Multi-touch Attribution Models

Discovering the value of custom multi-touch attribution

In an ideal world, we would drive traffic to our website and the visitor would convert (buy a product, sign up for a service, download something, or fill out an enquiry form). Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

We know the average buyer has seven touch points through the decision to buy: this means each buyer has has visited a website numerous times, engaged on social media, visited a booth at a trade show, picked up a remarketing advert, and even called up the sales hotline once or twice.

However, when we talk about demonstrating marketing ROI, we need to look at more than just where the lead’s name was acquired or which campaign the lead last engaged with before they turned into a conversion. All of the channels that lead interacts with play a critical part in the buyer’s journey and, if we are to demonstrate a true return on investment or the value of each channel, we need to assign credit through an attribution model.

“B2B companies are seeing an average of 15-18% lift in revenue as a result of implementing a closed-loop attribution system and then optimizing Marketing programs based on the more sophisticated analysis.” – Tina Moffet, Forrester


So you think you’re ready for marketing transformation?

In simple terms, attribution modelling is a framework for measuring the impact of each touchpoint across the buying cycle and beyond. There are multiple types of attribution models, with each model distributing credit in a different way.

“Attribution modelling” sounds super complex, as if it were the kind of job only a technical expert could do. But the reality is that 39% of businesses are already using a single touch attribution model for most of their campaigns.This is typically based on the acquisition source (first touch attribution) or the opportunity source (last touch attribution) and, in practical terms, it means those touchpoints get the credit for the sale.

Here are some of the most commonly-used attribution models:

  • Last Interaction Attribution
  • First Interaction Attribution
  • Last Non-Direct Click Attribution
  • Linear Attribution Model
  • Time Decay Attribution
  • Position Based Attribution
  • Custom attribution modelling


Why multi-touch attribution should be your choice

Marketers are struggling with an inability to demonstrate marketing channel performance based on marketing ROI (the great debate about social media data springs to mind here!). This is because their attribution modelling – or their marketing reporting – is not configured to provide insights into each touch point: it only provides insights into the campaigns or forms with which the buyer engages.

Clearly, there’s a need to look beyond this single-touch model. However, with so many different models to choose from, selecting the right one can be tough. This is why we believe a custom multi-touch attribution model is the best way to go.

Benefits of custom multi-touch attribution

Save time and be more efficient in reporting on your marketing ROI – studies have shown that attribution provides efficiency gains of 15-30%

See the complete user journey – see the effectiveness of all your touchpoints across all channels so you can optimise performance at every interaction.

Attribute more to your marketing efforts and less to “nothing”

Using a custom multi-touch attribution model, you’ll be able to assign:

  • 20% more revenue to Trade Shows
  • 36% more revenue to Inbound
  • 356% more revenue to Nurture Campaigns
  • 133% more revenue to Outbound Calling
  • 26% more revenue to Direct Mail
  • 1113% more revenue to Print Marketing
  • 459% more revenue to Webinars

Utilise machine learning for custom multi-touch attribution

Whether it’s the results or the buzzwords that you find exciting, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are key tools in helping marketers make more data-driven decisions. They enable marketers to optimise their marketing channels and (importantly) provide more insight to the business.

Machine learning can help us do this by offering:

  1. Predictability – Developing a correlation between stage progression and whether the deal will close.
  2. Ease/Difficulty – High conversion rate implies less importance in the customer journey.
  3. Uniqueness – If the touchpoint is shared with multiple stages, the credit is shared, too.

Multi-touch attribution case study

Xamarin the app development company was spending on marketing efforts (especially paid search) but had no visibility into what customers these efforts were driving. With multi-touch attribution, the company was able to see when leads became sales and how effectively they were allocating revenue; this allowed them to see what was worth spending on and make future decisions based on that information.

MongoDB the database provider implemented multi-touch attribution to obtain granular data on channels, sources, keywords and optimise the channels driving their high-quality leads. By building lead velocity reports, they were able to understand the true value of their channels based on channel performance and to reduce their sales cycle length.

Relativity the e-discovery software leader sought a multi-touch attribution model to implement a multi-channel lifecycle engagement strategy. This model led them to a 36% increase in qualified leads, 17% increase in opportunities, and a 3X growth in engagement across their content strategy.

Choosing a multi-touch attribution solution

Depending on your marketing maturity, you may already have a marketing automation platform (MAP) and it may even collect some of the data you need for some of the more basic attribution models. However, there are limitations: your MAP doesn’t allow you to cover the breadth of channels that a specialist attribution tool does, nor will it give you a sophisticated analysis of the entire customer journey. Nonetheless, it will help you communicate and define the lifecycle stages to enhance your targeting and communications.

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