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Attribution Marketing: Success Through Transparency

5 November 2014
Business woman looking at a wall chart | Attribution Marketing: Success Through Transparency | Neon

‘’Half of my adverting spend is wasted. The worst part is, I don’t know which half!’’

Does this sound familiar? Have you ever wondered where you are spending your advertising budget? Are you following the trends and using the latest ‘best thing’ in marketing? Or are you combining the most influential touch points in conversion and winning in sales? It’s clear that the last option is best. The question is: how to distribute your budget using the best marketing strategy for business?

Cue data.

In the digital age, everything should be measurable, from consumer behaviour to the performance of advertisements. This means transparency in advertising spending is approaching unprecedented levels, and the expectation of accountability and proven ROI is coming to the forefront of marketing departments.

The first step when it comes to capturing the client is to understand how the sale is made. The customer purchase funnel allows you to clearly see and highlight areas in order to improve your conversion rate.

Online marketing is the process of driving traffic to your website and encouraging your prospects to convert. One of the possible ways to strengthen that is to use the attribution model which is a rule, or combination of rules, that decides the value of every touch point in a conversion path. However, which touch points are the most influential when it comes to making a sale?

Types of interaction

There are 4 main kinds of interaction which make up a common conversion path: direct, organic, paid advertising and referral.


A direct interaction is recorded when a user types your URL into the address bar on the browser and visits the site without engaging in any other online marketing channel.


You can reach organic interaction via a well-planned SEO campaign and ranking for specific keywords in your industry.

Paid Advertising

Search engines also offer listings in various areas of the page which can be paid for by customers on a cost-per-click basis. They drive traffic to the site and well-optimised campaigns can bring huge success.


While the most common kinds of non-direct traffic are the kinds that come from search engines, conversions can also derive from referral traffic. A referral link is any link to your site from another website or an article online.

Types of attribution model

So what exactly constitutes the attribution model? There are 4 main kinds of interaction which make up a common conversion path: direct, organic, paid advertising and referral.

Last Touch

The Last Touch Attribution Model is the default Analytics setting. This method assigns 100% of the value of the conversion to the last method by which a user arrived at the site. This is the simplest way to establish the value, but it doesn’t give credit to any other touch points, particularly the first.

First Touch

Many marketers prefer to credit the first touch point on the conversion path. First Touch attribution gives 100% of the credit to the start of the journey. Remember, the customer purchase funnel? First touch is important, because without it there may not have been subsequent contact or a conversion! The look back window is increasing from 30 days to 90 days according to this post by Justin Cutroni at Google. This increases the likelihood that “first touch” is the actual “first touch”. However, when it comes to dividing your budget, don’t rely only on this step as you need to lead your customer through the whole purchase journey!

Position Based

This popular method assigns some value to every touch point but gives greater value to the first and the last.

Time Decay

This model gives increased value to each step of the customer journey. The core premise of the time decay model is this: The media touch point closest to conversion gets most of the credit, and the touch point prior to that will get less credit based on a smart and simple algorithm.

How can you decide which path is the best for your business? The best way to find the most beneficial route is to use data and testing. Testing will showcase the opportunities and results you might not even have thought about before. Ask yourself:

What type of user behaviour do you value?

  • Is there an optimal conversion window you are solving for?
  • What does the repeat purchase behaviour look like historically?
  • Are there any micro-conversions defined with engagement type goals, tied to the economic value?
  • Are offline conversions being sent back into GA using Universal Analytics?

Attribution marketing is a great way to test various logical scenarios for weighting credit to channels very quickly and compare the results side-by-side. The possibilities are endless so start experimenting!

What are your thoughts on attribution marketing? Let us know by tweeting @createdbyneon.

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