Marketers globally have many options at their hand to promote and acquire traffic and sales for a business.
They can have up to 100 different tactics to add to their marketing processes.
On an average, a marketer uses more than 15 different tactics to promote their products.
With so much to execute, how can marketers understand that what’s working and what’s not for them?
All of these tactics makes answering your question difficult.
Moreover, this can be seen globally as well.
With focusing on so many tactics at the same time, you might be successful, but you won’t be able to scale it the right way, as you will have no idea where it’s coming from.
Not to mention you might be draining thousands of dollars on tactics, which are least fruitful.
To overcome this, you need to select the right marketing analytics attribution model for your marketing processes.
What is Attribution Modelling?
Attribution Modelling is an organized set of rules that attribute credits for different touch points across the customer journey. It helps you determine how effective a marketing campaign, tactic or touch point is responsible for your marketing goals and conversions.
In short, it helps you nail down on your best marketing tactics.
For example, you might be doing Facebook, Google, and Bing ads simultaneously, but how can you be sure which one deserves the credit for the conversion?
Goals tracking in Google Analytics is not the complete answer.
They might see your ad in Google and Facebook, but after a few days they directly Google or type of your company name and then become a customer. This way the credit for sale goes either to direct or organic traffic, which is absolutely wrong.
Without attribution modeling in place, it is nearly impossible to evaluate the performance of your marketing processes.
You would be making a shotgun approach on a wild goose hunt and hoping one or two might reach the target.
However, before selecting an attribution model for your business, client or campaign, you must have a firm grip of their business and customer journey otherwise; you might not be able to get the benefits of attribution modeling.
To help you understand, we have listed and explained all 11 different attribution models and when to use and not to use each of them.
What is First Click / Touch Attribution Model?
The first touch attribution model works on a straightforward formula.
When a visitor comes to your website for purchasing anything, the first medium/channel/touchpoint which the visitor uses to get to your site will get all the attributes of that sale.
How does First Click Attribution Model work?
Let suppose you have a business that deals with selling laptops and computing accessories online. Like any business, you have implemented multiple tactics such as display ads on Google, Facebook, and email outreach your list, SEO, etc.
A prospective visitor sees your Adwords ad and lands on your website for the first time. They might browse around, signup to your email newsletter, follow your Facebook page and leave.
After a few days, they come back to your website and purchases your product.
Though, they might not immediately make a purchase, and have interacted with other channels as well in the meanwhile ( email newsletter, Facebook page update), all the credit for this sale is attributed to Google Adwords, as it was the first click and interaction of your website with them.
When to use and not to use First Click Attribution Model?
First Click Attribution Model works excellent when you are trying to identify which channel brings in the most leads or customers.
From a content marketing perspective, First Click Attribution models help you determine the best channel which is creating awareness of your content or brand.
It is also useful when you have minimal marketing channels ( such as focusing only on Facebook and Google Ads).
Similarly, First Click Attribution Model is least effective when you have multiple marketing channels as this model gives no value whatsoever to other touch points.
What is Last Click Attribution Model?
In the last click attribution model, all credit is given to the last tactic marketing tactic/touch point after which the conversion happens.
How does Last Click Attribution Model work?
You are the owner of a mobile company and are highly active in all the key marketing channels to grab the attention of prospects looking to buy a new phone.
In all those marketing processes a customer comes to your website using Facebook ad but then goes away for any reason.
You or your marketing team would like to track and bring them back to your sales page through email campaigns, retargeting and more.
And from all the tactics the last tactic after which the prospect is converted into a customer will be given all the credit for that sale. This could be your email campaign or even a direct visit to the website by the customer.
When to use and not use the Last Click Attribution Model?
Last Click Attribution Models are very useful in understanding high impact touch points in the bottom of your funnel. They help you know which channels are driving the most conversions.
In fact, it is the go-to attribution model for analytics software like Google Analytics which gives all credit to the last touchpoint before a conversion or goal.
However, the last click attribution model obscures the other channels that played an essential role in your brand discovery and prospect nurturing. This model is also least effective for channels that require a lot of research before a prospect makes up their mind.
What is Last Non-Direct Click Attribution Model?
In this attribution model, the significance is given only to the last non-direct marketing channel instead of any direct traffic channel.
How does Last Non-Direct Click Attribution Model work?
Let say, you have a watch store having an excellent quality of watches in it, and you have also set the right marketing plan for it as well.
A customer first comes to your website via a Google Ad then in few days retargeted through a fascinating Youtube ad but somehow change their mind or left off before the purchase.
After some days, they come back directly to your website and completes the purchase. So, your conversion channel in this model will be the retargeted YouTube ad and it gets all the attributes.
Last Click Attribution Model ignores the last “direct” interaction with the website and gives all credit to the “ last indirect” interaction with the website.
When to use Last Non-Direct Click Attribution Model works?
Last Non-Direct Click Attribution Model is useful when you want to understand the effectiveness of your marketing tactics, without accounting for the direct traffic.
Usually, direct conversions occur when the customer already know about your brand or product. So finding which last channel resulted in a sale is a more effective process of understanding your brand visibility and marketing reach.
