An attribution model is a system that assigns a value to any given sales or marketing goal/touchpoint in the buying process. Attribution models can be linear (assigning consistent and equal value to all goals and touchpoints involved) or weighted (assigning more or less value to certain instances).
For example, in a weighted system more value might be attributed to the "completed product demonstration" goal than the "signed up for email list" goal. Where in a linear system each goal is given the same amount of value. Attribution models also indicate the lead source of a contact.
Attribution models reveal how channels are performing for your business so you can work to improve channels that are underperforming, and double down on those that are effective.
What are the different attribution models?
The 6 core attribution models explained:
- Last-click - Gives credit to the last channel a user engaged with before converting
- First click - Gives credit to the first channel
- Linear - Gives even credit across all channels
- Time decay - Gives credit to the most recent channels engaged with
- Position-based (W-attribution) - Gives 40% of credit to both first and last-click channels, with 20% shared between channels engaged with in between.
- Data-driven - Gives weighted credit based on which channels are deemed most impactful in the conversion process
What is the best attribution model?
The best attribution model depends on your goals:
- Last-click - The most conservative attribution (also the default for Google Analytics)
- First click - The most growth-oriented attribution
- Linear - A great starting point for attribution modelling
- Time decay - Conservative attribution
- Position-based (W-attribution) - A more mature growth-oriented attribution
- Data-driven - Account-based attribution modeling
How do I choose an attribution model?
Choose an attribution model based on the unique customer lifecycle of your business, the insights you can use from the specific model, as well as the current marketing, sales and operations team makeup.
Read our guide on how to use marketing attribution.
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