The “Direct” Abyss – How to Reduce Your “Direct” Attribution to the Realistic 5%

It is a common problem when looking at revenue attribution – the majority of your revenue is attributed to “Direct.” Many companies have 40%-50% of their revenue attributed to Direct, while it should be around 5%. You know it isn’t correct; you know that your marketing activities create a larger impact than it may seem, but the majority of your attribution falls into this “Direct Abyss” – it is frustrating! There are many articles discussing how it impacts your Google Analytics views. However, the problem doesn’t end there – when moving down the funnel, you have additional drop-off points, making direct attribution part of your dark funnel.

When looking at the whole funnel, you can see that “Direct” becomes the default for any non-attributed touchpoint along with “Other.”


So why does your revenue get attributed to "Direct"?

Well, it comes down to a basic problem when it comes to correct revenue attribution – data. The data flow and structure are all off.

  • Default marketing data structure is disjointed and disparate. Ad systems, search engines, email clients, lead providers, and any other systems sending traffic to your website won’t always send all relevant data.
  • Website visitors block cookie tracking – you can’t really know what generated their visit.
  • Not all leads come through your website; you upload lists to your CRM, and leads are added manually by various teams. Many times lead sources are not recorded correctly.
  • Actual direct visits from email clients, direct URLs, mobile apps, and other actual direct sources.
  • URLs not tagged correctly – you are running campaigns on various networks, using partners for web referrals, but you don’t work with a tagging or UTM system.
  • Simplistic funnel view – looking at first-touch or last-touch attribution models while ignoring the dozens of touchpoints in between.
  • CRM data inconsistencies – Salesforce separation between lead and contact becomes problematic when not converted correctly. Duplications of leads, contacts, and accounts create additional data loss.
  • Dependency on manual processes – not attaching relevant contacts to deals or opportunities, causing you to lose historical data when it comes to revenue attribution.
  • Outdated automations in your CRM changing touchpoint details.

How do you solve the "Direct" revenue attribution?

  • Make sure all ad platforms and services sending traffic to your website are set up correctly and sending data to your website and CRM. Don’t be lazy – test it out.
  • Be strict and consistent with your URL tracking. Use an easy-to-understand tracking structure and stick to it.
  • When uploading leads directly to your CRM, make sure to add source details such as event name and lead provider name.
  • Work with your marketing, sales development, and sales teams to do their CRM admin work correctly, especially when it comes to converting leads to contacts, merging leads/contacts/accounts, and attaching correct contacts to deals/opportunities.
  • Review your CRM automations once every few months and remove outdated automations.
  • Adopt a deeper view of your funnel. Take account of all the touches between your first and last touches – they shouldn’t be ignored.
  • Use an external database to aggregate data from all sources and work with data teams to restructure and fix the data – this solution may be quite cost-heavy.
  • Onboard a marketing attribution platform (like InfiniGrow) that does most of the tasks above automatically and enables you to analyze your data easily with multiple attribution models and see the whole journey at account and contact levels.

Your marketing activities are providing impact!

You will always have traffic attributed to “Direct” and “Other,” but it shouldn’t be 50% (or even more in some cases). The actual direct traffic should usually be around 5%. Each of these activities above will help you reduce it to the actual level it is supposed to be. InfiniGrow customers were able to reduce their “Direct” and “Other” revenue attribution by more than 80% to their actual realistic level. Reach out to see how it is done.