What is Linear Attribution Model?
Linear attribution model gives the same credit to every channel across the whole sales journey. It equally divides the attribute to every single channel the customer interacted before completing a purchase.
How does Linear Attribution Model work?
A consumer sees the ad of your SaaS on Facebook and decides to visit your website by clicking the ad. Then a few days later they directly visit your site for gathering more information.
Some days later, they see you retargeted ad on a website, visit your site and then finally signup for your software.
According to the linear attribution model, the credit is divided equally among all the channels, starting from the Facebook ad till the last retargeted ad.
When to use and not to use Linear Attribution Model?
Linear attribution model works well in understanding and finding all channels that resulted in brand awareness and conversion.
They also help identify channels that are consistent in all sales journeys, especially the ones that are driving actual conversions.
However, with all of its merits, marketers often don’t use this model.
In fact, it’s a total opposite of the primary reason why attribution models are implemented, i.e. find “which channel” rather than “all channels”.
When all channels get equal credit, how can we shortlist the best among them?
What is the Position Based Attribution Model?
Position based attribution model, also known as U Shaped Attribution Model, gives a certain percentage to all the channel that contributes towards a successful conversion.
The first and last channel shares 40% of credit among each of them, and the rest of the 20% is equally divided to the other channels that come in between.
How does the Position Based Attribution Model works?
A customer decides to purchase an insurance policy online and start researching this from Google. Luckily, you were on top of the list, and he/she clicks that link to get to your website.
On your site, they join your email list by downloading a brochure and then continues to read different pages of your website. Then they come back again on your website through your Facebook page in a few days.
Finally, after some days, they saw another ad of your company while using Facebook and finalizes the purchase.
In that case, the organic search and the Facebook ad will get the 40% credit each, while the rest of the channels will distribute the remaining 20% credit among them.
When to use and not to use Position Based Attribution Model works?
The position based attribution models work great for understanding which;
- Channel is best for acquiring an audience
- And which channel is great for conversions
After all, these are perhaps the most critical touch points every performance marketer is seeking.
The only problem with Position based attribution models is the timing and least importance given to nurturing campaigns.
For example, a visitor might first interact with you six months before and forgot. However, later, they interacted with 2-3 more of your channels before conversion.
If you are in e-commerce, it might not make sense for your customers to buy Christmas décor items in May-June, but it makes perfect sense in Nov / Dec.
Having said that the first channel might be wrongly considered influential.
What is W shaped Attribution Model?
In W shaped attribution model, the credit is equally divided 30% each among the three channels:
- First Touch
- Lead Creation
- Opportunity Creation / Conversion
And the remaining 10% is distributed among the other channels.
The W shared attribution model is an enhanced version of the Position based or U Shaped Attribution Model.
How does W shaped Attribution Model work?
You receive a visitor from Facebook ad to your software website, but they didn’t order and left your site. This is the first touch.
Then you try to bring them back using the retargeted ad, but it doesn’t work.
After a few days, the prospect views another of your ad and signs up to your blog or Free Trial. This is lead creation.
Your team or marketing automation software sends in an offers emails a few days later, but it didn’t result in a conversion, yet.
Then they view ad of our discounted deal through a retargeted ad or another email campaign, and finally, they place their order on your website. This is opportunity creation or conversion.
When to use and not to use the W shaped Attribution Model?
The W Shaped Attribution Model works brilliantly for identifying the touch points that resulted in an action.
It removes focus from additional channels and helps you identify your audience builder, lead generator and conversion creator channels.
This model works great for B2B Marketers where a prospective customer funnels through different stages, but it doesn’t have much impact on B2C marketing.
What is the Time Decay Attribution Model?
In this attribution model, the preference is given to the channels that are extremely close to the conversion point instead of those channels through which the journey started.
How does Time Decay Attribution Model work?
Consider you own an online shoe store, and you started attracting prospects through Google Ads, without the conversion yet.
Then probably you retarget them to subscribe them to your blog and send them email campaigns around you offers.
However, all without any conversion again.
After some time the prospect stumbled on your website and purchased a shoe from you.
In this condition, the organic search traffic gets the maximum edge because it was the last channel that assisted the customer towards conversion.
When to use Time Decay Attribution Model?
Time Decay Attribution Model is useful in understanding that which channels are driving conversions. It also helps in understanding that which channel is driving which activity and let you focus your marketing budget and efforts across them.
Similar to the position based attribution model, Time Decay Attribution Models gives the least important focus on earlier channels that helped in creating awareness and demand.
For B2B, Time Decay Attribution Model might not be useful as in most cases it will give the most weight to direct channel, which usually is wrong as the prospect have to go a series of promotions and informational content before they convert.
What is Last Adwords Click Attribution Model?
This attribution model focuses only on the performance of Adwords campaigns. This model gives all credit to the last Adwords campaign or ad after which the conversion happened.
How does Last Adwords Click Attribution Model work?
Let suppose your plumbing business has set up four different campaigns on Adwords.
As a business owner, you want to know which campaigns or ad is sending you most customers so that you can adjust your campaigns effectively.
According to the Last Adwords Click Attribution model, the campaign that sends the last click to your website before the conversion will receive all credit.
