Does Last Touch Attribution Hold Up Today

Keith Perhac
Founder @ SegMetrics

Marketing your product to consumers is a process that goes through several steps and avenues. However, many of us will often focus on whatever took our customer base directly to the purchase. The consumer may have seen your product on many platforms and done their own research; but you saw that a Facebook ad is what ultimately brought them to your site for the purchase. This must mean that more time, money, and resources should go solely into Facebook marketing!

This is the fallacy of Last Touch Attribution. A marketer will notice what brought in the final sale and attribute the success to that. This ignores all other avenues that helped promote the product. Let’s compare this to ordering a pizza. Someone at the pizzeria fills your order, the chef makes the pizza, and the delivery driver brings it to you. And yet, the only person you tip is the driver. Crediting your marketing avenues typically cannot be done this way because it’s often the building of brand recognition through multiple platforms that actually breeds success. Ultimately, unless you only market through one major avenue, Last Touch doesn’t make much sense.

The good news is that we have multiple attribution methods to look to, outside of Last Touch. We have the Linear Method, Time Decay, and the Position Based Model to name a few. But which of these methods is right for your clientele and your product? Marketers continue to debate the utility of each of these methods, but a strong case can be made for a blend of them.

Linear attribution could be argued as the most basic, common-sense option. It essentially looks over all the platforms over which your product was seen and assigns an even amount of credit to each of them. While this may not be able to tell us that one platform urged a client further than another, it certainly provides a larger scope of what marketing tools are being seen. This method takes the simple stance that if a platform was acknowledged in the process, it played an equal part in the final sale.

Time Decay attribution is similar to the linear method in that it attributes credit to each step in the process. However, the closer we get to the final sale, the more credit is attributed to a platform. The potential client sees an ad for your product on Twitter, but doesn’t jump on board just yet. Then they research the google reviews. Then they finally take the plunge by clicking the link in a promotional email. We’ll say that the first step gets twenty percent credit, the next gets thirty percent, and the final gets fifty percent. They all get a cut but those that draw us in closer and closer will earn more of the glory.

Then we have Position Based attribution. This one places a heavy emphasis on first and last impressions. About eighty percent of credit will be split between the first and last touched platforms before the sale. The remaining twenty percent will be attributed to that middle portion. This method would demonstrate that it’s that first promotion that will draw in clientele; they’ll commence with their own research and then, once that final ad or promotional email strikes, they’ll be ready for purchase. The argument here would essentially be that the middle research section is important for keeping interest, but it’s the wow factor of the first and last platforms that truly called the client to action.

With all these options, it’s no wonder why Last Touch attribution is struggling to stay relevant. It’s great to recognize the straw that finally broke the camel’s back; but who’s to say the other straws didn’t help pave the way? In today’s advertising world, relying solely on Last Touch is unwise at best.

Still, the question remains as to which method should be used for your endeavors. But that’s the beautiful thing about SegMetrics and all of modern marketing. You have the option to test out all these different methods. There are even a few more not listed here that may be worth your consideration. Learn what Segmetrics has to offer here. Try each method, compare their results, and blend them as best you can. These different models have their own strengths and are all fair in how they analyze your practices. Comparing and contrasting their results is a surefire way to see where your marketing shines and where it may need improvement. So don’t give that last touched platform all the glory. Analyze and see how your brand recognition grew to make that last touch a success.

Keith Perhac

Founder @ SegMetrics

Keith is the Founder of SegMetrics, and has spent the last decade working on optimizing marketing funnels and nurture campaigns.

SegMetrics was born out of a frustration with how impossibly hard it is to pull trustworthy, complete and actionable data out of his client's marketing tools.

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