the candidate finally applied to the job. For example, an applicant first sees a job posting on LinkedIn but doesn’t apply until days later after researching the company’s profile on Glassdoor. However, this model still gives full credit to LinkedIn. 

The first-touch attribution may be helpful when the marketing campaign’s goal is to bring new customers or when they aren’t using many marketing channels. But for recruitment, it isn’t the most used model. 

Last-touch: This model is similar to the first-touch model, but all the credit is given to the last touchpoint. As before, it doesn’t provide much information on how the user was driven to submit an application. Using the same example as before, the credit will be given to Glassdoor, but would the client have submitted their application if they hadn’t seen the job posting on LinkedIn first? 

This method is the default model in many platforms such as Google Ads and Google Analytics, and many rely on this metric, unfortunately. With so many marketing channels, it single touch attribution models do not often provide much insight into improving recruitment performance.

Multi-Touch Attribution 

The recruitment industry uses many marketing channels to reach the best candidates. That’s why they prefer to use multi-touch attribution because these models distribute the credit for the conversion between multiple touchpoints. They give detailed information on the entire journey the candidate takes that leads them to apply for a job opening. 

Because there are many channels for recruiters and applicants to interact, more detailed information helps recruiters know precisely which combination of channels work better. Here are a few multi-touch models often used in recruitment marketing:

Linear: This type of model gives equal credit to all the touchpoints the candidate made until conversion. The linear model gives more information about the candidate’s interaction with the company. However, because it gives equal credit to all the channels, it doesn’t help when trying to decide which one was more effective. 

For example, an SEO expert is looking for a new job, and he saw an ad on Instagram and read the information for a few seconds. Then the candidate goes to research the company on Google, and later receives an email about the position and decides to apply. All three of the channels receive equal credit for the application. 

Time Decay: This model also distributes the credit between all the touchpoints, but instead of doing it equally, it gives more credit to the ones that are closest in time to the conversion. So let’s say on Monday a candidate sees a post on Facebook about a job opening. Then on Tuesday, he sees the same job posting on Indeed.

On Wednesday, he decides to research the company and goes to the LinkedIn profile and, at last, he applies. LinkedIn will be given the most credit in this case, followed by Indeed and then Facebook. 

Weighted Multi-Touch: This model is an excellent option because it gives credit to all of the touchpoints, but the way it distributes it is different than the models mentioned before. It provides 40 percent credit to the first and last interactions each, and the remaining 20 percent is allocated to any other touchpoints the applicant made in the middle of their journey. Using the previous example, Facebook and LinkedIn will receive 40 percent credit each and Indeed only 20 percent.

In Summary

Recruiters should use the attribution model that works best for their goals. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; each one is better depending on the situation. There are some tools that companies (hint: get a demo from LeadsRx to see all of these attribution models in action) offer that allows recruiters to compare different attribution models to know which one gives them better results. 

What is certain is that recruiters have to use attribution to gain insight into the campaigns that produce more conversions. That way, they can make more accurate optimization decisions on their marketing campaigns and garner more applicants per dollar spent on advertising.

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