When to Use Single Touch Versus Multi-Touch Attribution Models

PIN Multi-touch attribution

Both Single and Multi-touch attribution models have their place in marketing analytics. It’s just a matter of knowing when to use one versus the other.

Around 65% of marketers have an attribution model in place. In many articles, single and multi-touch attribution are presented as opposites, being good or bad.  The result of describing the single-touch attribution and multi-touch attribution models as opponents, has led to unnecessary uncertainty among marketers.

  • 60% of marketers said they were using a single-touch attribution model, while 40% use multi-touch attribution.
  • Only 10% of marketers who use single touch attribution believe they use the right model, as opposed to 47% to Multi Touch attribution users.

All this just created unnecessary uncertainty among marketers. Being in favor of single or multi-touch attribution is the same as saying a thermometer is better than a ruler. It all depends on what you are trying to measure!

Read on and enrich your attribution toolkit without excluding one or the other.

The difference between Single and Multi touch attribution

Especially if you’re selling various products through multiple channels, the specific customer journeys individual purchasers go through are likely to differ. Various different roads lead to Rome.

Customers who end up buying your product are likely to have arrived passing through a different set of touchpoints. To know how different strings of touch points lead up to a purchase, you need to use different attribution models.

For attribution models, there’s a division between single-touch and multi-touch. If you decide to just measure only one touch, then you are using Single touch attribution. Examples of single touch are first touch attribution and last touch attribution.

Closer touch attribution, any touch attribution model, linear multi-touch attribution, weighted multi-touch attribution or algorithmic multi-touch attribution models, are examples of multi-touch attribution models.

They can and should be used to analyze different types of marketing, and track different types of buying journeys

Using the Single Touch attribution model to its fullest

Monitoring marketing efforts isn’t always difficult. Sometimes you just want to know whether a specific offer is compelling enough for the customer to purchase right at that moment. In this case marketers opt for “Direct Response” (DR) marketing. DR contains strong call-to-action’s as it attempts to get immediate business results, usually at a discounted price.

For example, “buy now and save 20%” is a good example. This type of marketing is ideal for a single-touch attribution model. We simply want to know if the DR program in and of itself, whether it helped to draw in new business.

Marketers use single touch attribution effectively to find out which channel contributes most to attracting traffic, leads or demand generation. If you only want to know what channel is the main entry point of your customers to your products or webshop, choose first touch. If you only want to know what the last channel is before the purchase of your customers, choose last touch.

Many search e-commerce marketers believe that the “last-ad clicked” model is the most beneficial because search occurs far down the purchase funnel, close to the conversion. In fact, 74% of purchases can only be attributed to a single click, which by definition is the last click.

Using the Multi Touch attribution model to its fullest

In contrast, sometimes you don’t want to measure direct response, but take a more long term approach to develop brand value. In this case, marketers advertise over a period of time with messages that establish the value of the brand in an attempt to find higher-value customers.

For example, “Range Rover produces some of the best luxury SUVs in the world.” This message must be delivered multiple times through multiple channels in order to attract more high-value customers. People don’t usually spend the price of a small house on impulse, you know.

A multi-touch attribution model must be used here to track the entire customer journey over weeks, months, and even years in order to determine the relative effectiveness of each advertising medium and channel.

In essence, multi-touch attribution focuses on the customer journey as a whole. If you want to know which paths your customers take, so you can improve your campaigns or content, then choose multi touch.

Use Single and Multi Touch attribution models wisely

Choose an attribution product that doesn’t lock you into one particular approach to modeling. You need freedom to experiment with different attribution models to learn which one works best in your specific situation.

Realize that marketing comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. New marketing initiatives are launched, less effective ones are discontinued. Therefore, your attribution platform must be able to switch between models in real time and at the marketer’s whim. With LeadsRx, you can.