How are you measuring List Attribution?

By Jeff Cracolici

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Marketing Manager & Digital Expert

For both Marketers and List Brokers who rent multiple lists for acquisition campaigns, measuring the impact each list has on the success of the campaign is vital. When each list’s success is attributed accurately, not only can you make intelligent marketing decisions based on what works and what doesn’t work, but you can use the attribution to negotiate better rates with List Owners. Overall, with proper list attribution measurements in place, you can buy smarter and negotiate harder.

There are two main ways that list attribution is performed for mailing campaigns: the prioritization method and the true-list method.

The Prioritization Method Of List Attribution

In the prioritization method of list attribution, the process begins by initially ranking the various lists from the top-most priority to the lowest priority. Priority can be determined by a variety of factors such as the length of time the list has been part of a mail plan, the cost of the names, net name arrangements, the relationships your company has with the list managers or owners, and so on. After the lists have been ranked, all or a significant portion of the “credit” for a response is given to the highest-priority list.

For instance, let’s say we want to measure attribution using the Prioritization Method. Before we start, the Mailer or List Broker instructed us to prioritize the lists from the highest CPM to the lowest.

Our first responder is John Smith from 123 Main Street in Anytown, NY. John Smith’s name and address came from List04, List07, List08 and List12. Since List04 is the highest priority of the four list sources, the credit for his response is given to List04 and not to the others.

After credit is allocated for the first responder, the breakdown of each list’s performance is as followed:


Of course, the process is repeated for every response hereafter.

The Pros And Cons Of The Prioritization Method

The chief advantages of the prioritization method are that it is simple to perform and it gives you a high level of control over which lists receive credit based on the list priority you choose. The disadvantage is that the prioritization method can give you an incomplete or misleading picture. In the aforementioned example, even though List04, List07, List08 and List12 all provided the responsive name, only List04 is credited. This skews the success of the other lists providing responsive names, keeping you from seeing the full role of the other sources in providing high-quality names.

The True-List Method Of List Attribution

The true-list method of list attribution, unlike the prioritization method, does not assign a priority to every list source. Each source is considered an independent entity.

If you are using the true-list method, credit is given to every list source from which a responsive name comes. Thus, when a response comes from a name provided by List04, List07, List08 and List12, response credit is given to all of those sources.

Continuing with our example of responder John Smith, using the true-list method gives credit for his response to every list on which his name originally appeared, not just List04:


The Pros And Cons Of The True-List Method

Many companies and organizations prefer this method because it ties back and allocates each responsive name to all the lists from which it came, giving you a clearer overall picture of which list source performed the best for the money spent on it. However, this process is more involved than the prioritization method of list attribution and tt requires more coordination with your merge shop and your list broker.

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Choosing The Best Method Of List Attribution

Whether you choose the prioritization method or the true-list method of list attribution will depend on the specific needs of your company or organization. Consider the options carefully so that you will know which method will help you get the most bang for your promotional buck.

Contact us to learn more about the True List Attribution Method.

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Published on Nov. 05, 2015, Last Updated on Aug. 02, 2022