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A Deep Dive into Multi-Touch Attribution Models

A Deep Dive into Multi-Touch Attribution Models

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Last Updated:  
February 1, 2024

Ever felt like you're playing a never-ending game of hide-and-seek with that elusive best touch point? Searching high and low, in the light of the digital day and the dark of the web analytics night, just to figure out what really sparks your customers into action? We feel your pain! That's where the multi-touch attribution model swoops in to save the day.

The multi-touch attribution model helps us see the whole customer journey, not just the first or last click. It's like having a magic lens that reveals every single touch point that influenced a customer, from the first innocent Google search to the final triumphant purchase.

In this blog post, we're going to embark on a thrilling journey into the world of multi-touch attribution. We'll cover everything from the basics (for any newbies out there) to the nitty-gritty of how these models actually work.

What is Multi-Touch Attribution?

Multi-touch attribution is a bit like being a detective in a crime novel. You're trying to figure out who (or in this case, what) is responsible for a particular outcome - a customer making a purchase. Unlike traditional attribution models that give all the credit to the first or last interaction, multi-touch marketing attribution is all about fairness. It acknowledges that every piece of marketing content a customer interacts with - be it an ad, an email, a social post, or even a blog - plays a role in the final decision. It's all about giving credit where credit's due!

Now, to understand how we got here, let's jump into our time machine for a quick history lesson. In the early days of digital marketing, we had the 'last click' attribution model, which was as fair as a schoolyard game where the last one to join gets all the treats.

Not cool, right?

Then came the 'first click' attribution model, but it was like giving a lifetime achievement award to a newbie just because they were there first. Enter the 'linear model', which gave equal credit to all marketing touchpoints, but it was like saying every note in a symphony is equally important. It simply didn't resonate.

So, the marketing world evolved and came up with the multi-touch attribution model, where multiple touchpoints get a share of the credit based on its impact. It acknowledges that all marketing channels have a unique contribution. Just like that, we've leveled the playing field, and we're now able to trace the customer's journey in a much more nuanced and accurate way.

Pretty neat, huh?

Importance of Multi-Touch Attribution

So, you're probably wondering, 'Why all this fuss about multi-touch attribution, anyway?' It's not just because it's the cooler, younger sibling of the single-touch models. It's a game-changer for businesses around the world!

Let's look at the why and how.

Beating the Single-Touch Blues

The multi-touch attribution model burst onto the scene like a breath of fresh air, resolving the limitations of single-touch models.

Remember that schoolyard game where the last kid got all the treats or the symphony where every note was supposedly equal?

Yeah, multi-touch put an end to that. It made sense of the chaos, recognizing that each touchpoint has its own unique value and influence on the customer journey. It's like finally being able to see the whole picture instead of just random bits and pieces.

Shaking Up Marketing Strategies

Here's where things get really interesting.

Multi-touch attribution isn't just an analytical tool—it's a compass for marketers, guiding the creation, execution, and assessment of strategies. By pinpointing what works and what doesn't, it helps businesses optimize their marketing efforts for maximum impact. It's like having a secret weapon that lets you know where to invest your time, money, and creativity for the best results.

Now who doesn't want that?

Types of Multi-Touch Attribution Models

Alrighty then! We've been talking a lot about different kinds of attribution models, but let's get down to the brass tacks and dissect the big three: Linear, Time Decay, and Algorithmic attribution models. Each of these has its own unique spice that it brings to the marketing mix, and we're gonna take you on a deep dive to explore just that!

Everyone Gets a Medal: The Linear Attribution Model

In the Linear Attribution model, every touchpoint in the customer journey is considered equally important. It's like each interaction is a piece of the puzzle, and without any one of them, the picture is incomplete.

The beauty of the Linear Model is its simplicity. It's straightforward, easy to understand, and doesn't require any fancy algorithms. However, this model's downfall is that it doesn't account for the fact that some interactions may have a bigger impact on the customer than others.

The Race Against Time: Time Decay Attribution

Next up, we've got the Time Decay Attribution model. This model takes into account that some interactions are more timely and relevant than others.

In other words, this model gives more weight to the touchpoints that are closest to the time of sale or conversion. It's like saying the last song you heard is more likely to be stuck in your head than the one you heard last week.

