Attribution Model

An attribution model refers to the set of rules that determine which marketing channels should be credited for conversions at various stages of the customer journey. With one or multiple models, you can identify the most valuable touchpoints for your marketing campaigns. 

The modern business landscape has a myriad of touchpoints. It can be challenging for you to determine which ones are generating leads that move down the marketing funnel

Just looking at vanity metrics, such as the number of comments or link shares, won’t help you fully gauge the success of your campaigns. You have to delve into the nitty-gritty details, like how leads discovered your content or what made them move down the funnel.

Why Does Attribution Matter?

Using one or more attribution models for your campaigns can help you eliminate the need for guesswork. You can understand the entire customer journey from start to finish. You’ll also be able to identify which pillars of your marketing efforts are working and which ones would need to be stopped or adjusted.

Say, you find out your social media ads aren’t making conversions. It might be better for you to pause or to revamp your social strategy.

Here are some of the advantages of choosing the right attribution model.

  • You can improve budget allocation for paid media.
  • You can identify weak marketing efforts and revamp them.
  • You can identify the most valuable touchpoints.

What Are the Different Attribution Models?

There are various attribution models, and each comes with its own advantages and drawbacks. Make sure you look into every model to determine which is most suitable for your business and your marketing channels.

Here are the most common attribution models:

  • First interaction

The first interaction attribution model gives credit to the first touchpoint. It ignores subsequent engagements with other marketing campaigns before the conversion. It only focuses on the first touchpoint. 

This is the easiest to set up, as it doesn’t entail a lot of analysis. However, as it only focuses on the first click, it doesn’t illustrate the full consumer journey.

  • Last interaction

Similar to the first interaction, this is a single-source attribution model. It gives 100% of the credit to the last touchpoint. It’s useful for identifying the channels that provide the most number of conversions. 

The last interaction model only focuses on what drove the prospect to convert. Everything that precedes this is ignored. Hence, it also doesn’t illustrate the entire customer journey. That means you won’t be able to fully understand what works and what doesn’t.

  • Last non-direct click

This model gives credit to the last touchpoint that customers click before converting. In other words, it only focuses on non-direct traffic, leaving out other direct interactions that might have transpired prior to the conversion.

  • Linear

In a linear attribution model, multiple touchpoints can share the credit for a single conversion. If a certain prospect ends up on your blog after a quick Google search, sign up for your newsletter, but leave your site without making a purchase, you can track this site visitor and retarget via a Facebook ad that can help convince them to not only revisit your site but also convert. 

All of the touchpoints that the prospect interacted with receive credit for the conversion. If you’re trying to understand your overall marketing strategy, this model would be very helpful.

  • Time-decay

It is similar to the linear attribution model in that it gives all relevant touchpoints credit for each conversion. However, it takes time into consideration. The most recent interactions get more credit. 

For brands that deal with long sales cycles, such as costly B2B purchases, the time-decay attribution model can be the most beneficial.

  • Position-based

Also called a U-shaped attribution model, this model gives attributes conversion to three touchpoints. The first and last touch touchpoints receive 40% of the credit, while the middle point receives 20%.

How to Choose the Right Attribution Model

Brands use unique marketing strategies that fit their needs and goals. Similarly, you’ll have to use the right attribution model that matches your business.

Choosing the right model can be tricky, but not impossible. You can look at the values and insights that each model can provide. Then, select the ones that can fulfill your marketing analytics needs. You can combine different models to gather comprehensive and accurate insights for your campaigns.

About the Author
With over 15 years in content marketing, Werner founded Influencer Marketing Hub in 2016. He successfully grew the platform to attract 5 million monthly visitors, making it a key site for brand marketers globally. His efforts led to the company's acquisition in 2020. Additionally, Werner's expertise has been recognized by major marketing and tech publications, including Forbes, TechCrunch, BBC and Wired.