Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Master Guide To Marketing Attribution Models To Grow Your Business

As a Digital Marketer, you would be using multiple channels to market your business including Google, Facebook, Email etc. It’s important for you to know which sources are performing and at what level during the customer journey.
Marketing attribution helps you to understand the journey of customer touch points in detail,  which further helps you to optimize marketing mix and drive more value from your marketing efforts.
This article will guide you in understanding marketing attribution, the types of marketing attribution and which one to choose to grow your business!
Let’s get started!

So What is Marketing Attribution?

Marketing Attribution is the process of identifying set of users action in the form of events or touch points which leads to a conversion or sale.
In simple words, it’s the action taken by the user during the journey of a sale from seeing an ad to buying the product.

Different Types of Marketing Attribution Models!

  1. First-Touch Attribution Model
  2. Last-Touch Attribution Model
  3. Linear (Even Weighted) Attribution Model
  4. Time-Decay Attribution Model
  5. U-Shaped or Position Based Attribution Model
  6. W-Shaped Attribution Model
  7. Algorithmic Attribution Model
Let’s understand each one in details!
1. First-Touch Attribution Model
First-Touch attribution model also known as the first click attribution model, which gives all credit to the first click/first touch, that leads a user to a website.
First Click Attribution Model
This model is applicable to the users if they don’t fill up a form or subscribe or purchase on the website. This model helps you to understand the entry source of the customer on your website which is also driving value to your business.
If you go first-touch attribution model, you actually don’t know which other touch points contributed to a conversion in the journey. So it’s not that helpful, to review the key factor which generated conversion.
First-touch attribution model can be used when your objective is awareness and driving visitors to your website, in this case you want to know from where the users are entering your website. If you are looking to understand the conversion funnel, I won’t recommend going with first-touch attribution model
2. Last-Touch Attribution Model
Last-touch attribution model is also known as last click attribution model. In this model the entire credit is given to the last click which generated a conversion or a sale.
Last Click Attribution Model
Most of the marketers go with his model because they want to know which keyword generated conversion or which website generated conversion or through which source the actual conversion happened.
This model will completely focus on the last touch point. But you won’t understand which other touch points were part of the customer journey, because to you, they would also be equally important to understand and optimize them in the funnel.
You should look for “Last Non-Direct Click” on Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of the campaign, here it ignores the direct click
3. Linear (Even Weighted) Attribution Model
A Linear attribution model gives equal credit to all the touch points in the customer journey. In this model we are able to understand all the touch points which actually generated conversion or sale, this helps us to further define our marketing strategy.
Linear Attribution Model
The only challenge with this model is that we actually don’t know which touch point was the major contributor to the final action, who ideally should get the maximum credit.   
I would go with linear attribution model if my objective is to understand what all touch points are generating sales. Through this I know all customer touch points which are driving value to my business and I can further optimize them.
4. Time Decay Attribution Model
Time decay attribution model gives maximum credit to the touch point which was closer to the point of conversion. It gives different values to each touch point from the point of interaction to the point of conversion with the last touch getting the maximum and the first touch getting the minimum, refer below.Time Decay Attribution Model
This model ignores what touchpoints actually directed a visitor to a website or business. It’s not a recommended attribution model.
5. U-Shaped or Position Based Attribution Model
U-shaped attribution model is also called as position based attribution model. In this model, the first touch and the last touch is credited with 40% each as the value and the remaining 20% is divided between the other touch points.
U Shaped Attribution Model
In this model, all the touch points get credit, whereas first and last touch points are considered as the key drivers for action, so they are credited with 40% each as the credit.
The other touch points between first and last are also important touch points when we are looking at the consumer journey, so giving credit to first and last ignores the importance of other touch points, as they are equally important for the action to happen. Won’t recommend with going U-Shaped or Position based attribution model.
6. W-Shaped Attribution Model
W-shaped attribution model is similar to U-shaped attribution model. But in W-shaped model, the credit is given to the touch point where a user is converted to a lead. This action takes place somewhere in the middle of the journey, hence it is known as W shaped attribution model. The remaining credit is divided between the other touch points other than first and last.
The three touch points are credited with 30% value for each and the rest of 10% is credited to the remaining touch points.
W Shaped Attribution Model
Won’t recommend this model as each and every touch point is getting a credit but the remaining one’s are credited with a lower value, ideally everyone should get equal value.
7. Algorithmic Attribution Model
Algorithmic attribution model also known as custom attribution model is an attribution model where you can custom set the credit value for each touch point basis your understanding. I have defined credit value for each touch point as below, as I want to give a bit higher credit to the first touch point as it starts the consumer journey and then I have given low credit to rest of the touch points which are in between the first and last touch point. Finally, for the last touch point I have given maximum credit, as that touch point is driving the action.Algorithmic Attribution Model
In order to set up this model, you would need a developers help to do so. Also basis the results you have to keep optimizing the efforts. It’s one of the best from the above all but would need technical guidance to setup, which might also consume some time.

So How to choose the right marketing attribution model for your business?

It’s important to select the right marketing attribution model for your business because basis multiple touch point data you would effectively optimize your marketing efforts leading to higher ROI. Below are a few factors which you should consider before selecting the attribution model for your business.
1. Sources Contributing To Action
Check the sources which are contributing to actions. Google analytics help you to understand which sources are performing for your website. Have a look at the below sources which show how each source is performing.
Google Analytics Sources
2. Check Different Touch Points For Conversions
Check different touch points which are part of the consumer journey prior to the conversion. Google analytics allows you to check the multiple touch points of the journey. 
Google Analytics Assisted Conversions
3. Time To Convert Users
Know how much time it takes for users to convert post their first interaction with your business. This will help you to understand the duration and then you can mapp it with different touch points in the entire journey.
Google analytics helps you to understand the time to convert users under time lag report.
Time Lag in Google Analytics
4. Define Campaign Objective
Define campaign objective which will help you to choose the right attribution model for your business. If your objective is to generate awareness for your brand, then first touch attribution model is effective to measure the entry point for your customer.
If your objective is leads or sales, you can go with last touch or linear attribution model. If you go with last touch, it will help you to identify the last touch which is driving maximum results, basis which you can effectively optimize the touch point.
If you are going with linear, which I also prefer because, it helps me to understand each touch point in the entire consumer journey, which further helps me to build an effective strategy focused on each touch point.
5. Run Experiments & Optimize
Every touch point in the journey has a role to play, so you need to experiment continuously with different strategies including your ad copies, bidding strategies, targeting aspects etc so that you know how significantly it’s helping you to improve your conversions on a regular basis.


Selecting the right marketing attribution model is important for your business, this will help you to effectively improve your performance and reduce marketing efforts for all the touch points in the entire consumer journey. Set up your marketing attribution model today and let me know how much value it’s adding to your business!

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