The Significance of Multi-touch Attribution in Modern Marketing

Victoria Berezhetska
Content Lead
8 minutes read
Victoria Berezhetska
Content Lead
8 minutes read

Today, conversions arise from various consumer interactions across marketing touchpoints and channels, encompassing social media posts, phone calls, and email campaigns. Consequently, identifying the marketing efforts that drive sales and conversions remains one of the businesses’ most essential and complicated tasks.

It’s no secret that customer experience is inscribed in data, and transitioning to data-driven attribution is still a concealed challenge for many companies.

Brands geared up to make a change and shift to multi-touch attribution aspire to be able to draw a direct line from attribution data to business results. However, around 76% of all marketing professionals say they already have – or will have in a year – the capability to measure marketing attribution effectively.

With a multi-touch media perspective, companies can determine if they are overinvesting in specific channels and identify the touchpoints that should receive more credit and budget for influencing customer behaviour and decisions.

Let’s explore different types of data-driven multi-touch attribution models and how attribution tools can assist companies in evaluating the performance of their marketing output.

What Is Multi-touch Attribution and Why Is It Important?

Fundamentally, marketing attribution refers to how businesses understand how their tactics, strategies, campaigns, and potential consumer interactions can contribute to conversions, sales, and revenue.

Multi-touch attribution (MTA) assists marketers in identifying the touchpoints responsible for sales and conversions. It’s worth noting that multi-touch strategies and programmes often include data on marketing channels. However, they are designed to assess the performance and weight of specific touchpoints.

Multi-touch attribution establishes the cost and weight of each touchpoint in a customer journey and compares them to the value of the conversions. While the formulae used to determine the importance and relationships of the values delve into the territory of data science, marketers must comprehend the role of every touchpoint.

Implementing multi-touch attribution software can assist businesses with attribution modelling and identifying the marketing initiatives that originated the customer journey and ultimately resulted in a sale. Moreover, reviewing best practises or examples can enhance your understanding of the multi-touch attribution process.

Let’s say that Helen is your prospective client. Firstly, she conducts a Google search for an analytics tool and eventually clicks on a paid search result. Then, Helen reads a blog post covering the best analytics tools on the market. The blog post features a link to the product review page, which Helen clicks.

As she is not yet ready to make a purchase, she continues browsing the Internet and sees a display ad featuring your analytics tool. Consequently, Helen clicks on it, visits your website, and completes a purchase. Taking advantage of marketing channels, including calls, is a crucial element of the delightful omnichannel experience. This also implies using the right solutions, like inbound call tracking and lead distribution systems, and identifying the best attribution models for your business.

Attribution Models

Let’s delve into the principal differences between these attribution models in more detail.

First-touch Attribution Model

 Utilising this model entails assigning all the credit to the initial digital asset or website page that led a customer to sign up or purchase your product. For example, if a social media post is the first digital asset a consumer interacts with, it will receive credit for the conversion.

Last-touch Attribution Model

 As the name suggests, this attribution model involves giving all the credit to the final digital asset or webpage a customer interacts with before a conversion event. The last-touch model is an excellent choice if you are evaluating bottom-of-the-funnel content like landing pages or CTAs.

Multi-touch Attribution Model

This model considers all touchpoints and credits them based on their importance and the type of multi-touch attribution a company deems appropriate for a specific ad campaign.

MTA & Marketing Mix Modelling

Multi-touch attribution is often mistaken for multi-channel attribution (MCA). The latter is a blend of MTA and marketing mix modelling (MMM), helping companies understand which consumers’ offline and online activities lead to a sale. This model also involves using tracking pixels to evaluate the performance of marketing channels like SEO, social media, or ad retargeting. Marketing mix modelling employs a multivariate regression method to measure and predict the impact specific sales or marketing efforts have on buying behaviour. It often involves gathering and analysing product information, price, seasonality, customer location, ad campaign details, and broader data like economic conditions.

Common MTA Models

Several attribution models can be used to identify and weigh crucial touchpoints in the customer journey. Here’s a breakdown of common multi-touch attribution models to help you find the best option for your business.

Linear Model

This is the simplest way to apply a multi-touch approach. Linear attribution assigns an identical value to all touchpoints along the customer’s path to purchase.

If you have four touchpoints, for example, you credit each equally: 25% to email, 25% to a blog post, 25% to a social media post, and 25% to referral.

Time-decay Model

Utilising this model implies that credit is assigned to all the touchpoints that resulted in your customers converting, with more credit given to the most recent touchpoints.

For instance, if there are four touchpoints, here’s how the value can be applied to each interaction: 5% to email, 15% to referral, 30% to a social media post, and 50% to a blog post.

U-shaped Model

Using this attribution model entails crediting the first and last interactions equally with a higher percentage and distributing the remaining portion equally between other touchpoints.

If you assess four interactions, here’s how the value can be assigned: 40% to referral, 10% to a social media post, 10% to a blog post, and 40% to email.

W-shaped Model

True to its name, this model takes on a W-shaped distribution when assigning credit. It involves assigning equal credit to the customer journey’s initial, middle, and final touchpoints. The remaining percentage is then distributed equally among other interactions.

