Attribution Models

Attribution Models

Attribution models are useful. They can also be one of the more complicated topics in marketing.

That’s why we’re giving you a short breakdown of each attribution model and what it does (or does not do) to help you with your marketing strategy.

Attribution modeling helps you to analyze which marketing tools are most effective. You can also compare which attribution model works best and knowing which model brings the most conversions.

Every sale has a journey & a story. Attribution modeling helps to tell that story. It helps you take a step back and look at the big picture and tells you what people are doing before they make a purchase, signup for a free trial or complete any pre-defined conversion.

There are 6 common attribution models. Here is a brief description of each of those models.


First Interaction

First Interaction is beneficial when your industry has a short buying cycle.

Meaning, it is most important to convert your customer quickly, especially if your main business goal is to bring in new top of the funnel customers.

For example, a customer finds you on Facebook, then Facebook gets all the credit for any business/sale that happens after that interaction.


Last Interaction

Last Interaction is also referred to as “last touch” or “last click.” This gives credit to the last interaction your business had with a customer before they converted. This is the easiest model to implement because it’s the simplest to evaluate and most accurate.

With most people having access to more than one device, a customer’s journey can seem scattered and harder to pinpoint what marketing strategy works best. But we can always be certain of their last interaction before they convert.

It also ignores everything that happens before they convert but business’ still like the last interaction model best if they have a short buying cycle.

One of the biggest drawbacks of last interaction is when you see direct traffic being the last touch. This can make it difficult for you to make actionable changes to increase your conversions.


Last Non-Direct Click

This model ignores direct traffic and gives all of the conversion value to the last place a customer clicked before buying or converting. By eliminating direct traffic in a last click model, you can put a better marketing strategy in place. This still gives all credit to the one interaction but again everything before that is ignored.


Linear Attribution

This model splits credit for a conversion equally between all interactions the customer had with your business.

For example, if a customer finds you on a website, clicks an email link and then later makes a purchase, the 3 touch points each get an equal 33% credit. Linear Attribution gives you a more balanced look at your marketing strategy. However, it also assigns equal importance to everything. Meaning, this model can also miss the most effective marketing strategies.


Time Decay

This model is similar to Linear, because it spreads out the value across multiple events. But unlike Linear, the Time Decay model takes into consideration when the touch-point occurred. This model minimizes the effect of top of the funnel marketing. You might use the Time Decay model for long scale cycles that use expensive B2B purchases.


Position Based

This model (also called the U-shaped attribution) splits the credit for sales between a customers first interaction with your company/brand and when they convert. This is best for business that have multiple touch-points prior to converting. It gives credit to every interaction. However, it does give the most credit to the interactions that lead to a conversion.


headshot of Dan Wheatley, Straight Talk Consulting founder

By Dan Wheatley, Co-Founder

CEO/Co-Founder of Straight Talk Consulting, a business consultancy that gets our hands dirty. We work with organisations to achieve product market fit before transitioning into scalable and repeatable growth