Insights for the data driven leader.

5 Important Marketing Attribution Models

Multi-touch attribution is important because it allows your company to analyze and determine which of your campaigns are effective and where you can and should be allocating your marketing budget. People and companies are often fueled by getting credit and a pat on the back for a job well done; touchpoints work much the same way. There are five different paths and credit levels: time decay, linear, first touch, last touch, and position based. With a better understanding of these differing paths, you can determine the best way to distribute credit.

Think of the different touchpoint attributions in terms of a team project. The first touch is the team member who came up with the project idea, the second took the idea and made an outline, the third added information to the outline, the fourth wrote the final draft, and the last presents the project to a client.

Time Decay:

With a Time Decay credit distribution, there are varying degrees of credit each touchpoint has for getting a user to the last click. In this path, the value of the credit increases as it leads closer to the last touchpoint and the end goal.

When we look at this like a group project, the last person receives the most credit because they seem to have the most important role, presenting the final project, or, in regards to touchpoints, leading users to the final result. When you go down the line the fourth person, who wrote the project, has an important role in the project but wasn’t the person who actually packaged it all together. They get more credit than the person before them but not as much as the final person. The first person in the group, or first touch, receives the least amount of credit because, while the project wouldn’t exist without them, they are the most removed from the final result. Touchpoints become more valuable the closer they get to the end goal.


Under the Linear model, all touchpoints are viewed equally. Going back to the group project, the person who comes up with the idea is given just as much credit as the person who created the content and the person who physically presents the project. Linear credit distribution takes every touchpoint a user comes across on an equal level. When it comes to allocating the budget, the first touchpoint receives the same amount as the last as does every touchpoint in-between. The idea behind this is it takes all of the touchpoints to lead the consumer to the end goal so they are all equally important.

Position Based:

First Touch establishes the first touchpoint as the most critical and Last Touch establishes the last touchpoint as the most critical. Both have a large significance and in the Position Based attribution model the first and last touchpoints are given equal credit and and the touchpoints in-between are given minimal credit. With a group project the idea itself is extremely critical as is actually presenting the project. The idea behind this model is the middle touchpoints are just small stepping stones between the two most important touchpoints that lead to the end point. In this example, 40% credit is assigned to each the first and last interaction, and the remaining 20% credit is distributed evenly to the middle interactions.

position based multi-touch attribution model

And then, there's the single touch models: 

First Touch:

First Touch is pretty straightforward. The first touchpoint out of the set receives all the credit. If we’re thinking back to our group project, the person who came up with the idea receives all of the credit even though they didn’t do all of the work themselves. The idea behind this is the entire progression to the end point would not have happened without that first, original touchpoint.

Last Touch:

Similar to First Touch, Last Touch places all of the credit on the last touchpoint in a sequence. In our group project, the person who presents the project would be receiving all the credit even though they didn’t create the content or the idea. The idea behind this model is the Last Touch is the only touchpoint that actually leads to the end goal and the other ones would not have mattered at all without that last touchpoint.

Multi-touch attribution has the opportunity to be more valuable than single touch, Last Touch and First Touch crediting, because it allows you to see the digital rabbit hole a consumer goes down and then target them with your message until they reach your end goal, ideally a purchase.

September 12, 2016

What do you think?

The Blog For Account-Driven Leaders

How Do You Benefit From Buyer Personas
June 11, 2017

Personas aren't just for marketing anymore. Here's how marketing, sales, AND the rest of your company can benefit from them.

Read more
How Can Your ICP Jumpstart Buyer Persona Development
June 4, 2017

A look at how your Ideal Customer Profile can help you define your buyer personas.

Read more
A Guide to Humanizing Buyer’s Experience
May 31, 2017

Don't let yourself or your company come across as robotic and generic. Here's some tips to seem human and approachable throughout your accounts' buyer's journeys.

Read more