Digital marketing

Comprehensive Guide to Multi-Touch Attribution

A lot has changed in the past century, but the question of which advertising strategies genuinely impact the bottom line and which ones do not continue to perplex many contemporary marketers. Fortunately, the solution may lie in multi-touch attribution. Today’s digital marketing landscape offers a data-driven approach unavailable just a decade ago. Digital channels and platforms continue to evolve with increasingly sophisticated methods for understanding and enhancing performance. Comprehending how these diverse channels and platforms collaborate remains challenging despite these advancements. Multi-touch attribution is how you understand each touchpoint’s role in creating a new consumer. This article will share the multi-touch attribution models, how to get started, and the future of the multi-touch attribution model.

What is Multi-Touch Attribution?

Multi-touch attribution involves assessing the significance of each customer interaction that contributes to a conversion. The objective is to identify the marketing channels or campaigns deserving credit for the conversion, ultimately guiding the allocation of future resources to acquire new customers more efficiently. In contrast to conventional rules-based attribution approaches like first- and last-touch, which attribute all credit to the initial or final marketing touchpoint preceding a consumer conversion, multi-touch attribution provides a more sophisticated alternative. The latter method avoids the arbitrary application of rules, ensuring a more accurate measurement of the contribution of every touchpoint in the consumer journey. This accuracy is crucial for making informed decisions based on reliable data in marketing strategies.

Multi-Touch Attribution Models 

There are four established models for multi-touch attribution, along with a fifth custom model explicitly tailored to your business. Each model emphasizes distinct stages of the customer journey and offers varying insights. Most marketers widely regard the following multi-touch attribution models as reliable for monitoring marketing effectiveness across various touchpoints in their campaigns:

  • Linear Attribution 
  • Time Decay Attribution 
  • U-shaped Attribution 
  • W-shaped Attribution 
  • Custom Attribution 

Linear Attribution 

The linear multi-touch attribution model assigns equal credit to all interactions leading to a conversion. It offers a more advanced approach than first- and last-touch attribution but must provide a comprehensive picture. Linear multi-touch attribution doesn’t prioritize any specific tactic but evenly considers each touchpoint in the customer journey.

Time Decay Attribution 

The time-decay multi-touch attribution model assigns a significant portion of the conversion credit to interactions near the conversion event. Unlike last-touch attribution, which tends to overlook upper- and mid-funnel tactics, this model emphasizes bottom-funnel touchpoints. Time-decay modeling offers a more comprehensive understanding of the customer journey while shedding light on the tactics that more directly contribute to conversions.

U-Shaped Attribution

The U-shaped multi-touch attribution model primarily attributes conversion credit to the initial and final touchpoints. It emphasizes the significance of touchpoints at the beginning and end of the customer journey, placing less importance on mid-funnel engagement strategies. This model helps identify which tactics effectively initiate the customer journey and which ones contribute to conversions.

W-shaped Attribution 

The W-Shape multi-touch attribution model allocates a significant portion of the conversion credit to the initial, intermediate, and final touchpoints. It is most effective for intricate cross-channel campaigns that involve numerous touchpoints. In this scenario, if you were delivering an Oscar speech, you would emphasize slightly on your parents, agent, and director while briefly mentioning your fellow actors and agent.

Read Also: Essential Digital Marketing Tips to Boost Your Business

Custom Attribution 

Custom attribution enables marketers to allocate credit to touchpoints according to their unique insights and objectives. You can construct a personalized model if no predefined scenarios align with your business. This task involves a certain level of complexity and demands a deep understanding of the models that have proven effective for you, those that haven’t, and the reasons behind their success or failure. 

How to Get Started with Multi-Touch Attribution?

To implement multi-touch attribution, you must establish a system that captures relevant data and presents it in an understandable format. Follow these three steps to initiate multi-touch marketing attribution:

  • Gather Your Marketing Data
  • Store Your Data in One Location 
  • Visualize the Data to Instigate Meaningful Improvements

Gather Your Marketing Data

To effectively leverage the capabilities of multi-touch attribution, it is crucial to concentrate on gathering and organizing individualized data. You can systematically observe and assess interactions throughout the customer journey by tracking visitors individually, leading to more accurate credit attribution to specific touchpoints. Typically, three methods are employed concurrently to collect individual data:

  • Implement Javascript Tracking
  • UseUTM Parameters and Hidden Fields
  • Invest in 3rd Party Attribution Software

Store Your Data in One Location 

Once you start the collection of conversion data, it is essential to consolidate the information in a centralized repository, including the original marketing source data. This approach facilitates efficient management of each interaction throughout the purchase journey. Many businesses choose to implement a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) for this purpose, enabling stakeholders to access crucial details regarding opportunities and revenue promptly. Most CRMs offer customizable fields, pivotal in tracking lead sources and marketing variables.

Visualize the Data to Instigate Meaningful Improvements

The final step is to visualize your multi-touch attribution data in an easily understandable and interpretable format. Many marketers find it convenient to integrate multi-touch attribution data into familiar tools for sharing and analysis. For instance, at our company, we input multi-touch attribution data into ChartMogul. Within ChartMogul, we’ve configured custom fields to incorporate marketing source data from our attribution solution and CRM.

Future of Multi-Touch Attribution 

In recent years, the efficacy of multi-touch attribution has been practical for various reasons:

  • It neglects to acknowledge any credit for offline marketing touches, including those from TV, print, or radio.
  • Being click-based, it overlooks impressions, such as ad or video views.
  • The effectiveness of multi-touch attribution has been hampered by iOS 14.5 and the advent of the “cookie apocalypse,” rendering it less comprehensive.
  • Attribution models are susceptible to bias, mainly when relying on incomplete or inaccurate data.
  • There is a tendency to overestimate the contribution of direct and organic search.
  • It fails to consider external factors influencing sales, such as changes in seasonality.


This comprehensive guide to multi-touch attribution underscores the significance of adopting a nuanced approach to analyzing and understanding customer journeys. By recognizing the diverse touchpoints contributing to conversions, businesses can make more informed marketing decisions, optimize their strategies, and ultimately enhance overall performance. Exploring various attribution models, challenges, and best practices equips practitioners with the knowledge to navigate modern marketing landscapes’ intricacies. However, the future of multi-touch attribution faces challenges, particularly in adapting to privacy changes and offline touchpoint tracking. Despite these hurdles, the guide emphasizes the importance of continuous adaptation and a holistic perspective to navigate the evolving landscape of digital marketing effectively.

Fawad Malik

Fawad Malik is a technology enthusiast who has a deep passion for blogging. As the founder of, he constantly writes about advanced technology, seeking ways to empower individuals, brands, and businesses to prevail and succeed in today's highly competitive landscape. Fawad takes pleasure in sharing the latest tech news, trends, and updates with the passionate community connected with his blog.

Related Articles

Back to top button