7 Most Common Attribution Models Used by Marketeers



When people start a business, they plan on making money. It does not matter if your business is a traditional business, where you own a shop or if your business is entirely online, you are trying to make money. Online businesses can make money in a variety of different ways, such as having ads on the site or doing affiliate marketing. However, for you to make money online, you have to market your site. You can market your site in a couple of different ways. You can buy social media ads, you could focus on optimizing your SEO, you could participate in paid searches, and finally, you could do email marketing. With so many options for people to find your site, it can be difficult for a marketer to understand which option is working the best.

Attribution models help determine which stream of income is helping your businesses the most. These models use a method that assigns credit to one of the interactions, and marketers can use that information to assess the impact of the final conversion. So, here are seven different attribution models you can start implementing today to better analyze your marketing efforts.


The Last Interaction Attribution Model



The model is also referred to as the last click model and is the oldest model. This model is quite simple because it gives credit to the last known referral, click, or traffic source. The last interaction attribution model is the default model for many traffic monitoring platforms such as Google Analytics. This model is frequently used because it is the easiest to implement and evaluate and is often times the most accurate. However, this model does ignore everything that happens before the final interaction. Therefore, you may not get a complete picture, which could cause you to make some bad business decisions based on incomplete data. However, this model is perfectly fit for any business with a short sales cycle.



Pros:

  • Easy to implement and evaluate your marketing efforts

  • Widely used as the default model for traffic monitoring platforms

  • Highly accurate data


Cons:

  • Rarely shows a complete picture of your marketing efforts


Conclusion: The Last Interaction Attribution Model makes a perfect fit for businesses with a short sales cycle however, it may not show a complete picture.


The Last Non-Direct Attribution Model



This model is also straightforward and works similarly to the last interaction attribution model. However, there is one key difference between these models. The last non-direct attribution model removes direct visits from the equation. This means that if a customer finds you through social media and then go backs to visit you later, the credit will go towards the social media and not the direct visit. This model is better than the last interaction model but has similar flaws. It also does not paint a full picture of where the clients could be, and therefore you risk making business mistakes.


Pros:

  • Also easy to set up like the last interaction attribution model

  • Creates a clear distinction between direct traffic and non-direct traffic


Cons:

  • Over simplifies your marketing efforts

  • Completely ignores direct traffic




Conclusion: The Last Non-Direct Attribution Model provides highly actionable insights and works well for any business that converts direct traffic quickly.


The First Interaction Attribution Model



First Interaction Attribution Models are the opposite of the previous two because this model gives credit to the first know contact of the customer. This model can be perfect depending on what your business is trying to do. It’s best suited for companies that are trying to increase brand awareness and want to understand how your customers came in contact with your brand. However, this model is not perfect because it fails to account for any future interactions.



Pros:

  • Shows where you initially drew interest to your brand

  • Perfect for any marketing campaigns built around brand awareness


Cons:

  • Does not help optimize conversion rates


Conclusion: The First Interaction Attribution Model works extremely well for marketing efforts focused on brand awareness, but does little to help optimize sales.


The Linear Attribution Model



Linear Attribution Models are the first model that allows you to follow the whole journey of the potential customer. The linear model takes all the contacts and clicks that come from a single conversion and gives them equal credit. This model is great for getting a complete picture of what is going on, but it fails to consider the weight of the different approaches because some might be more important. There also might be some touchpoints that convert more than others, and these points could be lost in the data.



Pros:

  • Provides a simple way to analyze your sales funnel and customer journey

  • Brings a holistic look into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts


Cons:

  • Equally weighs all of your marketing efforts making it difficult to optimize single aspects of your marketing campaigns


Conclusion: The Linear Attribution Model provides a fairly simple and quick way to look at the effectiveness of your entire marketing efforts, but provides little information into how effective each step is.


The Time Decay Attribution Model



Time Decay Attribution Models are a modification of the linear model. This model tracks the whole story of the customer but has an algorithm that can be used to assign different weights to different contacts and clicks. It uses the difference in time between the different clicks or contacts. This gives the most credit to the contact that leads to the shortest conversion rate. It makes a great choice for marketers that want to figure out the quickest way to attract a customer.


Pros:

  • Provides a more accurate holistic look at your marketing efforts than the Linear Attribution Model

  • Looks to optimize your overall sales instead of any particular aspect of your marketing


Cons:

  • Rarely provides an accurate weight to the first interaction that introduces a customer to your brand


Conclusion: This method works well if you maintain a consistent marketing plan allowing you to weight interactions accordingly however, it does not work well for modeling highly influential first touches such as trade shows.


The Position Based Attribution Model



Position-Based Attribution Models are another excellent model that helps people make smarter business decisions. This model takes all the contacts and clicks in the customer's path and gives them credit based on their location in the conversion path. However, this model does make one key assumption, which is the first contact, and the last contact before conversion is the most important, and the other ones just play a side role. This makes it great for those who are unsure of which attribution model they want to use because it’s fairly simple to implement and provides similar information to the other models. However, it is important to note that not all companies will be best suited to use this model.



Pros:

  • Allows you to accurately weigh the impact of your first touch and the last touch

  • Gives you the ability to adjust how heavily each interaction is weighed based on your business needs


Cons:

  • This method can easily result in you placing too much value on low-value touch points such as email blasts


Conclusion: The Position Based Attribution Model allows you to determine how much value you want to place on each interaction with your customers however, this can cause mistakes especially with an inexperienced marketing team.


The Custom Attribution Model



We have saved the best for last because the custom attribution model is the best for any marketer. This model takes into account any specifics that you might want to include. It is completely specific to your needs, but it does require some maintenance. You should always be hypothesizing about changes, testing those changes, and taking in the data from those changes to optimize this model better. However, once you get to this point, you will truly have a model that can track all the important information that allows you to make the best possible business decision.


Pros:

  • Puts you in complete control over which aspects of your marketing make the most impact on your customers

  • You can adjust your model as you go for more accurate information and data


Cons:

  • Setting up and fine-tuning a custom attribution model takes significant time and effort to be effective


Conclusion: A properly set up Custom Attribution Model provides the most accurate and detailed insights however, setting up this attribution model takes far more time than using a pre-built model.


Why Should You Use Attribution Models?

Attribution models are beneficial for marketers because it allows them to understand how a customer can find their business. Several different models allocate weight differently. But unless you are customizing your model efficiently, then you will always have some problems with models. If you are using a pre-made model, it is important you understand the limitations that these models have so that you can make the best possible business decision. Because at the end of the day, every company is trying to make money, and understanding what is working and what is not working when it comes to attracting customers is very important.


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