Mobile App Terminology

Last Touch Attribution

What is last touch attribution?


Last touch attribution, also referred to as “last interaction” or “last-click,” is a type of marketing attribution model which gives 100% of a conversion’s credit to the final touch or visit that occurred right before the eventual conversion. If a touch, click, or visit didn’t occur, the credit will then go to the last impression that led to the conversion.

For example, let’s say a visitor finds your app from a Facebook ad, gets distracted, and doesn’t end up downloading it on the first visit. A week later, the same user is retargeted with a Google Ad and completes the desired conversion, in this case downloading the app. In this example, 100% of the conversion’s credit goes to the Google ad instead of a portion of the credit going to the Facebook ad.

As you can see from this example, last touch attribution does have its flaws given that the initial touch clearly had significant influence over the eventual conversion, although it didn’t receive any credit. As Accutics highlights, last touch attribution is the most simplistic of the attribution models, which is both a pro as it’s easy to implement and a con as it’s often incomplete:

Being the most simplistic model of them all, last-touch attribution often takes the role of the scapegoat as it risks giving incomplete and sometimes twisted conversion insights. However, many businesses can benefit from it, as it’s easy and quick to implement.

To solve this, there are several other popular attribution models that vary in how they weight and credit different interactions throughout the customer journey. In today’s privacy-centric environment, however, they are increasingly difficult to implement.



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Uses of last touch attribution

Last touch attribution is just one of several attribution models, the most popular of which include:

  • Last touch attribution: This gives 100% of the conversion’s credit to the final touch, whether that’s a click, website visit, or impression.
  • First touch attribution: This gives 100% of the conversion’s credit to the initial click or interaction.
  • Linear attribution: This model assigns equal, or linear, credit to each touch along the buyer’s journey to a conversion.
  • Time-decay attribution: This attribution model assigns more credit to touches that occur closer in time to the conversion.

Mobile user acquisition typically runs off last touch, because that’s what’s available. On Android, that means using GAID/AAID, on iOS that means getting SKAdNetwork postbacks, plus in some cases where privacy-safe, probabilistic attribution. Understanding other touches in the funnel, however, is possible by looking at impression data on Android and getting the relatively new “loser postbacks” on iOS: postbacks from ad impressions that a user saw but did not click on.

These are just a few of the most popular models, although given that the user journey is often fragmented and involves many steps there are many more complex attribution models. As highlighted in our article on multi-touch attribution:

…the best multi-touch attribution model largely depends on the type of product and how many steps the typical customer takes in the conversion funnel. Regardless of the model chosen, the goal of each attribution model is to accurately measure the effectiveness of each touchpoint in the funnel so that marketers can optimize and allocate marketing resources more efficiently.

In order to accurately measure and report on each step of the buyer’s journey, marketers often rely on third-party Mobile Measurement Providers (MMPs) like Singular to optimize the performance of their entire funnel.

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How Singular facilitates last-touch attribution

As a leader in mobile attribution, Singular provides marketers with the tools they need to accurately measure, report on, and optimize their campaigns. In particular, Singular enables marketers to analyze the impact of their marketing efforts, regardless of whether they use last-touch attribution or any other type of multi-touch attribution model.

Singular enables marketers to measure cross-platform campaign performance, including apps, web, SMS, email, and more. By combining mobile attribution with cost aggregation across platforms, this provides marketers a holistic view of their marketing performance. In summary, with accurate last-touch attribution, cost aggregation, and granular marketing analytics in place, marketers can then focus on improving and optimizing campaign performance in order to achieve the highest ROAS possible.

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