How To Implement MTA in Your Daily Practise

It’s undeniable that MTA is not the most straightforward approach. While businesses must assess the impact of each potential customer action, they must also reorganise their tactics around customers, experiment, and understand what drives CLV beyond obvious journeys and marketing spend. For those aiming to initiate multi-touch attribution, you can either develop the modelling in-house or invest in an attribution tool. Regardless of your choice, keep these three points in mind:

  • Tracking: It’s vital to track data from the entire customer journey, including data from various solutions your company uses.
  • Attribution models: To apply a suitable attribution model, brands must analyse and process information and ensure that it is standardised and free of duplicates.
  • Visualisation: How the data is presented and visualised is critical. It can complicate or facilitate how companies compare different datasets and make marketing decisions.

The Advantages of MTA in Marketing

Multi-touch attribution can help businesses address numerous challenges. The following are some of the benefits MTA offers:

  • Collecting crucial data and mapping customer journeys
  • Identifying channels, campaigns, and touchpoints that impact the sales cycle
  • Connecting sales intelligence to the generated revenue
  • Generating more high-quality leads
  • Collecting, processing, and centralising information from across marketing solutions

Marketing Attribution Vendors

Opting for the current solution or software that fuels your multi-touch attribution capabilities instead of developing it internally has its advantages. Nevertheless, this approach may entail additional costs and necessitate customisation to align with your business requirements. Below is a concise roster of reputable vendors that can evaluate diverse touchpoints throughout the marketing funnel, assist you in obtaining attribution data, and provide actionable insights.

Phonexa Marketing Automation

Phonexa enables brands to optimise ad campaigns with a singular suite of tracking solutions for performance marketing. Its marketing automation solutions help businesses map customer data, tap into interaction and call history, implement engagement tactics, and achieve multi-channel attribution.

Marketers often overlook the importance of inbound calls as a critical part of the customer journey. Phonexa’s call intelligence helps companies tie inbound calls to various attribution models and identify and track all the touchpoints that led to calls, including marketing campaigns, channels, ads, webpages, emails, landing pages, and even keywords.

HubSpot Marketing Analytics

HubSpot‘s software assists companies in gauging and scrutinising the efficacy of their marketing endeavours. It provides access to data from diverse solutions, facilitating data-driven decisions and the organisation of attribution data.   The marketing analytics tool and dashboard empower brands to comprehensively assess their marketing initiatives, ensuring precise multi-touch revenue attribution and the maximisation of successful efforts.

Salesforce Attribution App

Salesforce enables enterprises and small businesses to pinpoint the marketing touchpoints that resulted in conversions or the highest revenue, depending on the companies’ attribution models.  

Google Analytics Multi-touch Attribution

Google Analytics (GA) facilitates rules-based and data-driven attribution. GA extends its Multi-Channel Funnels (MCF) feature to companies. Here are the primary distinctions between these two features.


  Attribution Feature Multi-Channel Funnels Feature
  • Model comparison
  • Conversion paths (includes conversion credit)
  • Conversion lags
  • Path length
  • Model comparison
  • Assisted conversions
  • Top conversion paths (excludes conversion credit)
  • Time lags
  • Path length
  • ROI analysis
  • Model explorer
Rules-based models
  • Last click*
  • First click*
  • Linear*
  • Time decay*
  • Position-based* 
*excludes direct visits
  • Last click (excludes direct)
  • Last interaction*
  • Last Google Ads click
  • First interaction*
  • Linear*
  • Time-decay*
  • Position-based*
*includes direct visits

Source: Google 

Regarding MCF, Google Analytics’ exclusive algorithm calculates gains for each touchpoint and compares the conversion probability when one of the interactions is absent from the journey. Moreover, utilising MCF Model Explorer can assist businesses in conducting a more thorough analysis and comprehending the ROI implications of various data-driven attribution models.

Embark on Your Multi-touch Attribution Journey

Brands aim to eradicate guesswork and direct their budget and efforts toward the correct digital assets. Transitioning to multi-touch attribution is a commendable decision for companies seeking to enhance the customer experience, monitor lead quality, and prioritise campaign goals.

Book a demo to learn how Phonexa’s all-in-one automation solution can help your business identify the factors influencing purchase decisions using multi-touch attribution.

Frequently Asked Questions About Multi-touch Attribution

What is attribution strategy?

An attribution strategy enables businesses to evaluate the customer experience within a given campaign, assess the significance of different touchpoints, and allocate credit to specific customer interactions throughout the customer journey. Additionally, the attribution strategy enables companies to observe the impact of particular touchpoints both online and offline.

Why is multi-touch attribution important?

MTA enables marketers to identify the touchpoints contributing to sales and conversions. It distinctly illustrates how client touchpoints, customer experience, and conversion rates can be enhanced.

How does multi-touch attribution work?

Multi-touch attribution demonstrates how each digital asset and webpage can influence the purchasing decisions of potential clients. Moreover, it allows the creation of custom attribution models, implying the optimisation of every touchpoint to align with bespoke journeys.

Got Questions?

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Victoria Berezhetska avatar
Victoria Berezhetska
Content Lead

Victoria Berezhetska is a Content Lead at Phonexa. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with extensive working experience as a PR specialist and content writer. In her work at Phonexa, she covers diverse topics around digital marketing, including affiliate marketing, call tracking, lead generation, marketing automation, and so much more.

Education: City University of Seattle

Expertise: Affiliate marketing, digital marketing, call tracking, lead generation, insurance


  • 8+ years of experience in digital marketing, specializing in building customer loyalty

  • Deep B2B and B2C content expertise intertwined with strong analytical and interpersonal skills

  • Unwavering drive for growth and commitment to creating impactful content

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