While the Time Decay model is a step up in sophistication, it comes with its own set of challenges. It requires a more advanced level of data tracking and analysis, and it may overlook earlier touchpoints that planted the seed for later conversions.

The Brainiac: Algorithmic Attribution

Last, but certainly not least, we have the Algorithmic Attribution model. This is like the nerdy kid in the class who seems to have all the answers.

It uses machine learning to understand and weigh the impact of different touchpoints. It's like having a super-smart AI that can analyze all the data and tell you exactly which marketing efforts are worth your time.

The real cherry on top of this model is its ability to be customized. You can adjust the algorithms to suit your specific business needs and goals. However, this also means it requires a higher level of expertise to implement and maintain. But hey, you can't have genius without a bit of complexity, right?

New Gold Standard: Total Impact Attribution Model

Heads up, folks! There's a new kid on the block who's bringing a whole new perspective to marketing attribution, and its name is the Total Impact Attribution Model. It's like the shiny, gold medal-winning athlete that's just hit the track.

What sets the Total Impact Model apart from the rest?

Well, it's like this - while traditional click-based attribution models are like watching a movie with half the scenes missing, the Total Impact model gives you the full picture. It's like having a VIP, all-access backstage pass to your customer journey.

So, how does it work?

It's like a master chef mixing a bunch of ingredients - first-party data, zero-party data, proprietary algorithms - to create the perfect dish.

First-party data + Zero-party data + Proprietary algorithm = Total Impact Attribution Model

This model dives deep into the customer’s journey, from the first ad they see to the final purchase and beyond. It considers everything - ad impressions, clicks, website visits, email opens, and more.

The best part? The Total Impact model is like a diligent student, always learning, and adapting to new data. It's a model that matures with time, offering increasingly accurate insights that help you stay ahead of the game.

Now, let’s talk about when to use the Total Impact model versus other models. Think of it like picking the right tool for the job.

You'd use the Total Impact model when you want to visualize the weighted success of your marketing sources, channels, campaigns, ad sets, and ads. It's like an MMM (marketing mix modeling), using aggregate historical data to figure out which channels and campaigns are making the most rain for your store over time.

Learn More About The Power Of The Total Impact Attribution Model Today!

Case Study: Cozy Earth's Game-Changing Strategy

Hey, let me tell you a story. Picture this: Cozy Earth, a cool team that was just looking for a clearer picture of their customer sources. Enter Triple Whale, like a superhero with a trusty truth-telling gadget, and everything starts to make sense.

Discovering the Power of Pinterest With Total Impact

So, Cozy Earth decided to use post-purchase surveys (big thanks to Kno Commerce for that), and guess what they found out? Turns out, their customers remembered them most from Pinterest. Who knew, right?

That's the beauty of the Total Impact model from Triple Whale. By using zero-party data like this, it was able to highlight patterns that Cozy Earth might have missed otherwise. Seeing this, Cozy Earth decided to throw more of its marketing energy into the Pinterest arena. And boy, did it pay off in sales!

Facebook Dynamic Ads for Broad Audiences: Scaling Up and Soaring High

Cozy Earth wasn't just sitting back.

They were also running Dynamic Ads for Broad Audiences (DABA) campaigns on Facebook to rope in new customers. With Triple Whale's help, they could compare Pixel Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) to the ROAS from within the platform, keep tabs on the cost to acquire new customers and level up the DABA campaign for apparel from a cool $1,000 to a whopping $9,500. Triple Whale gave them the confidence that this campaign was their superstar with the highest returns, and they could boldly continue to scale it to the moon. Talk about a success story!

Read The Full Case Study Here!

Implementing Multi-Touch Attribution

Alright, let's jump into the nitty-gritty of how you can get started with this magical beast called multi-touch attribution. Buckle up, because it's going to be a wild ride!

Tooling Up: Choosing Your Attribution Software

Here are some things to consider when selecting the right attribution software for your business:

Big Names, Bigger Games: Industry-Leading Platforms

First off, we've got the big guns in the industry. These platforms come equipped with all the bells and whistles you need to get your multi-touch attribution model up and running. They're your out-of-the-box, ready-to-roll solutions. But remember, these top-tier tools often come with a hefty price tag to match their functionality, so make sure you're ready for that kind of commitment!

