Using attribution models to inform your marketing mix

digital customers journey

Hayley Dawson

Senior Account Manager

Posted on July 24, 2017

As brands build their portfolio of online and offline marketing channels and devices. It’s more important than ever to ensure marketing spend is allocated to the most valuable network. Analytical tools can inform marketing decisions by measuring how your audience interacts with your online presence. However, to truly make the most out of your data when using multiple channels, analytics needs to be combined with attribution insights.

Data-driven attribution tracks all touchpoints throughout the customer journey, identifying the role each channel played in the conversion path. It answers questions such as ‘which marketing channels have the greatest influence on my conversions?’ and ‘should we spend more on pay per click, search or display?’ This makes it much easier to manage your marketing spend so that you can best reach, influence and drive your audience to those places where they engage and convert.

To begin with have a solid understanding of the customer journey and the many micro-moments, or opportunities for your brand to connect with your customers. Then analyse the following attribution models to understand how they will impact the valuation of your marketing channels. These can all be implemented through Google Analytics.

1. The Last Click

The last point of touch in the customer journey is attributed 100% of the credit for the conversion. For example, if a customer finds your website by clicking on a banner ad, returns the next day through an AdWords ad, comes back the next week directly and finally clicks through from a social media post to make a sale; the social channel would receive 100% credit for the sale.

Journey to conversion


2. The Last Non-Direct Click

100% of the conversion value is given to the last channel before converting, except when that channel is direct traffic and the customer has typed the URL into the browser location bar.

3. The Last AdWords Click

Whether there is only one or multiple AdWord clicks, the last click before conversion receives 100% of the credit for the sale.

4. The First Click

Fairly self-explanatory, 100% of the credit falls on the first interaction of the customer journey.

5. The Linear

Every touchpoint in the customer journey would share equal credit for the conversion.

6. The Time Decay

The touchpoint closest in time to the conversion gets the most of the credit. Each touchpoint before receives less credit.

7. The Position Based

Finally, in this model 40% of the credit is assigned to the first and last interaction. Therefore, the remaining 20% of credit is distributed evenly to the middle touchpoints.

If you are looking for something more complex, there are many different attribution tools on the market (Google Analytics 360 Suite, Abakus etc). Each uses a complex, custom algorithm to identify how each marketing channel has performed. And which are the most influential for your business.

Whichever you choose to implement, data analysis and attribution insights complement one another and help inform an educated decision on the right mix of marketing channels for the business.