Understanding 6 Types of Attribution Model In Digital Marketing

Attribution modeling is a framework to analyze touchpoints or which marketing channels...

So, what is the attribution model?

Attribution modeling is a framework to analyze touchpoints or which marketing channels that will get the credit for the conversions. Each attribution model distributes value from conversions differently based on the goal the campaign wants to achieve. In summary, the attribution model helps us to analyze which channel or campaign from which ad group and keywords that contribute to an overall conversion.

Types of Attribution Model

There are 6 types of attribution model:

  1. Last click attribution
  2. First click attribution
  3. Time decay attribution
  4. Linear attribution
  5. Position-based attribution
  6. Data-driven attribution


Last Click Attribution

Last Click Attribution, as what it is, gives 100% credit to the last interaction that generated conversion. This attribution is a starting point by default and it is usually chosen by businesses who only care about the bottom funnel but it is NOT recommended for any business because it discredits all previous touchpoints.

For example :

When you’re scrolling on your Facebook and see a promotion ad for a particular product. You click on the ad but you didn’t purchase right away. Then you make the purchase on the next day by visiting the website directly through the URL. In this case, Direct Traffic will get 100% credit for the conversion because Last Click Attribution gives full credit for the last touchpoint before conversion.

last click attribution model

First Click Attribution

Similar to last click attribution, the First Click Attribution assigns the conversion to the first touchpoint, regardless of whether that marketing campaign directly influenced the sale or not. This is a powerful attribution model when you’re trying to discover the methods and strategies that drive the most new customers.

For example :

Let’s say the first interaction by User A to your business is through Instagram. The User A moved to Google Search to do more research, then convert from Search Ads. With the first click attribution model, Instagram will get 100% credit for the conversion.

first click attribution model

Time Decay Attribution

Time Decay Attribution is probably the most interesting one for marketers. This attribution reveals how each channel contributes to the end goal/conversion, from the top of the funnel (beginning of the interaction) to where conversion usually takes place. It gives guidance to how you can allocate your investment.

The Time Decay model provides an increasing portion of credit to each channel and the interactions that are closest to when a purchase/conversion is made by a customer. This model is suitable for business models that require a long process of consideration before making a purchase, such as for high-value B2B purchase.

For example :

You saw an ad for a new car release by Tesla on Facebook. Then you find out about the information of the new car on Google. Starting from the specification, price, and location of the car being sold. A few days later, another Tesla ad pops up on Instagram offering a free car test drive and the location of the showroom is really close to your office. Then you went to visit the showroom & did a test drive.  A few months later after discussing and considering the costs, You finally decided to get that latest Tesla.

With Time Decay attribution, all channels get credit regularly because they succeed in convincing You to buy the Tesla. Ads on Facebook get the lowest credit and test drive from the showroom get the highest credit, followed by Instagram Ads at the second highest.

time-decay attribution model

Linear Attribution

The linear attribution model has similarities with Time Decay, the difference is that the Linear model gives equal credit to all channels. Linear is suitable when you want to measure your overall marketing strategy. This is a great way to show how each channel has value.

For example :

Customers find you on Facebook, go to the website and register for your email subscription, and then click the email link. And a few days later the customer visited your site directly and made a purchase totaling $ 90. There are 3 contact points in this example, namely Facebook, Email, and Direct. Each point gets 33% credit or $ 30 when the purchase is made.

linear attribution model


Position-based Attribution

The Position-based attribution model is suitable for business models that have multiple points before conversion. This attribution model will tell you which marketing channels are best for acquiring an audience and which are best for converting that audience. It gives more credits to your two most important interactions: the first time a customer finds you and the interaction that drives conversion.

For example :

While I was browsing on Google for things to do in Seoul, I came across a tour company website on Google Search. A few days later, I saw an Ad on Instagram about Special city tours in Seoul that was targeted to me by the same tour companies. Then I decided to book the tour directly through the website. How position-based assigned values is: 40% credit to Google Search, 20% for Instagram, and 40% via Direct Traffic.

position-based attribution model

Data-driven Attribution

The Data-driven attribution model is an attribution model that is different from other attribution models. Why is that?

As the name suggests, the Data-driven attribution model gives credit for the conversion according to the data. Your account data will be used to calculate the actual contribution of each interaction or click on your ad. The data-driven attribution model uses machine learning algorithms to evaluate each conversion. This model combines factors such as the time of conversion, what type of device is used, the amount of interaction with the ad, and the type of ad asset. However, not all can use this attribution model. The requirements for your account to use this attribution model are:

Have at least 15,000 clicks on Google Search and the number of conversions reaches 600 conversions in 30 days.

When you apply this attribution model, make sure to maintain the number of Google Search reaches 10,000 clicks and above 400 conversions in 30 days. Otherwise, you cannot use this model and will be automatically replaced by the Linear attribution model.

data-driven attribution model

So, how do you determine which attribution model would be the right fit for your business?

Actually, there is no attribution model that is the best or most correct, but back to which model provides enough information for you to develop marketing strategies that can increase your ROI. When one attribution model does not provide you with helpful information, don’t hesitate to try the other model. If you want to discuss which attribution model you should use, contact our team for further discussion.

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