In today’s digital age, the buyer journey travels through many online platforms before it eventually becomes a conversion. Because of this, it can be highly challenging to ensure that campaigns are optimized and that consumer experiences feel personal.

That’s where multi-touch attribution comes in. Marketers need an awareness of which particular touchpoints altered a consumer’s decision to move forward positively.

With the help of multi-touch attribution models, easily identify where you’re spending most of your marketing budget and whether it needs to be reallocated.

Once marketing professionals understand the roles these touchpoints play in the buyer’s journey, they can begin to hone in on them and push through for more conversions.

In this blog post, we take a look at multi-touch attribution: What it is and how it impacts the customer journey.

Whether you work in marketing, own a business, or are looking to learn more about multi-touch attribution, this writing should be of great value.

Let’s get started!

What Is Multi-Touch Attribution?

First and foremost, it’s important to explain multi-touch attribution clearly. Simply put, multi-touch attribution measures each touchpoint’s impact in driving a conversion, thereby determining the value of that touchpoint.

Here is an example:

Say a consumer considers purchasing a new pair of shoes. After doing some research online, Adidas advertisements target them.

Initially, they see a display advertisement and ignore it.

However, a native ad catches their attention on Instagram shortly after, driving them back to the Adidas website. Then, they receive an email with a promotional offer and a discount code, prompting them to complete a purchase with Adidas.

The ads represent different touchpoints on the buyer’s journey. Marketers can use multi-touch attribution to attribute sales to native ads and email campaigns.

Moreover, when marketers see that the display advertisement was ineffective, they move onto a different touch attribution strategy.

By doing so, they save money and resources since it’s clear and evidence-backed that the display advertisement isn’t working.

Marketers can use multiple multi-touch attribution models that utilize user-level data to determine how user-level events, such as clicks and impressions affect the ultimate goal: More conversions. Some great ways to measure advertising effectiveness:

The Different Types of Multi-Touch Attribution Models

In the world of multi-touch attribution, many models are used to measure the touchpoints of a customer journey.

Multi-touch attribution models consider each touchpoint before conversion. The main difference between these models is how much credit is assigned to each touchpoint in the customer journey. Marketers use these models as is or adapt them to create their own.

Here’s information about various multi-touch attribution models in relation to marketing measurement:

The Linear Multi-Touch Attribution Model

As part of linear attribution, each touchpoint in the buyer journey is given equal credit for driving the sale. While this type of attribution considers all the touchpoints in the buyer’s journey, every touchpoint is equally valued.

An attribution credit of 50% would be awarded, for example, if the customer viewed a native ad and received an email from Adidas.

If you add another touchpoint, such as a television advertisement and a sponsored tweet on an athlete’s Twitter, each touchpoint will now be credited with 25% of the attribution credit.

Keep in mind that different touchpoints affect consumers in different ways.

The consumer might not buy Adidas shoes even if they see hundreds of advertisements, but when LeBron James tweets about his new shoes and the brand, they make the purchase.

In linear attribution, LeBron would only receive about one percent of the credit even though it is clear he played a significant role in the sale.

Despite its advantages over the first-and-last-touch attribution, linear attribution has a lot of limitations.

So far, the analysis doesn’t ignore any touchpoints. Nevertheless, we aren’t any closer to understanding which touchpoint was most influential. So, keep reading.

The U-Shaped Multi-Touch Attribution Model

The U-shaped model shows that the first touchpoint is worth 40%, and the lead conversion is 40%, too. Additional touchpoints encountered along the way make up the remaining 20%.

In this way, your team can see which touchpoints start the customer journey and which led the customer to convert.

Referring back to the previous example, this would give LeBron credit for making the conversion.

In addition, he would get 40% of the credit, while the first TV ad the consumer experienced would get another 40%.

All the other touchpoints, including YouTube ads, display ads, and more, would evenly split the last 20 percent of the credit.

The linear attribution model is more sophisticated because it understands that not every touchpoint is the same.

Since this model values both the beginning and the end of a touchpoint, it reflects how marketers value touchpoints intrinsically. Despite this, the linear attribution model isn’t perfect by any means. It views very simply the middle of the customer journey.

The Time Decay Multi-Touch Attribution Model

Consumers interact with touchpoints closer to a conversion, which the time decay model credits. Although it provides credit to touchpoints on the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel, this model emphasizes touchpoints at the bottom.

Time to apply the Adidas example again. Now, for the sake of simplicity, imagine the customer only experienced four touchpoints.

In this model, the first TV ad a customer sees gets only 5 percent credit (first touchpoint), while LeBron’s tweets get half credit (final touchpoint).

A customer experiences an advertisement before visiting LeBron’s Twitter; Prior touchpoints are only given 20 percent credit for previous touchpoints.

The model values touchpoints that lead directly to conversions and doesn’t give much weight to awareness-based touchpoints. It might be appropriate, or it may be short-sighted, depending on the marketing philosophy of your team.

Remember: Conversions keep your business alive. So, they certainly deserve plenty of credit.

Why Is Multi-Touch Attribution Important?

In addition to the above models, there are also other multi-touch attribution methods, including custom models, w-shaped models, and the full-path attribution model.

It’s crucial to remember that not all attribution models are touchpoints.

In fact:

Multi-touch attribution only refers to the models that evaluate and weigh the impact of several touchpoints at a time.

Different marketing touchpoints are needed to be considered as part of your marketing efforts. Using multi-touch attribution will enable you to hit that pain point earlier and identify where things need to change and why.

Multi-touch attribution models should be used to track campaigns based on digital expenditure (i.e., email or online paid advertising) active across multiple channels and devices as long as marketers can tie an individual to a marketing event.

In addition to applying MTA insights for email deployments, automation platforms can also utilize these insights to increase conversion rates and impact the customer journey.


We hope this multi-touch attribution guide helped you understand multi-touch attribution and its significant role in marketing. Across a range of advertising channels, attribution models enable marketers to analyze their marketing efforts for increased conversions.

For those looking for assistance with their multi-channel attribution efforts, we’re here. By combining super accurate multi-channel ad attribution with AI, we granularly track your various marketing campaigns, let you know which are meeting your KPIs, and give weighted credit for their responsibility in a conversion – allowing you to scale only the ads that are working and turn off the ones that aren’t. Attribute works across various platforms giving you a full look at every touchpoint it took for a lead to convert and what you paid for it, therefore providing you with true attribution. You cannot get that anywhere else.

Need more information on what to focus on when it comes to lead attribution?

Click here to read more about what you can learn from attribution reports

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looking for the most comprehensive ad and vendor attribution for your service business? look no further.

Whether you generate leads via social media or buy them from a vendor, you need to know that the money you are spending is being utilized most effectively. Attribute takes in true reporting from each vendor and displays which is giving you the best ROI and granularly tracks your various marketing campaigns, letting you know which are meeting your KPIs and crediting only the ones responsible for the conversion – allowing you to scale the ads that are working and shut off the ones that aren’t. 

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