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The Pros & Cons of Last-Click Attribution

The Pros & Cons of Last-Click Attribution

Last Updated:  
March 18, 2024

When it comes to determining the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and understanding the customer journey, marketing attribution is key. Attribution allows you to assign credit for a sale or conversion to the various marketing channels that led to it, allowing you to make data-driven decisions based on the results. But, with so many different touch points to consider, isolating the driver of a sale is never a black and white story.

That's where your attribution model comes into play. Platforms such as Google Ads and Google Analytics allow you to choose different attribution models based on your brand's goals. In your Triple Whale dashboard, you can also choose between different attribution settings for the measurement of your ad performance.

In this blog post, we're going to dive deep into the last-click attribution model, exploring its pros and cons, and discussing how it will effect your eCommerce marketing goals.

What is Last-Click Attribution?

Last-click attribution gives credit for a conversion to the last touch point that the customer engaged with before converting. This could be the last-clicked ad or other touchpoint, such as a marketing email. For example, if a user clicked on a PPC ad on Google, then a marketing email, and finally a social ad on Facebook, the Facebook ad will take full credit for the conversion.

First-Click vs. Last-Click attribution

Another important attribution model is first click attribution.. While last-click attribution gives all the credit to the last touch point before the conversion, first-click attribution gives credit to the first touch-point. Essentially, first-click attribution and last-click attribution are two different methods of assigning credit for a conversion to the various touch-points in a customer journey.

For example, if a customer clicks on a PPC ad, and then clicks on a marketing email, and then makes a purchase, first-click attribution would give credit to the PPC keyword. Last-click attribution would give credit to the email.

Pros of Last-Click attribution

1. Determining the touch-point that drive sales

One of the biggest advantages of last-click attribution is that it allows us to see which touch-points are driving conversions. By giving credit to the last touch-point before a conversion, we can easily identify which channels and campaigns are the sale drivers.

2. Identifying the last step of the customer journey

Not only is all our data going to center around which click drove the conversion, but this information can also help us understand and analyze what drives our customers to make a purchase. Was it a user-generated testimonial video that drove the sale, or was it a comparison between the product and a competitor's product? This can be especially useful for businesses that have a complex sales funnel or multiple products and services.

3. It's simple

A customer sees an ad, clicks, and converts. The same ad gets the credit. Setting up a last-click attribution is extremely simple, as you don't have to worry about other touch points the user had.

Cons of Last Click attribution

1. Overlooks the full customer path to conversion

The biggest con of using last-click attribution is that it ignores the wider customer journey, especially the very start of the buyer journey. It marks every touch-point before the conversion as irrelevant. This can lead to an incomplete understanding of the customer journey, and a lack of insight into how different marketing channels contribute to conversions.

2. Can contribute to an imbalance in marketing efforts

Another issue with last-click attribution is that it can lead to misallocated ad spend. By only giving credit to the last touch-point, businesses may be inclined to invest more heavily in that channel, regardless of its overall effectiveness and its position in thefunnel.

For example, most last-click conversions will be on more bottom of the funnel marketing efforts. Although these clicks are important to capture, it's also important to understand what gets new customers into the last stage of the funnel.

Reporting in Google Analytics

In Google Analytics, you can generate an attribution report that compares all your acquisition channels to each other. This report can be generated under Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Model Comparison Tool. This tool allows you to look at your conversions based on the attribution model that you set.

Within the same report, you can even compare your eCommerce store's performance under different attribution models. For example, you can compare both last-click (Last Interaction) and first-click (First Interaction).

Reporting in Triple Whale

Customer Journeys

One of Triple Whale's most popular features is being able to see your customer's full journey through the conversion funnel. You can see this under Pixel > Customer Journeys.This allows you to get a bigger picture of the conversion funnel. You can also see the total number of people who converted via a particular path (Facebook ad to PPC ad, for example). This feature allows you to understand how each ad interaction works in the greater picture.

Attribution Models

Triple Whale also allows you to seamlessly switch between attribution models when looking at your data. For example, if you're looking at your cross-platform data, you can change the attribution model that your ads are measured on.

The attribution models available on Triple Whale are Last Click, First Click, Linear (Paid only & All), Triple Attribution, and Triple Attribution + Views.

To see a comparison of the different channels, click on the Rubiks cube in the metrics under your Triple Pixel's ROAS.

Triple Attribution

Triple Attribution is the model that gives conversion credit to the last click of each platform, covering all of the different channels in your customer's journey. For example, if a user clicks on two TikTok ads, and then three Google ads, the last TikTok ad and the last Google ad will receive credit for the conversion.

Last-click attribution isn’t perfect.

An important challenge with digital marketing is being able to attribute your conversions to a specific marketing touch-point. It's how advertisers scale their brand, and how they understand the ROI of the paid ads investment. After all, we need to be able to invest in the platforms that have the most influence, right?

However, attribution modeling is never perfect. Each setting has its own sets of pros and cons, as seen with the last click attribution model. It's the advertiser's job to be able to decide which piece of their marketing strategy makes the most sense for their brand, and which model tells the right story.

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