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What is the meaning of marketing attribution?

From a digital marketing perspective, multi-touch attribution differs from single touch attribution in a number of ways. Single touch attribution looks at conversion rates for one channel or campaign source (e.g., paid search) alone to determine where the lead came from. Adding second and third attribution sources (e.g., display, email, etc.) to the mix, however, reveals which channels were most effective at converting customers. The more channels that are used, the more accurate the end conversion numbers will be for each channel.


Multi-touch attribution is a methodology to determine the last marketing touchpoint that an individual converted from. This methodology involves inserting a cookie within the prospects browser to count the number of marketing interactions from various marketing touchpoints, hence the term multi-touch. Here’s a real world example: a prospect first sees a prosecting ad on a comparison website, than reads a review of the product, thereafter receives a retargeting ad to complete the purchase via a search ad promotion. 


When trying to make sense of multi-touch attribution, it’s useful to look at the example of a customer who browses an ecommerce website, downloads an e-book, and then purchases a product online. While this might be three separate actions made by one person, how much weight should be given to each channel when helping to determine the portions of your marketing budget that will be allocated toward attracting new customers?


A customer journey map visually maps out the steps a consumer takes in their interaction with a specific brand. Each step in the journey typically includes a touchpoint, an interaction with an individual or corporate entity. The Journeys tool helps us document our customer journeys through our site and identify opportunities for improvement. The journey map becomes a living artifact that we can build from over time as we learn more about our customers.