Single-Touch Marketing Attribution Models

It is common to use several channels to market products and services for improved campaigns and increased conversion rates. While that is a good thing, it can be challenging to figure out which channel has the most impact on specific marketing return on investments.

Marketing attribution allows you to dig deep and find out how a prospect journeyed from being a lead to a paying customer. This enables you to know what is working, what is not working, what needs improvement, and where to focus your energy. This article delves into the various marketing attribution models to help you determine which one fits your marketing channel. 

What is a Marketing Attribution Model?

In simple terms, a marketing attribution model is a method of determining the marketing strategy that influences sales conversion. It involves analyzing, evaluating, and assigning credits to the different marketing touchpoints that occur during a customer’s purchase journey.

Assigning attribution or determining which campaign should take the credit for conversion is not a straightforward task, especially when you consider that there could be multiple touchpoints that occur in a customer’s journey to making a purchase.

With an attribution model, marketers can get a better understanding and pinpoint which marketing effort brings in the most leads to their sales funnel.

Types of Single-Touch Attribution Models

As the name implies, these marketing attribution models assign credit to a single touchpoint during a customer’s purchase journey. Single-touch attribution models are best suited for small marketers or companies with simple sales and marketing systems.

Consider using the models in this category if you don’t have a sales team or your marketing channels are limited to only one or two. It is also a better choice for marketers with a short sale cycle or smaller budget. However, this is not the most ideal model to use for B2Bs since they typically involve several touchpoints before conversion.

1. First-Touch Attribution Model

In this model, 100% of the credit for a lead goes to the first channel that directs a customer to your product. It also assigns all the credit to the first touchpoint that drives a customer to your website.

Here is a clarifying example. A customer sees your Facebook ad, becomes intrigued, and clicks through to your website. The lead followed a link on your website to watch your product demo, browsed through your site, and signed up for your weekly email newsletter. A few days later, they bought your product after a series of email campaigns.

The first-touch attribution model gives all the credit for that conversion to the Facebook ad, which is the first touchpoint, ignoring the product demo, email outreach, and every other possible touch that occurs before the purchase.

While all the other marketing efforts play different roles in the conversion, this attribution model only considers the initial touchpoint because the actual purchase would not be possible without it.

Advantage: There is typically fewer calculations and analysis involved in this model, making it very easy to implement. The primary focus is on-demand distribution, so it is quite easy to track.

Disadvantage: The model only accounts for the initial step in the entire customer’s journey, ignoring further interactions as well as the complete picture behind the conversion. This makes it prone to errors, especially if multiple touchpoints are involved in the customer’s journey.

When to Use the First-Touch Attribution Model

The first-touch attribution model is an excellent choice for finding out which channels are increasing the awareness of your product or service. It is a great tool for measuring your lead generation process by pointing out which top-of-funnel marketing efforts are producing the most results.

2. Last-Touch Attribution Model

This model works like the first-touch model, but instead of focusing on the point from which the lead encountered your business, it concentrates on what drives the customer to convert. Every other prior interaction is ignored, and all the credit goes to the last touchpoint.

Using the previous example, the credit goes to the email outreach because that was the last touchpoint before the purchase.

Advantage: Besides the ease of implementation, the last-touch attribution model is a great way to see the conversion-based metrics. In other words, it shows what is directly responsible for a conversion.

Disadvantage: Using this model, it is quite difficult to analyze what led to the conversion since it ignores every interaction that led up to the conversion. In a nutshell, the last-touch model has the same shortcomings as the first-touch attribution model, as both options do not tell the complete story behind a customer’s purchase journey.

When to Use the Last-Touch Attribution Model

Marketers concerned solely about their conversion rates will find this model most suitable. It can help you determine the campaign messages that work best.

3. Last Non-Direct Click Attribution Model

The last non-direct click attribution may not be as widely popular as the other single-touch models, but it is an effective way to filter out direct traffic.

Customers who already know your brand or have seen many of your marketing campaigns usually make up a large chunk of your direct traffic conversion. Therefore, you are not likely to get a true reflection of your marketing strategy’s effectiveness if you focus on direct traffic.

In this model, 100% credit goes to the last non-direct source that converted a lead. For example, a customer does not convert after clicking on your display ad but logs on to your website on another day and purchase the advertised product. Whether you have Facebook ads or email campaigns running, the display ad takes all the credit because it is the last click that was not direct traffic.

Advantage: The model is relatively simple to implement. It tells you the effectiveness of your marketing effort instead of measuring loads of direct traffic.

Disadvantage: This model is overly simplistic. It ignores all the potential impacts that could result from direct traffic.

When to Use the Last Non-direct Click Attribution Model

Consider this model if you are trying to measure the success of your marketing strategy without taking direct traffic into account.

A single-touch model (first-touch or last-touch) is ideal for companies with a rather simple business model and straightforward marketing effort. The simplistic nature of these models is more than sufficient for small businesses.

As an example of a use case, to equip their sales team with the best chance of closing sales successfully, The Brooks Group implemented an effective lead assignment system, where their single-touch marketing attribution insights can be uncovered.

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