Understanding Multi-Touch Attribution

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 … 

Understanding multi-touch attribution is something that new marketers and business owners often struggle with. But does it have to be so complicated? 

Have you been spending time, energy, and money building beautiful campaigns but only tracking the first and last touchpoints of your customer journey?  

Multi-touch attribution may be the answer you’ve been looking for. It offers more data, more flexibility, and greater insights into how your campaigns and customers interact. 

Let’s dive a little deeper into multi-touch attribution and what it can do for your business.

What is multi-touch attribution?

To put it simply, multi-touch attribution is about measuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts that takes into consideration all touchpoints a customer experiences along your customer journey. Essentially, multi-touch attribution allows you to assign a credit value to each touchpoint, so you can understand which touchpoints are the most valuable.

If you’re looking for a data-rich alternative to rules-based attribution approaches, including first- and last-touch, multi-touch attribution is something your business should be seriously considering. 

Single-touch attribution 

There’s a good chance you’re already familiar with rules-based attribution. However, for the uninitiated, let’s take a closer look, so we can better understand how it differs from multi-touch attribution. 

Last-touch attribution: The last-touch model attributes 100% of the credit for an event, such as a sale or lead, to the last touchpoint of your customer journey. Nowadays, with so many channels and different touchpoints at our disposal, last-touch attribution is mostly used as a baseline. Establishing a strong baseline is essential, as it allows marketers to understand the true impact of the multi-touch attribution touchpoints it’s being compared with. 

First-touch: in the same way that last-touch attributes 100% of the credit to the last touchpoint, first-touch attribution gives credit to the first touchpoint. First-touch attribution is excellent for awareness analysis. 

Which multi-touch model is suitable for you?

Just like a single-touch attribution, multi-touch attribution offers a few different models from which to choose. Depending on what you are trying to achieve or how in-depth you wish to go with your analytics, picking the suitable model is an important starting point.

Let’s take a look at three rules-based multi-touch attribution models that you may want to consider.  

Even Weighting: The even weighting model is pretty straightforward. It assigns equal value to every touchpoint along your customer journey. If you are running a marketing campaign that you expect to have a long consideration cycle, even weighting is a great choice, as it allows you to reinforce your messaging right throughout your customer journey.  

Position Based: You may have heard of a position-based attribution model being referred to as a bathtub or u-shaped model. In this model type, your customer journey’s first and last touchpoints receive a larger share of credit than the middle touchpoints between them. A position-based model is a great way to make a bit of trial and error with your first and last touchpoints and see what combination works well for you. 

Time Decay: The time-decay model is where things start to sound a little bit more complicated, but it’s a straightforward system. In this model, your credit percentage gradually builds up as it gets closer and closer to the last touchpoint in your customer journey. A time-decay model is great for short campaigns like promotions, competitions, and giveaways. 

We all want to know just how effective each step in our customer journey is, and multi-touch attribution is a great place to start.

Want to go back to basics? Check out our customer journey mapping guide