5 Attribution Models You Need to Know About

Attribution modeling is a complicated beast. There are various models that determine how you assign credit for conversions at different touchpoints in your marketing funnels. Once you’ve made sense of the different attribution models, you can choose one that best suits your business. Here’s the 411 on attribution marketing and how it can transform the way you sell products and services online.

5 Attribution Models You Need to Know About

1. First Touch

The first touch attribution model awards 100 percent of the credit to the specific marketing technique that encouraged a customer to visit your website for the first time. It focuses on a single touchpoint in your marketing funnel, which makes it easy to use — perfect if you’re a newcomer to attribution marketing. The downside? This model favors customer acquisition, but many marketers think it’s inefficient.

2. Last Click

Most marketers use the last click model because it gives 100 percent of the credit to the last touch point in the marketing funnel. However, it overvalues the lower part of the funnel significantly and places too much emphasis on brand terms, customer recycling and remarketing. Plus, it doesn’t take into account the upper part of your funnel or brand awareness and customer acquisition.

3. Linear

The linear model treats every touch point equally. This should, in theory, make it easier to track your campaigns. The truth is, linear attribution underestimates key touch points.
“Linear attribution moves you past a single-touch attribution model but still has many limits,” says DialogTech. “Because every touch receives equal credit, you lose the ability to optimize for specific outcomes.”

4. Time Decay

The time decay model assigns the majority of credit to the last touch point in your marketing funnel and places less emphasis on earlier touch points. As a result, some marketers find it overvalues the last touch and doesn’t provide a comprehensive overview of a campaign.

5. U-Shaped

U-shaped or position-based attribution gives 40 percent of the credit to the first touch point and 40 percent to the last touch point. The model distributes the final 20 percent evenly across the middle touch points. Although U-shaped attribution highlights all the major touch points, it depreciates minor touch points in the middle of the funnel.

What Attribution Model Should You Use in Your Business?

The type of attribution model you use depends on various factors. Linear and time decay attribution have too many limitations, however, and make it difficult to track conversion paths. That leaves you with three possible attribution models for your business: first touch, last touch, and U-shaped.

First Touch

This model is great for brand awareness and tracking new customers as they move through your marketing pipelines. It focuses on specific touchpoints in the upper funnel and lets you discover why customers visited your website for the first time.

Last Click

Last click attribution focuses on the lower funnel, so you can find out more about your remarketing efforts and track returning customers as they engage with your brand. An article in Wired magazine says last click attribution is dead but, if you use it properly, this model provides you with effective insights into your campaigns.


This is probably the best attribution model for your business. It takes into consideration all the major touchpoints and still gives credit to touchpoints in the middle of your funnel.
Crediting conversions in your marketing campaigns doesn’t have to be a challenge. The attribution models on this list let you identify actions across touchpoints and fine-tune your marketing campaigns.
Want to read more about attribution modeling and ad tech? Click here.

July 25, 2018


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