Types of Marketing Attribution Models

Attribution modeling is generally known to be one of the most hotly contested areas of marketing today. There are several methods of attribution that every marketer must get themselves aligned with to scale through. And they do have their pros and cons. Ranging from basic, single-factor models to advanced models, it is important to understand the various approaches to establishing an effective marketing attribution.

Marketing attribution models can be generally grouped into three (3) main categories including:

–    Single source attribution

–    Multi-source attribution

–    Weighted multi-source attribution

Single-Source Attribution

In the single source attribution model, only one interaction gets all the credit. Basically, all the credit is assigned to just one touchpoint which could either be the last or first touch. Unfortunately, this method of attribution is generally considered inaccurate and archaic because there is rarely any shortage of marketing channels to engage with customers today.

Last-Click Attribution Model

This is one common attribution model that assigns all the credit derived from a conversion to the last source utilized by a customer before conversion. Basically, the Last-Click Attribution places emphasis on locating the most effective bottom of the funnel marketing channels.

It may interest you to know that most systems such as Google Analytics display this form of attribution model as their default model in their standard reports. With this model, it is relatively easy to identify where to give credit because it is the last touchpoint before the final sale. This may practically be a sales call or a final pitch deck. The last-click or last–touch attribution model often misses out on key insights on other valuable marketing channels because it does not account for any prior interactions such as prospective customer’s interactions with the lead qualification team or simple website visits.

Most marketers will employ this attribution model particularly when they want to give their prospects the final push they need to convert. The Last-Click Attribution model can be also very helpful in determining those marketing channels that are the “closers.”

First-Click Attribution Model

The First-Click or First-Touch Attribution model is employed to play emphasis on finding the most effective top of the funnel marketing channels. While on their journey to a conversion, customers do often make use of several touchpoints. Using this attribution model will give the first touchpoint used by the customer all the credit for a conversion. When it comes to finding prospects that will eventually convert, the First-Click Attribution model can be very effective at identifying those efficient prospecting and brand awareness marketing channels.

Basically, it is only the first channel that the prospect interacted with that gets all the credit. All you’ll need to do is to tag the lead source and attribute it to the final conversion which makes it very easy to implement. However, it is important to note that the perceived effectiveness of other channels may be altered since it fails to account for any customer interactions after the initial touch.

Multi-Source Attribution

Though all touchpoints are involved in the entire conversion journey, it is important to note that each contributing channel in the multi-touch attribution (MTA) gets credit for contributing to the final conversion. These models offer attribution to multiple touchpoints, as they mostly account for the totality of a prospect’s journey. Attribution here could include everything from e-newsletters and webinars to social posts and ads.

Though this method may be considered as unbiased, it can be quite complex to implement and the model could still fail to account for the actual portion of contribution in each channel. The following are some of the MTA models commonly used by marketers.

Linear Attribution Model

Irrespective of the number of touchpoints available, the Linear Attribution model tends to assign the same credit to every marketing channel utilized by the customer on their way to conversion. Many marketers use this type of attribution model when they want to fully get insights on how their marketing channels contribute towards a conversion and the weight or percentage that can be obtained in the process.

This model can be very helpful in understanding how it influences your customer lifecycle at any point in time. If you are considering elimination of a channel from your marketing mix, this is just the way to go. Apart from the fact that the Linear Attribution model assigns equal revenue credit to all touchpoints, it is also good to know that it stands out to be the simplest multi-touch attribution (MTA) model.

Position-Based Attribution Model

In the customer’s journey to conversion, the Position-Based Attribution Model typically assigns the most credit of about 40 percent each to the two touchpoints (mostly the first and last interaction) and then spreads the rest among the other marketing channels. Marketers who do not want to ignore their middle of funnel campaigns that are supporting customers along the sales cycle to conversion but are looking to understand those prospecting and conversion campaigns that are working very effectively for them will need this attribution model.

Most platforms including Google Analytics will allow users to design their own custom Position-Based models in which they can assign their choice percentages among touchpoints by themselves through a custom model. Based on the typical buyer behavior, marketing channels used, and industry involved, teams can use custom methods to determine weighting percentages thereby making the Position-Based Attribution Model to be the most sophisticated attribution model.

Time-Decay Attribution Model

While placing more value on channels that played significant roles toward achieving conversion, this attribution model helps to assign credit to every touchpoint used by the customer along the way to conversion. When it comes to providing the impetus customers need to go through that lifecycle to conversion, the attribution model provides an efficient means of placing more emphasis on those channels.

This is particularly helpful for marketers who are looking to identify those lead nurture campaigns that are pulling customers to the finish line. As opposed to other models, the time decay attribution model assigns credit to more recent marketing touchpoints. Think B2B, you stand to get the touchpoints more spread out when you have a lengthier sales cycle.

Full Path Attribution Model

While lower weight can be distributed to the touchpoints in between, the major milestones of the prospect’s journey will get the bulk of the credit. Along with the final close, the full path attribution seeks to build on the W-shaped model. This model which tends to give interactions the same weight as early-stage marketing activities also accounts for the post-opportunity follow-up interactions of the sales team thus making it one of the model’s biggest benefits.

W-Shaped Attribution Model

The W-Shaped MTA model gives credit to three touchpoints laying emphasis on the lead creation, the first touch and the opportunity creation – an additional touchpoint. While the remaining touch points at the middle share 10 percent, the 3 key touchpoints receive 30 percent of the credit each.

U-Shaped Attribution Model

Like the W-Shaped MTA, the U-Shaped MTA affects all the touchpoints except that it lacks the opportunity creation touchpoint. The two key touch points – the lead creation and the first touch – receive 40 percent of the credit each while the remaining middle touches share 20 percent.

Weighted Multi-Source Attribution

Weighted Multi-Source Attribution Models are often very difficult to apply even when they are known to establish the most accurate depiction of the customer journey. Along with the extra detail of weighting the touchpoints that handled the most lifting, models in this category allow marketers to account for all interactions all through the sales cycle.

When an organization or business chooses to apply Weighted touchpoint modeling, a percentage of the revenue credit for a customer will be distributed among an array of touchpoints as established by the organization.