From Lead to Conversion

How to Define the Best Attribution Model

8-Nov 2017

Wouldn’t it be nice, if lead data was clear? You could know what marketing channel or content piece works best for your business, easily.  Earlier today, I was in a room full of marketers and I asked the question: What attribution model do you use? The bulk of them use last click or first click attribution which is the most simplistic form of attribution, but also the least fair. Unless your users go from click to lead in one touch, like the example below:

Screen Shot 2017 11 07 at 2.04.35 PM 

But we don't live in such a world. Our world is full of distractions and the need to get in front of our users multiple times to drive awareness and interest in our offerings.

Assuming that the arrow is indicative of time, the touch points with your potential customer will look more like this:


Screen Shot 2017 11 07 at 3.06.58 PM


Roughly 57% of marketers will allocate a large portion of their time to cross-channel attribution and measurement. So what is the best attribution model for a customer journey like this?

Is it: Linear, Time Decay, U-Shaped, W-Shaped or Full-Path?

Let’s go through a high level of what each is:

Linear attribution gives equal weight to every touchpoint. For example, the image above has four touchpoints that lead to a conversion, each touchpoint receives 25% of the conversion credit.

Time Decay attribution model makes the assumption that the last click is the most important because it leads to a conversion but also assigns credit to the other channels as well. So, I this example the shared link will get more credit than the video and both of those will get more credit than the Instagram post.

U-Shaped is one of the simplest multi-touch attribution models. In this model, 40% of the revenue credit is applied to both the first touch and the lead conversion touch with the remaining 20% being applied evenly to all other touches. So with this example, our influencer post and then the shared link will get 40% of the credit respectively and then 20% will be divided to the video and the Instagram post. The biggest benefit with U-shaped is its that is much simpler than other models and it stresses the channels that drive visits and lead conversions. However, the drawback is that no revenue credit is applied. So this is not the best model for longer sales cycle's because it doesn't account for any additional marketing activities after the initial conversion. 

W-Shaped model gives a 30% of the credit to the first touch and last touch. However, it also assigns 30% of the credit to the touchpoint that coincides with lead creation. It then divides the remaining 10% value to all other touchpoints. This is one of the most advanced models and best for longer customer journey’s like in the B2B realm.

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However, all of these attribution models don't take into effect what happens after the conversion. For instance, Accelo's conversion would be a trial. Then the user has 14 days of a free trial and then there might be 3 months that go by before a user has demoed our system and then converted into a customer. So there are even more marketing events that happen after the initial conversion. This is why the other attribution models are good but not great for our type of business.

With Full Path attribution, you are tracking and reporting on touchpoints at every funnel stage which is needed for B2Bs. So how does it work? 22.5% of the credit given at four key touchpoints: first touch, last click before a conversion, opportunity creation and customer close. This also means that down-funnel sales activities are incorporated into this modeling method. 

In my next post, I'll explore 2018 trends with attribution modeling. Stay tuned!


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