Marketing Attribution Model Comparison: First, Last Touch and Multi-Touch Attribution

Data Driven marketers, particularly those at B2B companies with complex sales cycles understand that first and last touch attribution models shortchange marketing’s contribution to sales. These simplistic models don’t give a clear, full picture on ROI that different marketing activities contribute to pipelined and won revenue. Read on for a Marketing Attribution Model Comparison for B2B marketers.

First/Last touch models were built for ecommerce, B2C or low price point products with simple, linear progressions from lead to sale. For organizations that have longer sales cycles (often up to 12 months or longer), multiple decision makers and influencers, and lots of research and marketing activities that happen prior to a deal finally closing, marketers need to move to Multi-Touch Attribution models.

The problem with First and Last touch attribution can be illustrated with an example.
Consider a very simplified scenario for a B2B company that successfully sells a software package to Bank of America for $100K. Here’s the timeline of events:

  • Jan 1 – Joe Smith (IT manager) downloads white paper, entered as lead
  • Jan 5 – Joe asks for a proposal, oppty entered at 50%
  • March 1 – Joe Smith visited trade show booth
  • April 1 – Joe Smith downloaded a case study
  • May 1 – Sally Jones (CIO) attended a webinar
  • May 2 – Joe asks for updated proposal, now had identified budget and timeline, gives verbal yes – deal moved to 90%
  • June 28 – Ralph Carter (CFO) downloaded ROI report
  • June 30 – Joe asks rep for contract – Closed Won deal!

First Touch Attribution Model:

First Touch Attribution Model
It took 6 months to move this deal from initial opened opportunity to close. In the First Touch model all $100K attribution is given to the initial lead source when the IT manager downloaded a white paper at the very beginning of the process. Key moments that clearly influenced the deal like the CIO attending a webinar and then immediately asking for an updated proposal and approving the budget, or the CFO reading an ROI report and then the deal being closed shortly thereafter receive $0 credit.

Last Touch Attribution Model:

Last Touch Attribution Model
For a high value, high touch B2B sale the last touch attribution model makes very little sense. In this scenario we give $100K credit to the report the CFO downloaded prior to the deal, but nothing to the marketing activities that got sales foot in the door initially or moved the deal along at other key stages.

Multi-touch Attribution Models

Here are some other models to consider that attempt to capture the proper attribution for all activities that influence the sale. AttributeApp allows you to weight and customize based on factors that matter to your business:

    • Even Multi-Touch Weighting

Multi-Touch Even Weighting
This model assigns even weighting to all touches. May be a little simplistic and shortchange the first and last touches.

    • U-Shaped Model

U Shaped Attribution Model
A model that gives 1/3rd attribution for first touch, 1/3rd for last touch, and 1/3rd spread out over remaining activities. This gives extra credit for the activity that brought in the lead and the activity that theoretically helped close the deal, while also giving credit to other mid-funnel touches that assisted the deal.

    • Time Decay Model

Time Decay Model
It may make sense to apply a time decay filter, which gives more weighting to activities that occurred closer to the deal than those in the past. Time decay could also be combined with other models like U-Shaped.

    • Custom attribution model

Custom Attribution Model
A custom model might build off the above and include weighting by other variables like contact title, contact role, asset type, etc. Your custom multi-touch attribution model might look like this chart above, and give more weight for the first and last touches, a key touch by a high value contact that caused a jump in opportunity stage, and less attribution to a few other less influential activities.

For any one deal, it can difficult to ascertain what activities truly influenced the deal. It’s part art, part detective work and there are many variables at play. However over time and with a large enough sample size of Opportunities and Activities, the data becomes much more meaningful and reliable.  As this Marketing Attribution Model Comparison has shown, multi-touch attribution models can yield actionable insights for marketers.

Learn more about How to implement multi-touch attribution in Salesforce using your Pardot data or Contact AttributeApp to discuss implementing Multi-Touch attribution models for your business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *