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August 16, 2021 - By Emma Collins

Attribution 101: What Every Brand Needs to Understand

When it comes to understanding what parts of your digital marketing strategy are and aren’t working towards achieving your overall marketing goals, knowing what channels are driving results is key. In the  marketing world, this is called attribution. While simple in theory, gaining attribution insights that are meaningful enough to inform your marketing strategy can be surprisingly challenging, even for the best marketers. Read on to learn why, and what tools brands can use to accurately attribute sales and other KPIs to their marketing efforts.

What Is Attribution?

Attribution is the concept of understanding your customers’ buying behavior. It aims to help you measure the marketing success of your venture as well as see the areas that need improvement. In the context of marketing, the attribution definition refers to the analytical science that helps you identify and measure the marketing strategies that are contributing to conversions or sales. 

In essence, attribution is the process of determining how the touchpoints of conversion create sales and revenues. Take note that a successful brand awareness campaign brings in revenue and profit. Without proper tracking, you cannot truly maximize the potential of your business. Attribution also helps in optimizing your future marketing plans. 

Importance of Attribution

Attribution is very important in marketing. It eliminates waste of time and resources, helping you view the following:

  • Which campaign is driving revenue into your business?
  • What keywords or key phrases convert leads to closed sales?
  • What pieces of your site content drive the highest conversions?
  • What organic search items give greater deal revenue?

Technically, attribution enables you to find out the marketing channels that generate the most leads that trigger sales or conversions. It helps you review why some touchpoints underperform while others bring high traffic.

By learning which product groups or keywords lead to conversion, it would be easier for you to achieve your key performance indicators (KPIs). You can easily map out the path of your customers’ behavior when it comes to purchasing decisions, and you can easily review the interactions that compel them to take action.

But remember that every consumer has their own purchase journey that is propelled by their online behavior. Delve deeper and study the trigger points. If you are using various marketing strategies, your customers may interact with or access your brand via your paid Facebook or Instagram ads, or through your marketing efforts on radio, television, print advertisements, websites, or word of mouth.

How Does Marketing Attribution Boost Your Brand?

Five benefits of attribution include the following:

  • It helps you clearly identify which marketing channel should get the bulk of your budget to improve your return on investment (ROI).
  • It gives you insights about your target audience or customers’ purchasing behavior as well as demographics.
  • It helps you understand how the digital platforms and channels work together to scale up your business brand.
  • It helps you comprehend the key roles of offline and online media interactions in influencing the consumers’ choices and decisions.
  • It gives you higher accountability to allocate more funds on marketing campaigns to achieve the brand’s financial goals.

Different Marketing Attribution Models

During the evaluation of your marketing efforts, there are different attribution models that you can utilize to get accurate results and valuable insights. These models are basically the ways that sales credit is attributed to the marketing touchpoints.

First or Single-touch Attribution

This gives credit to your first marketing content, clicked advertisement, or keywords that engage the attention of consumers, taking them to your website to find out more information or influencing them to buy your product or service. This attribution model assists in evaluating the top-of-funnel marketing campaigns. It is perfect for influencers who want to create strong brand awareness and drive robust traffic to their sites.

Last Touch Attribution

This is the attribution model that gives credit to your last piece of advertising or marketing content before your customer makes a purchase or visits your website. 

Multi-touch Attribution

This model is also known as multi-source attribution. It assigns the credit to various channels or sources you use to promote your brand. Interestingly, this method allows you to evaluate the buying journey of our audience holistically. If you want to gain an accurate evaluation, use a model that features multi-touch attribution algorithms such as graphics or statistics. 


This model distributes the conversion credit equally across the different clicks on the marketing path.


This gives 40 percent of the credit to the first ads, content, or corresponding keywords, 40 percent to the last-click attribution, and 20 percent across the other clicks.

Time Decay

With this, the credit is attributed to the clicks that occur near the time of conversion. Typically, this model uses a seven-day half-life strategy. This means that the clicks eight days before the conversion time are also given credit, just like the click one day before.  


This distributes conversion credit by using past data. However, this model requires a minimum of 600 conversions in a 30-day time frame and at least 15,000 clicks on the Google Search engine. 

What Are Attribution Tools?

Marketing attribution tools are must-haves in the efficient collection and analysis of data. They assist in attribution tracking and help you understand the interactions between your customers and your marketing initiatives. These tools are created by marketing attribution companies to help marketers deliver the message they want to spread to their target consumers in impactful and powerful ways.

When selecting attribution tools or software, it is crucial to consider the following factors:

  • Accuracy
  • Speed
  • Cross-channel marketing insights
  • Connection of branding and performance
  • Integrations that the tools have
  • Devices that the tools cover
  • Security of the platform
  • Capability to detect fraud and over-attribution

Here are the most useful tools you can use to help you optimize your media campaigns and convert your leads into revenues:

Attribution Tracking Tools

These help you collect data on the consumers’ touchpoints. Typically, the tracking mechanisms of these tools are based on tags, cookies, or Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) codes.

One example is Dreamdata, an account-based, multi-touch tool that provides insights into your sales and marketing funnel. 

Mobile Attribution Tracking Tools

These tools collect data from mobile touchpoints. They help marketers connect the actions of the consumers at the touchpoints to the existing sales campaigns, creating an engagement that leads to sales. 

Examples are Adjust, AppsFlyer, Branch Metrics, Kochava, Localytics and Tapstream. 

Marketing Attribution Software

Marketing attribution software helps you automate your choice of an attribution model and connect with Facebook, Google Ads, Instagram and other data sources. 

One popular brand is Attribution, a multi-touch software that can track cohort-based lifetime value, or LTV, of consumers across multiple sources.

To harness the advantages of these attribution tools, it is necessary to pick a user-friendly option that offers robust reporting capability that gives you the total picture of your brand’s performance as well as an in-depth assessment of all facets of your operation. The right tool would help you analyze and compare touchpoints and resolve issues immediately. 

Best Practices when Implementing Attribution Strategies

The best practice you can make is to ensure that all your data is accurate. You need to double-check and carefully analyze the data feed of the attribution model you are using. Another best practice is to not rely on one model alone. Instead, use multiple attribution models and tools to get comprehensive data that will give you more information and ideas on how to improve your marketing strategies. 

Knowing how to execute marketing attribution properly and taking advantage of the benefits of different tools is beneficial to your business. Accurate data helps you develop the products or create the content that your customers want. As you bridge the gap and address their needs, you get a loyal base of customers who will look forward to your forthcoming campaigns. 

Interested in learning more? Schedule your free consultation today to understand how Hawke Media’s digital marketing experts can help take your attribution efforts to the next level.


Emma Collins is a freelance content writer and copywriter at Hawke Media. She’s been writing articles on digital marketing, finance, lifestyle, entertainment, social media, technology, and more for over eight years. Emma loves gaming and watching anime during her spare time.


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