What is multi-touch attribution?
Thanks to all the different platforms and devices that we all use every day, today’s customer journey often involves multiple touchpoints from an initial click to the final conversion. In order to account for this multi-step conversion funnel, marketers need to understand which touchpoints are resulting in positive actions so they can optimize their marketing mix. The result is multi-touch attribution.
Multi-touch attribution is a technique for measuring each touchpoint of the buyer’s journey and assigning a fractional value to different steps. In other words, instead of simply assigning credit to the last touchpoint that resulted in a conversion — last-click attribution — multi-touch attribution gives credit to many touchpoints that led up to the final result.
For example, let’s say someone first discovers a new product on Facebook but doesn’t complete their purchase on their first website visit. Let’s say that person then sees a retargeting ad on Instagram that drives them back to the site. They add the product to their cart, but end up abandoning it. Finally, the user receives an abandoned cart promotional email or a push notification that results in the conversion.
In this example, each of these touchpoints could receive some fraction of the credit for the eventual sale, depending on the conversion model the marketer uses.
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Uses of Multi-Touch Attribution
There are several different ways that marketers can use multi-touch attribution to optimize their campaigns. First, let’s review the difference between multi-touch attribution and other common attribution techniques such as first and last-click attribution:
- First-touch attribution: First-touch attribution assigns conversion credit to the initial touchpoint in the customer journey. For example, the first ad the user saw would get credit even if there were other retargeting ads that led to the final conversion.
- Last-touch attribution: Last-touch attribution assigns credit to the final touchpoint that led to the conversion. For example, if a retargeting ad brings a user back to the site and they make a purchase, only this final ad would get the conversion credit.
- Multi-touch attribution: Multi-touch attribution assigns fractional credit to each touchpoint in the buyer’s journey.
There are also several different multi-touch attribution models that marketers can use, including:
- Linear attribution: Linear multi-touch attribution assigns equal credit to each touchpoint in the buyer’s journey.
- Time decay attribution: Time-decay attribution assigns more credit to interactions that occur closer to final conversion.
- U-shaped attribution: U-shaped attribution assigns the majority of the conversion credit to the first and last interaction in the customer journey.
- W-shaped attribution: W-shaped attribution assigns the most credit to the first, middle, and last touchpoint and is well-suited for complex funnels that involve many touchpoints.
As you can see, 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.
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How Singular facilitates multi-touch attribution
Singular’s mobile attribution technology enables marketers to accurately measure and analyze the impact of their marketing efforts, regardless of the attribution method used. By measuring cross-platform performance across apps, web, SMS, email, and more, Singular helps marketers measure and report on all the channels they work with. In addition, by combining mobile attribution with cost aggregation, marketers are able to analyze and improve the ROI of their campaigns.
With this accurate attribution in place, marketers can also track and analyze the entire user lifecycle in order to understand which campaigns are driving the most profitable actions. In summary, by providing marketers with holistic data on multi-touch attribution, ad spend, and more, this helps to improve the ROI on marketing activities.