Marketing Attribution - Which Channels get the credit in a Multi Touchpoint World?

Marketing Attribution in a Multi-Touchpoint World

How are your customers finding your website? This is an honest question that many brands simply can’t answer. While most can give you an idea of what is increasing sales by the different types of marketing campaigns they have going, very few can give you definitive data about where shoppers are coming from.

If you fall into the latter category, it might be time to invest in some additional reporting. However, with so many different marketing tactics out there, how do you know which ones are really contributing to your sales?

Here is what you need to know about marketing attribution in a multi-touchpoint world.

What is Marketing Attribution?

Marketing attribution is simply being able to determine where a customer came from and how they found your website. The real goal of this process is to understand all the different touchpoints where a potential customer finds out about your brand and then decides to finally make a purchase. It is important because it gives you a much clearer insight into where you need to invest your money and attention for future campaigns.

Why Marketing Attribution is Difficult

We’ve really reached a time when true marketing attribution is incredibly difficult. It used to be simple enough to ask a customer who walked into your brick-and-mortar store how they heard about your business. Now, a customer might see you on a Google ad, interact with you on Facebook, visit your website four times, and then get an abandoned cart email before they ever make a single purchase.

Furthermore, most marketing attribution is based on behind-the-scenes elements like cookies and clicks. As more jurisdictions become tougher regarding privacy, it can become much harder to try to determine where a customer’s purchase truly came from. This is why there is no single marketing attribution strategy that is 100% correct.

Tips for a Better Marketing Attribution Strategy

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make it easier to tell where your customers are actually coming from. Three tips for doing so include:

  • Make sure you correctly set up pixels and conversion tracking including Facebook Pixel, Google Ads Conversion Tracking, and goals/events in Google Analytics.
  • Have a consistent system for Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) tagging to get a complete picture of your customer’s journey.
  • Have a clear understanding of what marketing attribution is and why it matters to your overall strategy.

Six Most Common Marketing Attribution Models

Of course, you also need to know what the various types of attribution processes are so that you can decide where or how to use them. The six most common marketing attribution models are:

Last Click

This is the most commonly used model and one of the easier ones to track. This is where 100% of the conversion credit goes to the last clicked ad or keyword the shopper touched. For example, say a customer sees your Facebook ad, goes to your website, and then decides not to purchase right before finishing the checkout process. You send an abandoned cart email and they finally buy. Even though they had been in touch with your website through various other methods, the email would get the final attribution.

First Click

The first click attribution model is the exact opposite of the last click model. In the example given above, the first Facebook ad they see would be given the credit, even though it was ultimately the abandoned cart email that led to the conversion. The problem with this is that it doesn’t take into account remarketing efforts and could be skewing your results, making it easier to miss out on potential opportunities in the future.


With linear marketing attribution, all touchpoints are given a share of the conversion credit. For example, if there are four different interactions before a conversion, each one would share it at 25%. It is a great way to get a full picture of your customer’s journey, but it doesn’t always give you information on the full impact of which one led to the ultimate purchase decision.

Time Decay

Time decay is similar to linear, but it doesn’t split up the credit equally. Instead, it gives more weight to the interactions that happen closer to the actual time of purchase. For example, if the first interaction was three weeks ago and the last three interactions were within days, those final three would receive a higher percentage of the attribution credit.


Position-based attribution modeling is related to linear, but it gives the most weight to the first and last clicks in a series of touches. This can be helpful if first click and last click attribution are the most important to you.

Algorithmic or Custom

Once you have enough data, you can use certain algorithms to help determine which platform needs the highest amount of credit. Usually, this is a pretty advanced form of marketing attribution.

Understanding the Customer Journey

Understanding where and how your customers are finding your website is important. Marketing attribution takes a little bit of time and patience to learn, but it is well worth it in the end to have data that backs up your marketing and budget decisions.

For most online brands, the process of setting up detailed marketing attribution requires the help of an experienced team. At CAKE, we have what it takes to not only help you perfect your marketing mix but understand where all of that sweet success is coming from. Please contact us today to learn more.