Your Complete Guide To Multi-touch Attribution Models

The modern buyers’ journeys span many media, devices, and touchpoints before resulting in sales. To optimize campaigns and deliver more customized consumer experiences, it is important for marketers to know which touchpoints and messages worked to convert a prospect into a customer. The purpose is to understand where to allocate your marketing spend to reap better results. When you understand the roles of certain touchpoints in conversions, you become able to dedicate funds more effectively to similar touchpoints and take necessary steps.

What is Multi-Touch Attribution?

Multi-touch attribution or marketing attribution is a method of marketing measurement that assesses the impact of each touchpoint in driving conversions, thereby defining the value of that particular touchpoint. For instance, a consumer is considering purchasing a sports T-shirt. After spending some time researching, he is targeted by ads from Nike. First, he sees a display ad, which he ignored. Next, he sees a native ad on his Instagram page that catches his attention and drives him back to Nike’s website. Finally, he receives a promotional offer through email with a discount code that causes him to buy a T-shirt. In the buyer’s journey, each of these ads represents a touchpoint. Multi-touch attribution allows you to look at the native ads and email campaigns and attribute the sale to those efforts.

There are many multi-touch attribution models that marketers can rely on. Here are some of the most effective multi-touch attribution modes:


  • Definition: In the first-touch model, a conversion is contributed by the first source a prospect arrives from within a session timeframe.
  • For Instance: If a customer lands on a website through an email, and makes the purchase through a social media post. Then the email is the marketing channel that should receive the credit for the conversion and will be considered as the First-Touch point from which the customer landed.
  • Best for: Websites where driving traffic is the main goal.


  • Definition: A conversion is contributed by the last channel a user has traveled through after ignoring all other channels he had come across before.
  • For instance: A person arrives on a website through an email, leaves the page and searches for the same page in a search engine, and lands through a sponsored link and makes a purchase. Here, the sponsored link receives credit for the conversion as the Last-Touch point.
  • Best for: Websites that are interested in discovering what drove the final conversion.


  • Definition: In this model, each step in the user’s journey is given equal credit for its contribution to the conversion.
  • For instance: If a prospect arrives at the website through four different channels, each channel would get 25% of the reward for the final conversion.
  • Best for: Websites with diverse product lines that cater to various markets/groups.


  • Definition: In this type of marketing attribution model, a portion of the conversion is distributed to each of the channels involved in a buyer’s conversion journey based on the value assigned to each channel.
  • For instance: Marketers weigh each channel based on the percentage of revenue generated and the cost to maintain the channel. If the email has the highest overhead and the best return, it would get more weightage than a CPC campaign with high cost and low return.
  • Best for: Websites where budgets or targets are tied higher to some channels.

Time Decay

  • Definition: The time decay multi-touch attribution model gives more credit to the touchpoints a prospect interacts with closer to the conversion.
  • For instance: If a customer arrives through three different channels, the last channel in the process would get the majority of the contribution – 50%, the second channel would get around 30%, and the first channel would get around 20% of the credit.
  • Best for: Websites where prospects do long-term research before making a purchase.

Wrap Up

However, as a marketer, you should keep in mind that a custom model can be complex to devise, and you need advanced marketing attribution software to customize your attribution strategy. If a custom multi-touch attribution model seems like a good fit for your business, do experiments with different types of models and study their advantages and disadvantages to ensure success in your marketing campaigns.