What Is Attribution And How Can It Help Your Business?

Written by Jack Bennett: PPC manager.
· 4 minute read

What Is Attribution And How Can It Help Your Business?

Attribution or Attribution Modelling is essentially using touchpoints to determine, monitor and optimise success through sales or conversions. Touchpoints refers to the different means that a customer could contact or interact with a business. For example, a potential customer may visit a website several times before purchase, but through different channels.

This essentially means reporting on the impact of activity using Metrics like

  • Volume of Sales
  • Customer Retention (if applicable)
  • Profit
  • Turnover

Instead of

  • Web Visits
  • Click through Rate
  • Clicks & Impressions
  • Conversions (could be lead not sale)

The main difference between the lists is that the first one could be a business focus, while list two contains important metrics. However this would more likely be a marketing agency’s focus. Attribution can bring both worlds closer together, with better profit margins thrown in as a bonus.

The primary objective of attribution modelling is to provide a holistic view of marketing, with the idea of presenting accurate information about any financial return on activities such as Google Adwords, SEO Activity, Social, Content etc. This allows true optimisation of any campaign, delivering results that are made by data driven decisions. I appreciate this all sounds really geeky, idealistic and complicated.  I’m sure we would rather just look at pictures of cats on the internet.

Well, here you can have both.

There are two main steps to putting attribution in place. Firstly, implement the right technology. A platform designed to gather information about all the digital touch points appearing on a customer journey. This is normally done by adding a specially designed tracking pixel on all these points.

The next steps focus on analysis and rules. The attribution platform itself will essentially be a set of rules in order to determine the value of a channel. If done right this can work wonders for digital marketing. I’ve worked with some fantastic platforms; the downside is the platforms can cost in excess of £100K a year. Ouch.

Not all is lost though. Even without technology, we still have people we can convince to stop watching cat compilation videos, or liking pictures of food on Instagram. Get them cracking on some attribution modelling!

By digging around in the existing data, looking through Google Analytics and trying to make everything as trackable as possible, progress can be made towards an attribution model. An agency can take advantage of this, making it work very closely with the core part of a business. If everyone is on the same page the customer can truly be understood.

There are many different types of Attribution Modelling. I’ll quickly go through some that you can even see in Google Analytics for free!

Different Models


This is the most commonly used model. Unfortunately, it’s also the least accurate. Essentially this assigns 100% of Conversions/Revenue to the last touch point. It ignores any other adverts and channels that a customer used to interact with your business. Therefore we have no idea what got the customer interested in the first place.


The opposite of Last Click, this model highlights how the first customer interaction would be attributed to the conversion. This is great to see what got the customer interested in the first place. But then we might not know what pushed them over the finishing line.


Again similar to Last Click, but it will ignore if the last click is direct. So, if the customer conversion channel path was Paid>Organic>Direct in this circumstance it would be attributed to Organic. The idea behind this is if a customer visits direct they have already made a decision to buy, so the cause of the purchase is not because of the channel direct, but whatever they did beforehand.


All other models explained previously state that one action is the most important and is given the conversion. This is the democratic version. Each channel if involved in the conversion journey would receive an equal percentage of the conversions.


The path to conversion is considered as Awareness > Consideration > Conversion. The position model tried to take this into account. This essentially gives First and Last Click the majority of conversion. The percentage is normally 40% each, then attributes the remainder amongst the other touch points.


This works on a Last Click model but attributes a bigger percentage of the conversion to any touch points that have been the most recent. This means we’re giving credit to the touch point that has been considered to have had the most influence.

Okay that’s a lot to take in, thanks for sticking with us. Essentially there is no magic key which unlocks attribution. Instead, it’s about looking at the data and picking a model, which makes sense and makes you money.

If you have any questions about digital marketing feel free to contact us. Have a look at the services we offer, give us a call, whichever touch point suits you.