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

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Today, conversions stem from numerous consumer interactions across marketing touchpoints and channels, including social media posts, phone calls, and email campaigns. As a result, 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 written in data, and moving to data-driven attribution is still a hidden challenge for many companies.

Brands set up to make a change and move 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 discover if they are overinvesting in specific channels and identify the touchpoints that should get more credit and budget for affecting customer behaviour and decisions.

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

What Is Multi-touch Attribution (MTA)?

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

Multi-touch attribution, also known as MTA, helps marketers identify the touchpoints responsible for sales and conversions. It’s worth pointing out that multi-touch strategies and programs often include data on marketing channels. But 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 formulas used to determine the importance and relationships of the values venture into the data science territory, marketers must understand the role of every touchpoint.

Implementing multi-touch attribution software can help businesses with attribution modelling and identifying the marketing efforts that kicked off the customer journey and ultimately led to a sale. In addition, reviewing the best practices or examples can help you better understand the multi-touch attribution process.

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

Since she is still not ready to make a purchase, she keeps surfing the Internet and sees a display ad featuring your analytics tool. As a result, Helen clicks on it, gets to your website, and makes a purchase.

Capitalising on marketing channels, including calls, is a critical ingredient of the delightful omnichannel experience. That also implies utilising the right solutions, like inbound call tracking and lead distribution system, and identifying the best attribution models for your business.

First-touch, Last-touch, and Multi-touch Attribution

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

  • First-touch Attribution Model: Using this model implies assigning all the credit to the first digital asset or website page that led a customer to sign up or purchase your product. So, for instance, if a social media post is the first digital asset consumer interacts with, it will get the credit for the conversion.
  • Last-touch Attribution Model: As the name suggests, this attribution model implies giving all the credit to the last digital asset or webpage a customer interacts with before a conversion event. The last-touch model is an excellent choice if you are looking to evaluate bottom-of-the-funnel content like landing pages or CTAs.
  • Multi-touch Attribution Model: The model considers all touchpoints and credits them, depending on their importance and the type of multi-touch attribution a company deems appropriate for a specific ad campaign.

Multi-channel Attribution & Marketing Mix Modelling

Multi-touch attribution is often confused with multi-channel attribution (MCA). The latter is a blend of the MTA and marketing mix modelling (MMM). It helps companies understand which consumer’s offline and online activities lead to a conversion.

This model also implies using tracking pixels to assess the performance of marketing channels like SEO, social media, or ad retargeting.

Marketing mix modelling uses a multivariate regression method to measure and predict the impact specific sales or marketing efforts have on buying behaviour. It often implies gathering and analysing product information, price, seasonality, customer location, ad campaign details, and broader data like economic conditions.

Types of Multi-touch Attribution

Companies can use several attribution models to identify and weigh the most critical touchpoints in the customer journey.

Here are the definitions of the most common models to help you find suitable options for your business.

Linear Model

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

For instance, if you have four touchpoints, 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

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

For example, if there are four touchpoints, here’s how the value can be given to interactions: 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 implies crediting the first and last interactions equally with a higher percentage and distributing the remaining portion equally between other touchpoints.

If you are evaluating 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

As the name suggests, it resembles W when the credit is assigned. This model implies giving equal credit to the customer journey’s first, middle, and last touchpoints. Then, distributing the remaining percentage equally between other interactions.

How To Apply MTA to Your Daily Practice

There’s no denying that MTA is not the most straightforward approach. While businesses must evaluate 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.

If you’re looking to get multi-touch attribution off the ground, you can build the modelling in-house or buy an attribution tool. But regardless of your choice, keep these three points in mind:

  • Tracking: It’s vital to track data from the entire customer journey, including data that resides in various solutions your company uses.
  • Attribution models: To apply a suitable model, brands need to analyse and process information and ensure that it is standardised and there are no duplicates.
  • Visualisation: How the data is presented and visualised can complicate or facilitate how companies compare different datasets and make marketing decisions.

The Benefits of MTA in Marketing

Multi-touch attribution can help businesses solve numerous problems. Here are some of the benefits MTA offers to brands:

  • Collecting crucial data and mapping customer journey
  • 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

There are upsides to using the existing solution or software powering your multi-touch attribution capabilities instead of developing it in-house. However, it might cost extra money and require customization to meet the needs of your business.

Here is a short list of the most reliable vendors to assess various touchpoints across the marketing funnel, help you access attribution data, and gain actionable insights.

Phonexa Marketing Automation

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

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 helps companies measure and analyse the performance of their marketing efforts, get access to data across various solutions, make data-backed decisions, and organise attribution data.

Its marketing analytics tool and dashboard enable brands to close the loop on their marketing initiatives with accurate multi-touch revenue attribution and capitalise on the efforts that work best.

Salesforce Attribution App

Salesforce empowers enterprises and small businesses to identify the marketing touchpoints that led to conversions or the highest revenue, depending on the companies’ attribution models.

Google Analytics Multi-touch Attribution

Attribution with Google Analytics (GA) can be rules-based and data-driven. GA also offers companies its Multi-Channel Funnels (MCF) feature. Here are the primary differences between these two features.

Source: Google 

When it comes to MCF, Google Analytics’ proprietary algorithm computes the gains for every touchpoint. It also compares the conversion probability when one of the interactions does not occur in the journey.

On top of that, using MCF Model Explorer can help businesses conduct a more detailed analysis and understand the ROI implications of different data-driven attribution models.

Start Your Multi-touch Attribution Journey

Brands strive to eliminate the guesswork and focus their budget and efforts on the right digital assets. Moving to multi-touch attribution is an excellent choice for companies looking to elevate customer experience, monitor lead quality, and keep campaign goals top of mind.

Schedule a consultation to learn how Phonexa’s all-in-one automation solution can help your business identify the factors influencing purchase decisions with the use of multi-touch attribution.

Multi-touch Attribution Frequently Asked Questions

What is attribution strategy?

Attribution strategy allows businesses to assess the customer experience within the given campaign, evaluate the importance of different touchpoints, and assign credit to specific customer interactions across the customer journey. In addition, the attribution strategy lets companies see the impact of particular touchpoints online and offline.

Why is multi-touch attribution important?

It allows marketers to pinpoint the touchpoints that contribute to sales and conversions. It clearly shows how client touchpoints, customer experience, and conversion rate can be improved.

How does multi-touch attribution work?

Multi-touch attribution shows how each digital asset and webpage can influence the buying decision of prospective clients. Furthermore, it allows the creation of custom attribution models that imply optimising every touchpoint to fit the custom-made journeys.

Victoria Berezhetska is a Copywriter at Phonexa. Victoria has a degree in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with extensive working experience as a PR specialist and content writer, touching on many different areas of digital marketing. In her work at Phonexa, she covers a wide range of topics, including call tracking, lead generation, marketing automation, and so much more.

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