Today’s consumer has an increasingly device-agnostic buy cycle, interacting with brands from a wide range of mobile and desktop devices. Although marketing teams use multiple channels to drive sales, the majority of marketers still employ single-touch attribution models. These increasingly outdated models aren’t up to the task of tracking which campaigns have the biggest impact on performance and which channels or tactics deserve credit for each conversion.

How various attribution models track interactions 

Picture the average shopping experience for your target audience: On the way to work one morning, a potential customer sees one of your ads on their phone, but they don’t click through. Later, on their computer at work, they see a search ad and click through to your website where they do a little research into your products. That night, while they’re checking their favorite social app on a tablet, they see a retargeting ad and click through to complete their purchase. How does a marketer create a multi-touch attribution model that accurately tracks the impact each channel had in driving this person to become a customer?

There are multiple schools of thought around which attribution model is the best. Some marketing teams measure success across individual digital channels to get a better understanding of the impact search, display ads, email, etc., have on the business. Others track by device, looking at performance on mobile, television, desktop, and tablet. Businesses with both brick-and-mortar locations and an online presence often want to measure attribution across offline and online channels.


The majority of marketers still use a first-click/first-touch attribution model. Second place went to a linear model that offered equal weight across all the touchpoints in the buy cycle.

Attribution and measurement continue to be top-of-mind concerns for most marketers as they adopt the latest advertising strategies to reach customers across channels, apps, and devices. Although it takes time to overcome operational and technological challenges, savvy marketers acknowledge the value of investing in a custom, multi-touch attribution model that more accurately represents the key marketing drivers of customer acquisition and revenue growth.

Want to learn more about attribution? Download our guide for a comprehensive overview: Attribution for Data-Driven Marketers.