What You Should Know About Marketing Attribution

 In Marketing

Say you have a brand-new website launched and it’s doing extremely well. And how exactly do you determine the success of a website? Number of visitors for starters; no rocket science here. And what’s bringing them over to your website? Whatever’s drawing them in, includes your content, your search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, your social media works.

Granted that your marketing and sales levers work just fine, but what about getting a view of your buyer’s actual journey? You best have an answer to this question; especially if you sell. How about knowing all the marketing touchpoints that an end user interacted with before making that precious move thereby becoming a buyer to you?

What Is Marketing Attribution?

Marketing attribution can be defined as the science that determines the media which drives purchases and your predefined marketing goals. If you work in marketing, you’ll know just why “attribution” is a big deal. The credit or value (as a marketer or advertiser) that you assign to specific marketing touchpoints is basically what “marketing attribution” is. Marketing attribution helps take the guess work out of “what works in marketing”, nice and clean.

And when you allocate credit to conversions or engagement activities, you bridge the gap between the marketing data and the sales data. There you go, now you’ve also made the sales guys’ lives so much easier (or so you may believe).

Whether or not you care to admit, attributing a sale and/or the success of your marketing initiative, is an enterprise-wide affair. And a truly delicate one at that. Casting some light on the types of attribution models out there…

Marketing Attribution Models FYI

Single Source Attribution:

This model clearly credits just one source/touchpoint that led to the final conversion/engagement.

First-touch Attribution:

The first channel that the lead (end user) engaged with, is credited in this model. However, such practice alters the perceived effectiveness of the other channels that the lead engaged with after the first channel.

E.g. Attributing lead generation to a downloaded white paper etc.

What You Should Know About Marketing Attribution 1

Last-touch Attribution:

Attributes the final conversion to the last channel that the lead (end user) engaged with, missing out on how the user interacted with the other valuable marketing channels prior to the last channel.

E.g. Attributing the sale to an ad, discarding the buyer’s previous visits to your website and/or physical store.

Multi Source Attribution / Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA):

Attributes every channel or touchpoint that the buyer interacted with, right from any ads shown to him/her, to social media posts, to newsletters. Although this model credits every source, it fails to accurately measure the actual portion of contribution by individual sources. Naming 6 of the MTA models in practice today…


Gives equal revenue credit and weight to all the touchpoints involved. It’s the simplest MTA model as you can already tell.

Time Decay:

When the sales cycle becomes lengthy (say, in case of B2Bs), this model gives credit to the more recent marketing touchpoints and not the initial touchpoints as they did not influence the closure.


Credit in this model is divided majorly between 2 touchpoints – the first and the lead creation. About 40% credit goes to the first touchpoint and the lead creation touchpoint each and the remaining 20% is divided equally among those in between.


Thirty percent of the revenue credit is given to the first touchpoint, the opportunity creation and the lead creation each. The remaining 10% is shared by the middle touches.

Full Path:

Follows the same approach as the W-Shaped model, but also credits the final close. This model credits all the touchpoints, right from the early stage marketing initiatives to the sales team’s post-opportunity efforts; bulk credit is given to the critical touchpoints and the touches in between are assigned lower weights.


You do you! That’s what this model is, and it gives you the liberty to assign your own attribution weights. That way you can determine weighting percentages for yourselves (your business) based on buyer behaviour, marketing channels, industry and so on.

Weighted Multi Source Attribution:

Credit in this model is assigned to every single interaction in the sales cycle and especially attributes weight to the touchpoints that did all the heavy lifting. Although this model maps the buyer’s journey well, it is difficult to apply given its practical complications. The weighted multi source attribution model assigns revenue percentages (credit) for specific customers to an array of touchpoints as defined by the company’s chosen multi touch attribution (MTA) model.

Take The Guess Work Out

Everyone talks revenue and sales, but seldom do you make changes to your existing system to capture conversion and measure attribution in one go (and in real-time). Accepting that business does not and cannot work on guesses or vague signboards could save you big. I recently had a marketing head of a moderately large hotel chain confess that they could not identify leads courtesy their marketing efforts. It is challenging to keep up with the advancement in digital, marketing approaches, unification of marketing and analytics platforms for it’s all happening right now – real-time. You cannot see it, just like the streak of time, but you most definitely can feel it.

And if you feel like you should better understand your customers and what influences them, you’d better invest in martech. It is not too late since you could cope up as far as you did, you most definitely can keep up. Find yourself just the right adtech partner who does it all – omnichannel marketing, performance tracking, analytics, attribution and up your game to match the customers’ evolving digital behaviour. Bear in mind that, while you tailor attribution models best suited for your line of business, ensure that you keep the user data collected, integrated with your DMPs, DSP and/or marketing tools. The attribution math, together with strong analytics and personalized creatives is what will get your foot right in.

Here’s to winning human hearts with humanized (or personalized) marketing! May the data be ever in your favour and may your attribution gauging models propel your future advertising and marketing initiatives lucratively.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

What You Should Know About Marketing Attribution 2What You Should Know About Marketing Attribution 3