Online Marketing & Digital Marketing

Attribution Models: What You Need to Know

  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.

By Chantal India, on 29 June 2021

As a marketing expert, you will already be familiar with the wide variety of online and offline marketing channels at your disposal for carrying out your campaigns. The right strategy includes a blend of offline and digital marketing processes, but which channels work best?

This is where attribution models come in. A marketing attribution model can help you work out which channels and campaigns are most effective. In other words, which strategies are generating the most clicks and attracting the most traffic to your website.

In this article, we will look at what a marketing attribution model is, what the various types focus on, and how implementing a model in your marketing strategy can increase those all-important conversions and benefit your bottom line.

* Do you want to improve or kickstart your SEM strategy? We're sharing  everything you need to know about SEM and Google Ads in our FREE ebook!  Download it here.

Attribution Models What You Need to Know

What Is Marketing Attribution?

Put simply, attribution models help you credit conversions to your various marketing channels. When a potential customer visits your website, they interact with it in a number of ways. The same goes for your email, social media ads, and campaigns. By analyzing visits and clicks, you can understand how your campaigns are performing, and which strategies are giving you the highest return on investment.

Armed with data from your marketing attribution model, you can then adapt your campaigns and fine-tune the best strategy for attracting users and converting them into sales. Anything else is just reaching around in the dark.

What Are the Different Types of Attribution Models?

There are eight different attribution models. Each one serves a different purpose and relies on varying data to calculate results. The marketing attribution model you go for will depend on your current and future marketing strategy.

  • First-click attribution model: gives credit to the first touchpoint
  • Last-click attribution model: gives credit to the last touchpoint
  • Last non-direct click attribution model: gives credit to the last place a user clicked
  • Linear attribution model: gives credit to multiple touchpoints
  • Position-based attribution model: 40% credit is assigned to both the first and last interactions, and the remaining 20% credit is distributed evenly to the middle interactions
  • Time-decay attribution model: gives increasing credit to each channel that drives a customer closer to the actual conversion
  • Data-driven attribution model: uses technical algorithms and weighted credit to determine which channels are actually driving success
  • Last AdWords-click attribution model: the last click is given credit for a sale or conversion

Let’s take a look at some of these in a bit more detail.

First-Click Attribution Model

The first-click marketing attribution model analyzes a user’s first touchpoint. It doesn’t take into account conversions. What is the first thing a user clicks on when they view one of your online campaigns? What strategies are most effective at directing them to your website. Do you get more first clicks from email campaigns or social media posts? Ultimately, which marketing activities are introducing the most potential customers to your brand?

Last-Click Attribution Model

Yes, you’ve guessed it: the last-click marketing attribution model is all about that all-important final click. It analyzes the last thing a visitor clicks on before they convert into a sale. Introducing your brand to potential customers is obviously very important, but you also need to know which strategies are converting them into actual sales.

Linear Attribution Model

With so many attribution models available, it can be difficult to know which would work best for your business. Or perhaps you value your multi-channel approach, and you just want to know how each one is contributing to your sales.

That’s where the linear attribution model comes in. With this model, equal credit is given to all channels that a customer visits or clicks before making a purchase. It gives you the full picture. Instead of focusing just on what works best, it’s about having a roadmap of each step in the purchasing process. For example, if a user interacted with four channels before making a purchase (such as a social media post, an email, an AdWords campaign and a video), then each channel would be assigned 25% credit for the sale.

Which Attribution Model Is Right for Your Business?

With such a wide variety of attribution models, it can be difficult to know which one would work best for your business. Should you be focusing on the first click, last click, or other factors such as the time it took to convert a customer or general data and algorithms?

If you are new to attribution models, then the best advice is to try a few options to see what works best. The more data you collect, the better you'll understanding the impact of your marketing strategies.

The following sections include a few tips to consider before you make your choice.

Brand & Behavior

Attribution models are all about statistics. They don’t take into account the perception of your brand and how your customers behave. It’s all well and good having the data, but make sure you also understand the impact of your brand on your customers.

Market Bias

Attribution models also don’t take into account the relationship between online activity and offline sales. Make sure you keep this in mind when you analyse your attribution data. Is that new sale directly linked to your email campaign, or was the individual already planning on making a sale after visiting your store? Remember to make allowances where appropriate.

Missing Message Signal

The final point worth mentioning is the importance of what you are saying. The right channel may reach a bigger audience, but if what you have to say is of no apparent value, then it is a waste of time. Make sure all your copy is carefully tailored to your target audience for each channel. That way you will get the most from your marketing attribution model and ultimately make more sales!

SEM and Google Ads Ebook

Chantal India