What is Attribution Marketing and How Do You Report on It?

What is Attribution Marketing & Why Should You Report on It?

What is Attribution Marketing?

Modern businesses use attribution marketing to measure the success of their advertising methods and goals. Also called marketing attribution, the practice entails the assessment of various touchpoints. You can think of a touchpoint as every stopover a customer has to make before making a purchase. We will dedicate a paragraph on this below. Professionals use different models to achieve their attribution goals. Again, we will discuss each model below. After the analysis, the sales team produces clear reports on the most practical marketing tactics. The business can then use the reported data to create advertising campaigns that can fulfill the needs of the consumers.

What makes Attribution so beneficial in Marketing?

First, a business has to use every avenue to deal with competition in its niche. One of these avenues is attribution. Rather than spend on any advertising technique, a business may engage on a mission to find out how recent customers located its product or service. Did they read a social media ad, an email message, or a pay-per-click ad? Might they have seen an ad on TV or heard about it on the radio? What a digital marketer wants to identify is the technique with the highest return on investment (ROI). After that, they can allot more money to that technique. This can help the company cope better. To summarize, attribution marketing can lead to the following advantages

Practical marketing expenditures – Attribution models can show the exact technique that has the greatest impact on customers’ purchase behaviors. Then the business can adjust its marketing budget accordingly.
Could boost the ROI – When attribution modeling is effective, marketers can reach their target client at the right time and place and with the correct message. This can improve the lead conversion rate and cause a boost in ROI.
Customized campaigns –Attribution reports can help a seller create a more bespoke and targeted advertising campaign.
Focused product development – A person-level attribution can allow the salespeople to pinpoint the needs of different customers. After that, they can use the discovered insights to address the needs of the customer.

What are the attribution touchpoints?

attribution touchpoints to understand user behaviour

Whatever directs customers to where your products or services are is a touchpoint. Rarely do visitors use a straight path to find what you sell. They will stopover at different points before deciding that they want to buy from you. Hence, a touchpoint can be an offline or an online promotion technique. When considering physical advertisement, touchpoint can be a TV, radio, newspaper, flyer, brochure, magazine, or billboard.

When it is online, touchpoints can be display marketing, video advertising, email marketing, pay-per-click marketing, organic search marketing (SEO), and webinars. The main thing to note is that all these points represent the conversion paths. So when selling a complex or a pricy product, customers might take longer to decide.

Attribution marketing models

Attribution modeling works effectively through measuring instruments called models. These allow a digital marketer to weigh various aspects of an ad to see which ones have performed well. Selecting the best model can ensure that you measure the effectiveness of your promotions accurately. A model will assign value to a touchpoint based on statistical analysis at the level of the user. In short, it avoids the use of aggregate data. The most influential models will reveal the following:

• The exact message that a shopper read and via which channel
• The point of contact that greatly influenced the buyer to buy
• How brand perception influenced the lead conversion
• The advertising messages that seemed to capture the attention of every consumer
• How the order of messaging affected the consumer’s final decision
• How macro-environment factors affected the consumers’ path.

To help you understand the marketing attribution models better, we will list and discuss them next. But before we do that, you need to note that there are two categories involved. These are single-touch and multi-touch. Each has unique models within it.

Single-touch attribution models

single touch attribution models: first & last touch

These attribution models give total credit to only one marketing touchpoint. They disregard the fact that a consumer might have seen other ads before purchasing. A good example would be Google Ads or Adwords. They are popular mainly because they are easy to implement. Various single-touch attribution marketing models include the following.


With this choice, the assumption is that the first touchpoint receives total recognition. The other paths a purchaser may have chosen or any messages they may have read will not count. The model values the first method that caught the attention of a shopper. As it ignores all subsequent contacts, it is not so reliable.


This is the opposite of the First-Touch model. The recognition goes to the last point of contact. The assumption is that the buyer only chose to convert when they stumbled upon the last touchpoint. Hence, it ignores the odds that customers might have had interactions with the brand via different touches and channels before converting.

Multi-Touch Attribution Model

Multi-touch models consider all points of contact a consumer may have met before they decided to stop and buy. Professional marketers prefer these models because they are more practical and accurate. Some MTA models weigh all touches equally before assigning a value to the best. They include the following:

Even-weight or linear

The even-weight model assigns all credit equally. To understand how it works, consider soccer. When someone scores a goal during soccer, the entire team gets the benefits. In the same way, the linear model sees all touchpoints as a contributing factor to the customer’s final decision. Hence, all touches in the path of conversion are valid and deserve tribute. While the linear model is better than any single-touch model, it has a downside. All contacts are not the same; some have more potential to drive traffic to a site page.

multi touch attribution model for marketing

Time Decay

This attribution marketing model assumes that contacts so near the conversion point deserve more acknowledgment. Unlike the Last-Touch that credits only the last touch, the Time Delay model recognizes a few others who are closest to the last touch. In short, it does not assume that all contacts are equal or similar in strength like the liner model.

Position-based or U-shaped model

The last of the three models is the U-shaped or position-based model. With this, the first and the last marketing contacts receive forty percent of the credit each. The remaining points receive the remaining 20 percent in an equal manner. The model assumes that the first touchpoint to catch the customer’s interest and the touchpoint that influences them to convert are the most praiseworthy. Hence, it will not properly recognize a point anywhere in the middle that can potentially boost revenue.

