Understanding Klaviyo message attribution

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Learn about Klaviyo's message attribution reporting or the ability to review which of your specific messages or channels led to customer actions. Within Klaviyo, there are various analytics tools that focus specifically on how campaign and flow messages perform. In these analytics reports, we group together message attribution or the date that the message was sent that led to any subscriber actions (e.g., opens, clicks, bounces, purchases, etc.). Message attribution can provide insights you can use to grow your business or improve your Klaviyo messaging and channels.

Looking for more information about how Klaviyo tracks and attributes conversions? Head to our  conversion tracking guide.

What is message attribution?

Message attribution assesses customer actions and revenue across each marketing channel and message. Attribution helps you to identify which channel, message, or strategy was most successful, so you can effectively allocate resources to those activities or adjust them as needed. 

How does Klaviyo assign message attribution?

Every platform or vendor may define message attribution slightly differently and it’s important to be aware of these differences.

In Klaviyo, our message attribution follows a cooperative last touch model. This means that we give email and SMS messaging their own configurable and distinct message attribution windows, and only attribute a customer event (e.g., placed order) to the last message within these separate or overlapping windows.

Klaviyo attribution timing for email vs. SMS

For both email and SMS, we look at message attribution per day. As a result, whatever day you send a message will be the day we will count all attributed rates and events.

For example, if you email all recipients on a Friday and they open this email on both Friday and Saturday, those opens will be attributed to only Friday. In any Klaviyo reporting that uses attribution windows, the message attribution dates will reflect the original day you sent the message.

Email default attribution window

By default, the attribution window is 5 days for email, but you can adjust this setting in your account's email settings. Learn how to change your email attribution setting.

Other providers may have default attribution windows that are 7 days, 10 days, 14 days, or even longer. But relying on industry research, Klaviyo has determined that subscribers forget most emails after the 5-day mark, and thus we use the 5-day window to show attribution.

The example below explains this in more specific terms using the default 5-day email attribution window:

  • Day 1
    You send an email message to your customer and they open it.
  • Day 2
    The subscriber opens this email again and clicks on a link to an offer for a product.
  • Day 4
    Then on day 4, they ultimately come back and purchase that product.

In the example above, it would attribute revenue to email within the 5-day attribution window. However, if the customer were to make the purchase on day 12, then this would not be attributed to the original email.

Learn more about how Klaviyo tracks opens and clicks in email, and how to potentially mitigate Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) affecting your tracking.

SMS default attribution window

By default, the attribution window is 24 hours for SMS messages, but you can adjust this setting in your account's email settings. Learn how to change your SMS attribution setting.

Similar to email, other providers may have attribution windows that differ from Klaviyo’s default setting. However, since someone typically views text messages immediately and initiates an action, Klaviyo has determined that 24 hours is when most customer actions would take place.

The example below explains this in more specific terms using the default 24-hour SMS attribution window:

  • Hour 1
    Your subscriber receives your SMS message.
  • Hour 3
    Your subscriber opens the message.
  • Hour 10
    They reopen your message, click the link, and then make a purchase on your site.

In this example, the customer’s purchase would be attributed to this SMS message. However, if your customer made the purchase 3 days later, then the purchase would not be attributed to this SMS message, as the purchase took place outside of the attribution window.

Learn more about how Klaviyo tracks SMS conversions and revenue.

Email and SMS sends together and attribution tracking

In the examples above, email and SMS messages are sent separately with their own attribution windows. However, the example below shows what would happen if you sent both an email and SMS message around the same time.

Using the default 5-day email and 24-hour SMS attribution windows:

  • Day 1
    You send both an email and SMS message to your customer, and they open both.
  • Day 3
    The customer clicks into SMS again but does not purchase.
  • Day 4
    Then on day 4, they ultimately come back and purchase that product. 

In this example, it would attribute the revenue to email because email was the last message that Klaviyo could attribute to a specific subscriber event. Even though the customer clicked on the SMS message last, since we set our SMS attribution window at 24 hours, we did not attribute it to that SMS message but to the original email. Thus, it’s important to be mindful of both your email and SMS attribution window settings and how this may affect your data.

Klaviyo message attribution in analytics reports

Many of the Klaviyo analytics tools that focus on campaign and flow reporting use this email vs. SMS message attribution model. However, it’s important to know that not all reports use these attribution windows to sort their data.

Reports that use message attribution to sort their data and rates:

It’s important to note that the analytics and performance dashboards only look at attributions within the timeframe you selected. In other words, these reports will only look at sends and conversions that occur within the timeframe you chose for your report. For example, you set up your report to look at conversions in October 2022. However, if you had conversions occur into November from an email you sent in October it will not be reflected, as the report it only looking for October conversions. Thus, it’s important to be mindful of the timeframe you pull in either of these reporting tools.

For those reports that do not use the message attribution windows, any event data (e.g., opens and clicks) are grouped based on the date those specific events happen. They will not be based on the day an attributed message was sent.

Analytics reports that do not sort data and rates by attributed message send date:

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