What is marketing attribution and why you should care - ClickZ

30-second summary:

  • As marketers, it is important to consider marketing attribution to see what is working for the brand and what is not
  • Attribution helps in uncovering the channels that are driving the most value for your business, leading to a better return on investment
  • In this article, we take a look at the most common attribution models and how they can be helpful, helping you choose the best one for your clients

There is a lot of talk about marketing attribution, and rightly so. It’s a hot topic in the marketing world, but what does it really mean? Basically, it is all about tracking the different ways customers interact with your brand and figuring out which ones led to a sale. As a marketer, it’s our job to use this information to see what is working and what is not. It may seem a bit overwhelming, but this article will clear the concept up to a great deal. We’ll take a look at the most common attribution models and what they mean, and give you some tips on how to choose the right model for your clients.

Marketing attribution: Uncovering the touchpoints behind a sale

Attribution is the analysis of the touchpoints that lead to a sale or purchase in marketing. With the average consumer requiring 15 or more touchpoints before making a decision, it’s crucial for marketers to understand which touchpoints are the most effective.

Attribution helps in uncovering the channels that are driving the most value for your business, leading to a better return on investment.

The goal of attribution modelling is to help us understand how effective our marketing efforts are and use our resources wisely. (Read more...) are different methods for attribution modelling, and each one gives credit to different touchpoints in the customer journey. So, we can choose the one that works best for us.

Some of the common attribution models in use are:

First click attribution

Let us discuss the First Click attribution model, which assigns all credit for a purchase to the first touchpoint a customer interacts with. For instance, if a customer’s journey starts with Facebook, Facebook would receive full credit for the purchase.

The decision to use the First Click attribution model depends on the business and media buying strategy. If the first touchpoint is deemed more important than the last, then this attribution model is suitable.

A potential use case for First Click attribution is to understand the efficacy of top-of-funnel efforts. It enables marketers to credit the first touchpoint for introducing a customer to the brand. This approach is particularly helpful in evaluating campaigns aimed at increasing brand awareness.

Last click attribution

Let us now examine the Last Click attribution model, which attributes all credit for purchase to the last touchpoint before conversion. In the example of a customer journey starting with Facebook and ending with a Google purchase, Google would receive full credit for the sale.

When considering Last Click attribution, it is essential to weigh the relative importance of different touchpoints. For instance, one might ask whether the person who brought a customer to the store or the salesperson who closed the sale is more valuable.

Last Click attribution is an effective approach to measure channel health, but it can sometimes be misleading. For example, if a customer journey involves top-of-funnel Facebook ads doing most of the heavy lifting and a bottom-of-funnel Google conversion ad closing the sale, it may not be appropriate to assign full credit to the last touchpoint.

This sheds light on the importance of attribution models for considering the whole funnel journey instead of providing a definite view of a channel’s performance. Fractional attribution, which is the next model we will explore, allows marketers to distribute credit across touchpoints in a more nuanced manner.

Fractional attribution

Fractional attribution is a model that credits every touch point in the user journey and spreads credit across all the touch points from the first to the conversion. However, there are a few types of multi-touch attribution models.

One of them is the Linear model, which gives all the touch points on the customer journey the same credit for the purchase. All the touchpoints are assigned the same weights.

Marketing Attribution Linear Model

Another model is the Time Decay model, which gives more credit (weight) to touch points that occurred closer to the conversion.

marketing attribution Time Decay model

The U-Shaped model (also known as the Position-based model), on the other hand, gives the majority of the credit to the first and last touch points, while recognizing the touch points in between.

marketing attribution U-shaped model

The W-Shaped model is similar to the U-Shaped model, but it credits the three milestone touch points and divides the remaining credit evenly among the in-between touch points.

W-shaped model

Triple attribution

Finally, the Triple Attribution model credits the last ad clicked by the customer on a particular platform such as Facebook or Google. It is also known as “Last Platform Click”. Under this model, the final click-through of each marketing channel by a particular customer receives credit for the purchase.

For example, if a customer clicked on Facebook ad #1, then Facebook ad #2, then a TikTok ad, and finally made their purchase, Facebook ad #2 would receive credit in Facebook data and the TikTok ad would receive credit in TikTok data. The final click on each ad platform is given more significance, and credit is assigned accordingly.

Why is marketing attribution important?

Understanding the impact of marketing efforts is crucial for marketers, and attribution plays a significant role in achieving this understanding. By analyzing the return on investment (ROI) of different marketing channels, marketers can strategically allocate resources and identify the channels that are not performing well.

Without attribution, marketers would be unable to assess the impact of their efforts and would lack a clear understanding of what is working for their business.

Maximizing the value of your marketing efforts

Leveraging a robust marketing attribution process allows businesses to discover successful marketing channels, identify effective tactics, evaluate marketing programs, uncover the best-performing campaigns, and pinpoint impactful marketing messages.

Overcoming common challenges to choosing the right marketing attribution model

Despite the benefits of marketing attribution, implementing it is not without its challenges. Here are some of the common challenges that companies face and tips for overcoming them:

Selecting the right attribution model

One of the most significant challenges is choosing the right attribution model for your business. With multiple models to choose from, it can be challenging to know which one is the best fit for your organization. To overcome this challenge, you should consider your business goals, customer journey, and available data before choosing an attribution model. Additionally, you may want to experiment with different models to find the one that works best for your business.

Investing in the right technology

Another significant challenge is investing in the right technology to support your marketing attribution efforts. Many organizations struggle with selecting and implementing the right tools and technologies to support attribution tracking and analysis. To overcome this challenge, you should take the time to research and evaluate various technologies to determine which ones are best suited to your needs. Additionally, you may want to invest in training to ensure that your team can use these tools effectively.

Ensuring data accuracy and consistency

Inaccurate or inconsistent data can be a significant hurdle to effective marketing attribution. To overcome this challenge, you should ensure that your data collection and analysis processes are reliable, consistent, and accurate. Additionally, you may want to consider implementing data governance policies and procedures to ensure that your data is of high quality and consistent across all channels.

By addressing these common challenges, you can implement effective marketing attribution strategies that help you make informed decisions about your marketing efforts and drive business growth.

How to choose a marketing attribution platform: Making an informed decision for your business

Choosing the right marketing attribution platform can be a challenge, as there are many options available, each with its own models, methods, and tracking.

To make the best choice for your business, consider factors such as:

  • Goal alignment: Ensure the platform aligns with your business objectives and goals.
  • Ease of use: Evaluate the platform’s user experience and interface to determine its efficiency for your team.
  • Customer support: Determine the level of support available, whether through customer success representatives or any other means.
  • Insight availability: Assess the speed at which you will receive valuable insights, allowing for quick and informed decisions.
  • Automation features: Consider if the platform has automation features, such as automatic reports and file delivery to your email.
  • Integration capabilities: Evaluate the platform’s compatibility with your ecommerce platform.
  • Marketing channel and social media coverage: Determine the scope of the platform, including the marketing channels and social media platforms it covers.


For marketers, attribution is one of the most important tools in your arsenal. It allows you to understand how well your campaigns are working and their impact on customers. This information then allows marketers to make safe, strategic decisions about where to invest more resources and when it’s time to cut back on spending.

With Fospha, you can help execute better channel optimizations and eliminate wasted spending on ineffective channels. We take the hassle out of attribution, freeing marketers to focus on achieving your goals without the need for added technical support.

Whether you’re looking to grow your business or simply ensure that you’re spending your marketing budget profitably, Fospha has the tools and support you need to succeed.

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