Credit where credit is due.

It’s a simple mantra, but an important one. After all, who doesn’t like to be acknowledged for their work (especially when it goes well)?

Marketing attribution models are a way to assign credit to marketing touchpoints, including campaigns, programs, channels, events, and more. Attribution models allow us to see how what marketers are putting out into the world helps move prospective customers along the buyer’s journey.

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We recently hosted a webinar all about marketing attribution models. Our own Cailin Radcliffe, Director of Analytics and Strategy, and Maile Johnson, Director of Demand Generation at LeanData, got together to dig into attribution.

They explore different models, why they matter, what your choices are, and how to pick the one that’s right for your business—and shared insider tips about how to get started with the most complex of the models: multi-touch attribution.

Watch the on-demand session below or read on for key insights.

Why marketing attribution is important

There are three main reasons why marketing attribution matters, according to Maile. With it you can:

  1. See how different campaigns, channels, and content are contributing to pipeline and revenue, as well as how they work together—giving them the information necessary to make data-driven decisions
  2. Prove marketing contribution to pipeline creation and revenue generation
  3. Help align marketing and sales regarding goals, tactics, etc.

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The 3 Main Attribution Models

There are three main marketing attribution models: first touch, last touch, and multi-touch.

There’s no one-size-fits-all; each model can tell an organization different things.

What are first and last touch attribution?

The simplest models—and the most similar—first and last touch attribution simplify who gets credit for pulling prospective customers into the marketing funnel.

First touch gives 100% of the credit to the first marketing touchpoint a prospective customer encounters while last touch gives 100% of the credit to the last marketing touchpoint before a prospect converts.

What is multi-touch attribution?

Multi-touch attribution is a model for measuring marketing touches along the entire customer journey. Unlike first or last touch attribution, multi-touch aims to look at all of the touchpoints that contributed to the eventual conversion of a prospect into a customer.

Additionally, multi-touch attribution gives marketers the opportunity to assign an amount of credit—or even a dollar amount—to different touchpoints so that they can accurately calculate return on investment (ROI) for different tactics and channels.

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How to decide which marketing attribution model is right for you

Now you know what marketing attribution models are and why you might want one. But how do you know which one is the best fit for your business?

The first touch model is good for seeing what’s driving top of funnel (TOFU) in your marketing organization, whereas last touch is helpful for seeing what closes deals. Lots of marketers start with first and last touch until they get more confident in their use of marketing attribution models and their ability to track metrics.

Multi-touch attribution, on the other hand, offers the most variation to meet different business needs.

Knowing which model is the best fit for your organization means looking at plenty of different factors, including the complexity of your marketing mix (how many campaigns you run, how many channels you manage, etc.), the length of your sales cycle, and the price point of your product.

B2B software as a service (SaaS) companies often find that first and last touch are insufficient for them to learn what really works and that multi-touch provides a more holistic view, according to Maile.

Pro tips for setting up a multi-touch attribution model

Every organization is different, so what works for one may not work for another.

If you’re convinced that multi-touch attribution is for you, take a look at the tips below from Maile and Cailin. They share what they wished they had known prior to getting started with multi-touch, so you can avoid common pitfalls and hit the path towards attribution success. .

Tried and true tips for getting started with multi-touch attribution:

  • Ensure marketing and sales are aligned regarding what to measure and how to measure. Aim to get leadership from both teams together to make decisions surrounding this.
  • The integrity of the data is integral to the success of multi-touch, so be sure to set up correct labelling from the get-go to ensure you’re not crediting the wrong campaign, channel, or event for a conversion.
  • Look for technologies to bridge the gap between marketing and sales’ respective tech stacks.
  • When getting set up, ask the sales team: what’s the most important thing that marketing can be doing right now? Set goals against this.
  • Think about how to weight the different touches. At Vidyard, we use a custom-weighted model that gives 30% of the credit to the first touch, 30% of the credit to the last touch and splits the final 40% between the middle touches.
  • Think about the end output and the people who will be consuming the data generated by the attribution model. Before getting it set up, talk to them about their needs and how they use the data.

Does your organization use a marketing attribution model? How was the set-up process? Are you happy with the data you’re gathering? Let us know—sound off in the comments!

Kendall Walters