W-shaped Model

In this case, the first, third, and last touchpoints get 90 percent of the credit. After that, the second and fourth contacts share the remaining ten percent.


In this one, 22.5 percent of the credit goes to the first interaction, while the next 22.5 percent shifts to the interaction that made the contact. Another 22.5 percent goes to the interaction that made the deal, and the last 22.5 percent goes to the interaction that ended the transaction. Then, the model gives all other touchpoints the remaining ten percent.

Custom model

You as a marketer can assign credit to your advertising methods use a custom model. However, you and your sales force must determine the weighting percentages to use according to your industry, channels, and general consumer behavior.

What is attribution reporting?

Reporting is an important aspect of attribution marketing. It refers to the act of giving credit to every marketing technique that you often use. Attribution reporting allows a business to pinpoint promotions, tasks, and channels that are causing higher sales.

Benefits of attribution marketing reporting

As a digital marketer, you should use attribution reporting to achieve the following benefits:

• Obtain data on how your marketing efforts are interacting together to help the business reach its revenue goals
• Attribution reports produce insights into which marketing methods are helping the business in generating the metrics it is targeting.
• Attribution reporting helps the marketers understand the common journeys to conversions. It estimates the average number of touches a consumer might have had before converting, finally.
• When you measure attribution, you can cost-effectively apportion your finances. In short, you can allot more finances to the methods that are generating more traffic and sales.

two people analyzing marketing attribution report

How will attribution reporting help you in marketing?

Attribution will therefore clear your doubts regarding what is working and what is not working. It will let you see where you have been wasting resources and also where you should channel them from this point onwards. Your attribution report should help you answer some questions. These include the following:

1. Exactly how much time does it take your customers to convert?

Knowing how long customers take to finish their conversion journey is essential. Luckily, attribution reporting can provide vast information concerning time. Even when using a free tool like Google Analytics (digital marketing analytics tool), you can see the steps a shopper tends to take before converting. It will reveal the time lag, a metric that can reveal how long it took a person to view your ad or when they logged on to the site for the first time.

2. What different devices do people use on the path to a conversion?

Even unpaid tools can create detailed cross-device activity reports. They will not only show the types of devices people used, but also the number of ads they interacted with before they purchased from your website. As a result, you will see which devices are often used to access your ads and customize those ads accordingly. This can then improve the level of engagement with your buyers.

3. Which advertising methods or channels are generating the highest number of leads?

attribution model to understand advertising methods

Detailed attribution reporting can reveal the kind of content that is more useful for producing leads and channels that are more effective. A reliable analytics and visualization tool gives you statistics that demonstrate the performance of each marketing channel.

Marketing Attribution Bias

Although Attribution can bear fruits, it does not always happen. The output can be different if there is a misattribution, which can affect the performance of a business. When a marketer tries to compare two variables or relationships, a false assumption can occur. This is a bias in other words. As a digital marketer, you should avoid attribution bias if you can. In particular, focus on these:

In-market bias – It occurs when an ad receives recognition for converting a consumer yet such a person could have bought the item even without viewing it.
Correlation-based bias – It is when one event receives the blame for causing another one.
Digital signal bias – The digital signal bias happens when an attribution model ignores the correlation between offline and online activities. It can affect a marketer who sells both on the internet and physically.
Cheap inventory bias – This is when the marketers assume that the low-cost content is causing higher lead conversion when it is indeed the natural conversation rate for the targeted audience that is causing it.

Attribution marketing is not fail-safe. Mistakes can occur when due to the bias we have touched on above. As a result, marketers can make budget adjustments that can cost the business a lot for nothing.

Software and Tools for Attribution Modeling

Attribution modeling is good but can be better if you utilize the software. It can ensure that the marketing’s efforts do not go to waste and that every action is accurate. Technology platforms can generate powerful insights when a marketer has to use a combination of models. Besides, the software can speed up attribution activities and ensure that the reports are accurate. One of the top applications for you is HubSpot.

software and tools for attribution modeling

You can use it to run an attribution report via easy steps. Once you access Reports, click on Create Custom Report. Next, select Attribution Report and then choose what you would like to report on. According to HubSpot, you can select between two types of multi-touch attribution reports. These are Revenue and Contact Create attribution reports. It is then up to you to decide which one you want.

Which type of attribution is best for me?

As a marketer, you have to know your targets very well. Are you aiming at more leads with your marketing tactics, or are you attracting other businesses? With lead attribution in digital strategy, you can measure just how much you are succeeding in attracting leads to your campaigns. Even if they are not sales, they are vital because they represent new viewers of your ads. Some of them might convert to real buyers and increase your revenue.

You can also do B2B marketing attribution as a way to find out the degree to which your messages are reaching the other businesses that can buy your products or services. Also, will you measure AI (artificial intelligence) marketing and offline marketing methods at once? If you know the goals you are attempting to measure against, you can pick the right marketing attribution reporting to do.


If you gather the best insight from your attribution efforts, you can be confident when making decisions. Free tools such as Google Analytics can provide features that can help you start your attribution efforts. Sadly, you may generate less complete attributing reports because Google Analytics or cookies offer limited visibility into what you need to do.
For this reason, you might be best with HubSpot which simplifies work while offering privacy. Once you have the right software tool, you can generate attribution reports that can help you re-design and modify your existing advertising campaigns. Then you can adjust your marketing budget to support the new advertising effort.

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