Insights for the data driven leader.

What is Single Touch Attribution?

According to Google, an attribution model is “the rule, or set of rules, that determine how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths.”

There are a couple different models in marketing analytics - multi-touch attribution and single touch attribution. Single touch attribution models allocate 100% of the credit to one single campaign - presumably the one that influenced the prospect to convert. There are 2 popular types of single touch attribution - First Touch and Last Touch. Let’s take a look at both:

First Touch Attribution

In the First Touch Model, the first interaction the prospect has with your brand gets all the credit for the conversion, but there are problems. Giving 100% of the conversion credit to the first touch is like giving your elementary school teachers all the credit for you getting into Harvard University. Did they play a part? Possibly. But 100% of the credit? Your middle school teachers, high school teachers, and your parents would beg to differ.

Last Touch Attribution

In the Last Touch model, the last interaction before the conversion gets 100% of the credit for the conversion. This is the reporting of choice for most analytics tools because it’s straightforward and easy to understand. While it will highlight the specific campaign that sparked the conversion, it undervalues all the influential touches the prospect had with your brand prior to that action.

In our example, this might mean that your tutor who helped you ace the SAT might be given all the credit for your acceptance into the crimson confines of Harvard.

Multi-Touch Attribution: A Better Way

If you have a product that’s an impulse purchase with very short sales cycle, single touch attribution will probably be good enough. Or if you are running only a handful of campaigns, then there’s probably no need to introduce more complex multi-touch attribution modeling into your reporting.

For the rest of us though, single touch is misleading and dangerous - especially with B2B campaigns which have much longer sales cycles and multiple contacts who are involved in the decision making process. Single touch attribution doesn’t give you the full picture of how your marketing campaigns work in concert to influence a prospect into becoming a customer. Additionally a single touch attribution model won’t give you the granularity necessary to make informed decisions about how to spend your marketing dollars.

How can you calculate ROI without taking all touchpoints into consideration? The short answer - you can’t and you shouldn’t. Don’t settle for a small part of the picture when you can become a better marketer and allocate your dollars more effectively with multi-touch attribution.

Want to learn more about about multi-touch attribution? Click here.

September 30, 2016

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