Get Your Best Return on Marketing Investment Through Attribution Modeling

Out with the old and in with the new, they say as yet another year goes by and you look to revamp your current marketing efforts online. Perhaps your strategy has gone stale and your customers simply aren’t finding you. If this is the case, then you’ll need to get on board the data train stat and figure out how you’ve been attributing your channels to get the highest return on marketing investment. Check out these six attribution models to figure out exactly what you need to start doing to kick the new year off the right way.

1. Last Click

With this attribution model, the credit goes to the last link clicked before the customer converted. The last non-direct click is the second to last click before conversion and the last click AdWords model is the last AdWord that was clicked before the customer converted.


There is not much data processing that is necessary here. It’s also the best way to get an equal comparison across all campaigns and channels.


This model is biased towards the middle and end of funnel tactics and it doesn’t take into account how many times a customer interacted with the brand during the search session before they made the conversion.

2. First Click

The credit here goes to the first channel before conversion in a search session.


Again, not much data processing is necessary here and it provides more insight into how prospects find you in the first place.


Like the opposite of the last click model, the first click model gives more importance to top of the funnel tactics. Additionally, it usually takes more than one search for a buyer to find a product so this model should be used mainly for baseline comparisons with other models.

3. Position Based

This model is a hybrid of the first click and last click reports and allows you to give a desired percentage of attribution to each touch point.


Position based modelling allows you to place a higher value on marketing channels that both introduce and convert customers. The leftover percentages can be valued on middle-of-the-funnel sections that don’t have as strong an importance.


If you have lots of data and are new to attributing your touch points then this can get very messy very quickly. Additionally, this could de-emphasize middle of the funnel behaviors that may be instrumental in leading to conversions.

4. Linear

The linear model places equal emphasis on all stages of the conversion process.


This is a great model to use during the brand awareness stage of the marketing funnel or for campaigns that are continuously being run to maintain contact with the customer. If you are running an awareness campaign, each touch point is equally important when you are looking to be known by your customers.


You run the risk of double spending your marketing dollars and not investing more into the most effective touch points.

5. Time Decay

Time Decay allocates most of the credit to the channel closest to the conversion and increasingly less the farther away you go from the conversion.


It simulates a prospect well in that it favors the time it takes for one to make a purchasing decision. Additionally, you can map the model to your own sales cycle and is a good model to test with.


Time Decay is biased against initial touch points that could have been driving forces into why the customer made the conversion in the first place.

6. Custom

The ideal situation, this model can be formed around the business decision at hand and your objective according to where you are in the sales funnel. In order to properly pull this off, you’ll need to use the above-mentioned models as the baseline and then layer in case specific details to optimize the model for the best return on investment.


If you can pull it off right everytime, you will be putting all the money into the right choice that is based on your specific customer behavior patterns.


This is not recommended for beginners as it is complex and requires knowledge of the other attribution models before one can jump in.

If this is your first time using attribution models, then it would be wise to do a controlled test on your data points to see which channels are leading to conversions. Using the first five models and dummy data is a great way to wet your feet before trying more advanced custom attribution modeling. Once you’ve found your groove, you’ll be the one holding all the smart money.

Want to learn more about how to identify and utilize the right channels to meet your marketing objectives? Then be sure to attend the 2nd Digital Pharma Multichannel Marketing Boot Camp West, taking place March 12-13, 2018 at the Hilton San Francisco Airport Bayfront in Burlingame, CA. To learn more about this event please download the brochure or visit the website. Click here to register and be sure to mention Priority Code C1035BLOG.

Leave a Reply