Let’s Talk About Marketing Attribution

Let’s Talk About Marketing Attribution

With marketing attribution, you can gain insights into buying behavior by tracking how and where customers interact with your brand online. Moreover, it efficiently shows which channels influence consumers the most, taking the guesswork out of where they are on the buyers' journey.

And it's becoming increasingly popular among companies and agencies. Neil Patel's reports show that 66% of companies and 51% of agencies  say they carry out attribution either during 'some' or the 'majority' of campaigns.

Here's everything you need to know about the benefits of marketing attribution, attribution models, and the significance marketing attribution metrics have on ad spend for your business 

What is Marketing Attribution?  

Marketing attribution, also known as multi-touch attribution, is a method marketers use to gauge how valuable or profitable a channel is at connecting them with new and potential customers.

More specifically, it involves an extensive report using pre-built models that both sales and marketing teams evaluate for more insight into the touchpoints that impacted a customer's decision to take action and convert.

The goals of marketing attribution include identifying the following: 

  • Content that generates the most conversions 
  • Channel or channels with the most leads, and therefore, the most engaged audience 
  • Average touchpoints from beginning to end in the customer journey  
  • Paths to conversion 

Popular attribution models  

Identifying exactly which touchpoint earned you that conversion or the impact of every dollar you allocate to an initiative is one of the most challenging aspects of marketing.  

However, an attribution model can get you one step closer to identifying which channels deserve credit and ultimately deserve more of your time, effort, and money.

Eventually, you will be able to narrow down your marketing effort to only channels/initiatives that benefit your brand and goals best. After all, your brand can't be everywhere at once.

Here are the most popular models for attribution marketing.  

First Interaction  

In the first interaction attribution model, you assign the credit to the first touchpoint connecting your brand with a potential customer. Additional touchpoints are often overlooked since the first touchpoint earns 100% of the credit for the conversion.

Use this model to see what catches top-of-the-funnel prospective customers’ attention. This data can give you valuable information about what most users are attracted to during the beginning stages of the buyers’ journey. 

Last Interaction  

On the other hand, the last interaction attribution model assigns the credit to the previous channel that resulted in a conversion. So, despite how many touchpoints may have led to a given sale or action, only the last click or interaction will receive 100% of the credit.

The last interaction model is helpful for letting you know if your marketing channels encourage customers to take action. With this knowledge, you can optimize more effective campaigns. 

Last Non-Direct Click  

The last non-direct click model assigns the credit to your customer's prior non-direct engagement. So, while this is similar to the previous interaction model because it will give all the credit to the final interaction, it distinguishes between direct and non-direct traffic — favoring non-direct. Non-direct means another channel initiated the traffic to your product and resulted in a sale, while direct refers to the customer searching/contacting your product or website directly.

Because the last non-direct click gives credit to the customer’s last interaction, it’s used as a benchmark to compare the results from other models. Also, you can use this information to focus on that last activity before the conversion.


A linear attribution model gives credit to all your touchpoints. Every interaction a customer has in their buyer journey is documented and accredited with the conversion. The pro here is that no engagement goes overlooked in the role it plays in getting your customers to the finish line. On the other hand, it's difficult to pinpoint the true MVP of touchpoints if everyone gets the same acknowledgment.

Use this model if you want to consider the entire buyers’ journey and customers’ progress through it. Linear attribution shows a comprehensive view of your strategy. 


The time-decay model gives most of the credit to the last few touchpoints and just a little credit to the initial touchpoints. This often means that the first touchpoint may only receive 10% of the credit while the last few may receive 30% or more of the credit.

Time-decay attribution is a helpful choice when you want to measure longer sales cycles because this model showcases the time between customer interactions.


Also known as the U-shaped model, the position-based model evenly disperses most of the credit to the first and last touchpoint in the buyers’ journey. The touchpoints in between claim about 10-20% of the credit, and the first and last touchpoint (about 80-90%) is equally split in recognition for the conversion (about 40-45% each).

If you want to see the big picture of the buyers’ journey, use position-based attribution. Generally, the first and last interactions are most important, but you can still see all of the touchpoints in between.   

Why is Marketing Attribution So Significant for Brands?  

The most straightforward answer to why marketing attribution is so significant for brands is because it achieves results. Your team gains more insight into your customers and customer journeys — which, in turn, gives your team more insight into more efficient ways to reach and resonate with the right audience.

More specifically, the benefits of marketing attribution include: 

Find The Right Model For You With CoxNext 

Every model has its own set of significant pros and cons. Determining which model is best for you will depend on several factors, from preference and goals to particular needs and insight. For instance, specific models may not be able to meet your needs and may even leave gaps if you don't have enough insight into the sales funnel to implement them.

Any one of these models could potentially get you started, but over time, you'll notice that it's better to customize a model to fit your goals and needs precisely. CoxNext has the capabilities for more precise marketing campaigns, leading to a higher ROI.

CoxNext Agency onesheet

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