Skip to main content

Last updated on August 29th, 2023 at 10:45 am

In another post, we covered closed-loop attribution and discussed while it is extremely effective at attributing your marketing dollars to sales, last-touch attribution tends to be the most popular among marketing teams.

In this blog post, we will delve into what last touch attribution is, how it works, its advantages and disadvantages, and why it should be a part of your marketing strategy.

What is Last Touch Attribution?

Last touch attribution is a marketing attribution model that assigns 100% credit for a conversion or sale to the last touchpoint a customer interacts with before making a purchase. It focuses on the final touchpoint in the customer journey, disregarding any previous interactions or touchpoints.

last touch attribution

How Does Last Touch Attribution Work?

Let’s say a customer discovers a product through a social media ad, then clicks on a Google search ad, and finally makes a purchase after receiving an email promotion. In last touch attribution, the email promotion would receive full credit for the sale, as it was the last touchpoint before the conversion occurred.

This model assumes that the last interaction had the most significant impact on the customer’s decision to convert. It simplifies the attribution process by assigning all credit to a single touchpoint. From this example, one could see some disadvantages, as well as, advantages for marketing teams.

Advantages of Last Touch Attribution

  1. Simplicity: Last-touch attribution is straightforward and easy to implement. It provides a clear picture of which touchpoints are directly responsible for conversions.
  2. Actionable Insights: By focusing on the last touchpoint, marketers can identify which channels are driving the most conversions. This information allows them to optimize their marketing efforts and allocate resources more effectively.
  3. Aligns with Customer Behavior: In many cases, customers tend to make purchasing decisions based on the last interaction they have with a brand. Last-touch attribution captures this behavior and helps marketers understand the customer journey better.

Disadvantages of Last Touch Attribution

  1. Oversimplification: By only considering the last touchpoint, last touch attribution ignores the influence of other touchpoints that may have played a significant role in the customer’s decision-making process.
  2. Incomplete Picture: Customers often interact with multiple touchpoints before making a purchase. Ignoring these interactions can lead to an incomplete understanding of the customer journey and potentially misallocate marketing resources.
  3. Lack of Context: Last touch attribution fails to consider the context in which the conversion occurred. Factors such as brand awareness, previous interactions, and customer loyalty are not taken into account, potentially skewing the results.

Other Marketing Attribution Models

There are many different marketing attribution models, each offering a different perspective on how credit should be distributed. Here are the other most common types of marketing attribution models:

  1. First-Touch Attribution: This model attributes all the credit for a conversion to the first touchpoint that a user interacts with. It gives the initial touchpoint the entire credit for driving the conversion.
  2. Linear Attribution: Linear attribution divides credit equally among all touchpoints in the customer journey. Every touchpoint is given the same amount of credit, regardless of its position in the journey.
  3. Time Decay Attribution: This model assigns more credit to touchpoints closer to the time of conversion. The touchpoints that are closer in time receive a higher proportion of the credit.
  4. Position-Based (U-Shaped) Attribution: Also known as U-Shaped attribution, this model gives a larger portion of the credit to the first and last touchpoints, while the remaining credit is distributed among the touchpoints in between. This recognizes the importance of both the initial awareness and the final decision-making touchpoints.
  5. Algorithmic Attribution: Algorithmic attribution models use complex algorithms and machine learning to assign credit based on the observed patterns in historical data. They take into account multiple touchpoints, their order, and various factors to determine the optimal credit distribution.
  6. Custom Attribution: Businesses can create their own attribution models tailored to their specific needs and goals. This might involve combining elements of different models or incorporating additional factors that are unique to the business.
  7. Data-Driven Attribution: This model uses statistical analysis to analyze the historical performance of different touchpoints and assigns credit based on their actual impact on conversions.
  8. Multi-Touch Attribution: Multi-touch attribution considers multiple touchpoints throughout the customer journey and attributes credit to all relevant touchpoints that contributed to the conversion.
  9. Closed-Loop Attribution: tracks the entire customer journey, from initial touchpoints to the final conversion or purchase, and allows marketers to understand precisely which marketing activities contribute most significantly to revenue generation.

Your choice of attribution model depends on various factors, including the nature of the business, the complexity of the customer journey, and the available data. Some businesses might even use a combination of different attribution models to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their marketing efforts impact.

Why Is Last Touch The Most Popular Model?

Aside from it being the attribution model choice of Google Ads, last-touch is just simple, clear, and easy to optimize for. Most businesses do not have full access to all of the data they need to run a linear, first-touch, or even closed-loop model.

While larger enterprise businesses use advanced marketing software and Customer Relationship Managers (CRMs) that can track all of their consumer information in one place, most small to medium-sized businesses do not have those resources.

What Softwares Can Help Track Marketing Attribution?

Free software is available to help you track last-touch marketing attribution such as Google Analytics with Google Ads. Moreover, you can also use WolfPack’s Lead Center or marketing automation software to help close more gaps.

On the other hand, here are a few software choices that can help track more advanced attribution models if used correctly:

  1. Google Analytics 360: Google Analytics 360 is a premium version of Google Analytics that offers more advanced attribution features, including data-driven attribution and multi-channel funnels. It integrates with Google Ads and other advertising platforms, allowing businesses to track conversions and attribute them to specific marketing channels and campaigns.
  2. Adobe Analytics: Adobe Analytics is a robust marketing analytics solution that provides powerful attribution capabilities. It helps businesses track customer interactions across different channels and devices, enabling them to measure the impact of marketing activities on customer behavior and conversions.
  3. HubSpot: HubSpot is an all-in-one inbound marketing and sales platform that offers closed-loop reporting. By integrating marketing data with its CRM system, HubSpot allows businesses to track and analyze how leads generated through marketing efforts progress through the sales funnel.

Why Should Last Touch Attribution Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy?

While last-touch attribution has its limitations, it still provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of specific touchpoints in driving conversions. By incorporating last-touch attribution into your marketing strategy, you can:

  • Identify high-performing channels: Determine which channels are most effective in converting customers and allocate resources accordingly.
  • Optimize marketing campaigns: Use data from last-touch attribution to refine and optimize your marketing campaigns for better results.
  • Make informed decisions: Gain a clearer understanding of customer behavior and make data-driven decisions based on the insights provided by last-touch attribution.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, a last-touch attribution is a useful tool for marketers to understand the impact of their marketing efforts. While it may not provide a complete picture of the customer journey, it offers valuable insights that can help optimize marketing strategies and drive better results.

By combining last-touch attribution with other attribution models, marketers can gain a more comprehensive understanding of customer behavior and make informed decisions to maximize their marketing ROI. Ready to scale your marketing campaigns? Get a proposal from WolfPack Advising today!