Triple Pixel is one of the most robust multi-touch attribution platforms out there. It's like a Swiss army knife for marketers, giving you all the tools and reporting capabilities to measure your customer journey from start to finish.

Learn More About The Triple Pixel For Your Business Today!

Building Your Own: Custom Attribution Models

If you're feeling adventurous and are up for a challenge, then building your own custom attribution model might be the way to go. It's like creating a masterpiece from scratch but with marketing data instead of paint. You'll need some coding and statistical analysis skills, and it might take some time to fine-tune your model. But once you’re done, you'll have a unique and powerful attribution model tailored specifically for your business.

Crafty and Risky: DIY Solutions

On the other hand, if you're the hands-on type who likes to have all the controls, a DIY solution might be what you're looking for. There's a satisfaction in rolling up your sleeves and setting up your own multi-touch attribution system. But be warned, these DIY solutions can come with their own set of pitfalls such as data inconsistencies, tech glitches, and a heavy dependence on your team's technical prowess.

Tackling the Hurdles: Overcoming Implementation Challenges

However, before you dive into implementing a multi-touch attribution model, there are some common challenges that you should be aware of and ready to tackle:

Getting It Right: Ensuring Data Accuracy

Now, here's the kicker. With any multi-touch attribution model, data accuracy is critical. You're going to rely on this data to make major business decisions, so you need to make sure it's as accurate as possible. This means you've got to put your Sherlock Holmes hat on and meticulously validate, clean, and normalize your data.

Playing Nice: Integrating with Existing Systems

Finally, your new multi-touch attribution model needs to play nice with your existing systems. It's like introducing a new puppy to an older dog - there might be a bit of a scuffle at first, but with patience and proper integration, they'll soon be best friends. Make sure your new system integrates seamlessly with your ecommerce CRM, marketing automation, and any other systems you're using.

Best Practices

Alright, so you've got your multi-touch attribution model up and running, and you're ready to take on the marketing world. But before you go all out, let's talk about tweaking and refining your model to keep it in tip-top shape. Trust me, it's as fun as tuning a hot rod!

The Balancing Act: Getting Your Attribution Models Just Right

So, you've got different models and they all tell you something unique about your customer's journey. The trick is finding the right balance.

Mixing It Up: Hybrid Attribution Approaches

Think of it like being a disc jockey, you've got to mix different models together to create the perfect beat. Your hybrid approach might involve combining a last-click model with a linear one, or maybe a position-based model with a time-decay model. The right mix depends on your business and your customers.

Aiming For The Bulls-eye: Tailoring Models To Your Business Goals

Now, remember, your attribution model shouldn't just reflect your customer's journey—it should also align with your business goals. If your goal is customer acquisition, maybe a first-click model will do the trick, or if you're focused on closing sales, then maybe last-click is your go-to. Always keep your end goal in sight!

Stay Sharp: Keeping Your Attribution Model In Peak Condition

Okay, so you've got your model set up and it's working like a charm. But the digital marketing landscape is like a roaring river—it's always changing. So, you need to stay on your toes!

On Your Toes: Monitoring and Adjusting Your Model

Just like tuning a guitar, you'll need to keep tweaking your attribution model to make sure it stays in tune. Keep an eye on your metrics, see what's working and what's not, and adjust accordingly. Don't be scared to try new things!

Catching The Wave: Staying Ahead of Industry Trends

The digital marketing world is buzzing with new trends and technologies, and your attribution model needs to stay up-to-date. Always be on the lookout for new insights, tools, and strategies that could help refine your model. Be the surfer that catches the wave, not the one that gets swept away!

Final Thoughts

Navigating the world of multi-touch attribution models might seem like you're trying to solve a Rubik's Cube blindfolded, but with the right tools and approach, you can turn this complex puzzle into a marketing masterpiece.

Taking the plunge and investing in a robust platform like Triple Pixel not only saves you a ton of time but also lets you focus on what matters most—growing your business. So why wait? Kickstart your journey towards superior marketing performance and learn more about the Triple Pixel today. Trust me, it's like getting the cheat codes to your favorite video game! 🎮

Learn More About The Triple Pixel Today!

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