When to use and not to use Last Adwords Click Attribution Model works?
Last Adwords Click Attribution Model helps you determine which Adwords campaign is driving the best results for your business. It also helps in identifying the top keywords driving the conversions.
Similarly, this attribution model only focuses on their channel only and completely devalues other channels. So if another non-AdWords channel such as whitepaper download helped in the conversion, this attribution model would completely de-value that.
Note: Last Adwords Click Attribution Model can be implemented on other Paid Ad Channels as well such as Last Facebook Ads, Last LinkedIn Ads and Last Twitter Ads Click Attribution Model.
What is Lead Conversion Touch Attribution Model?
The Lead Conversion Touch Attribution Model gives all the credit to the channel through which the lead is generated.
How does Lead Conversion Touch Attribution Model work?
Consider you have a B2B Software and you drive traffic through multiple channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn ads.
They interacted with your Facebook Ad but only browsed and left and after few days view your Google Ad and signup for a demo. However, after watching the demo, they still didn’t convert to a customer.
But, after consulting with their stakeholder, they finally decided to purchase the software by directly coming to your website or calling/emailing you to close the deal.
In this scenario, all credits of the conversion will be awarded to the Google Ad, which helped in acquiring that lead.
When to use and not to use Lead Conversion Touch Attribution Model works?
The Lead Conversion Touch Attribution Model is very effective at identifying touchpoints or channels that are driving sales qualified leads.
However, similar to other single touch attribution models, this model put all emphasis only on one channel and completely ignores other.
If a lead goes through a series of educational content and nurturing emails, Lead Conversion Touch Attribution Model will completely ignore them.
What is Full-Path (Z-Shaped) Attribution Model?
In Full- Path ( Z- Shaped) Attribution Model, 22.5% credit is equally divided among the four primary channels:
- The first touch
- Lead Generation
- Opportunity Creation
- Customer Close
While the remaining 10% will be shared among rest of the channels.
How does Full-Path (Z-Shaped) Attribution Model work?
Consider you are the owner of an online training courses website.
A customer Google for a training course and lands on your website to find your available courses. This is the first touch.
Then after a few days, they come back again and subscribes to your blog. This is lead generation.
Similarly, you email them and offer them a class for Free from their preferred courses. The person accepts that and avails it. This is opportunity creation.
After a few days, you sent them another email with a 20% discount on that course. The customer accepts it and buys the complete training. This is customer closing.
In this scenario, the Full-Path Attribution Model will give equal credit (22.5% each) to all channels that resulted in action till customer closing and the remaining 10% to all other channels.
When to use and not to use Full-Path (Z-Shaped) Attribution Model?
The Full-Path or Z-Shaped Attribution Model is very useful in evaluating which marketing channels are driving actions towards closing a deal.
This helps marketers understand their strongest four channels and focus their time, effort and budget on these activities.
The only downside of this model is that it focuses only on sales qualified leads and requires close alignment between marketing and sales.
What is Custom, Algorithmic or Data Driven Attribution Model?
Custom, Algorithmic or Data Driven attribution model, performs an in-depth analysis of customer journey to identify all marketing channel that plays a significant role to bring visitors to your website and converting them into customers.
As compared to other models focus on extremes, this model uses special algorithms to give each channel the credit it deserves and helps you evaluate the performance of each click and interaction.
How does Custom, Algorithmic or Data Driven Attribution Model works?
In actual, there is no defined process for Data-Driven Attribution Model as it varies from organizations to the marketing processes they use.
With the data-driven attribution model, you don’t have to choose but instead, create your model that fits your needs.
All you need is to review your past marketing performances, identify your end goals and evaluate each channel on par with the effectiveness in accomplishing those goals.
When to use and not to use does Custom, Algorithmic or Data Driven Attribution Model work?
In ideal scenarios, every business regardless of their size and complexity of marketing processes should use data-driven attribution model as it gives the most credit to your best channel and least to the most underperforming.
However, to have a data-driven attribution model, you need the help of pro data scientists and crunchers at your hand. If you have the resources, budget and time to create a data-driven attribution model, you should ditch all other attribution models against it.
And similarly, avoid data-driven attribution model, when you can’t bear the burden.
Some practical information about applying some of the attribution models, when it comes to measuring one of the most important digital marketing performance metrics – ROAS (return on ad spend) – could be found in our article ROAS formula and multi-touch attribution: a comprehensive guide
These are all the essential attribution model that you can use within your business.
The big question – Which attribution model will fit your business needs?
Well, there is no right answer for this as it’s easier said than done. Each model has it benefits as well as shortcomings.
The best way to get the ideal attribution model for your business is to try each of them and see the results that it brings to your business and in achieving your goals.
The only right attribution model is the one that provides you with valuable information to increase ROI of every dollar penny you spend on marketing.
Using Windsor.ai, you can bring all those marketing data streams to one place and use the power of attribution modeling to keep a close eye on how each channel is performing over time, optimizing budgets and increasing your total revenue while decreasing expenditure!
Signup for Free Demo and see how Windsor can help you get the best ROI from your marketing activities.
Which attribution model do you use for your business?