Multi-Touch Attribution: Essential for eCommerce

11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Converting a visitor to your e-commerce site into a customer is the end goal of every business owner. But it is also one of the most challenging tasks, given the plethora of shopping options and the indecision that online shopping can create. It can take excessive ad spending to begin converting visitors finally.

However, understanding multi-touch attribution — sometimes called multi-channel attribution — can help you see where your digital marketing efforts are most effectively used, making the buyer’s journey through the sales cycle easier.

While multi-touch attribution is not the easiest way to codify your conversion metrics, it is the most complete and accurate method.

Whether you are an eCommerce pro or just starting, we can help familiarize you with multi-touch attribution models in this article. Knowing how they work will give you a powerful tool to grow your business and cut excessive marketing spending.

Understanding Attribution: The Complete Guide

Regarding marketing attribution, marketing touchpoints are the various channels a consumer uses to interact with your website, whether social media or Google ads.

There can be many different touchpoints along the customer journey, from the first awareness of your product to the last click that makes them a buyer. Some have more use cases than others, which is what an attribution model helps you determine.

The different types of attribution solutions assign each touchpoint a value based on how they interact when a customer is converted into a sale.

Most marketing measurement methods will determine conversion rate through one of two different single-touch attribution methods: first-touch attribution or last-touch attribution. Let us look at how these two measurements work.

First-Touch Attribution Model

The first-touch attribution model looks at the first ad a customer interacts with for your business. That ad is the one that is responsible for converting a visitor into a customer, regardless of any other ads the user may have interacted with.

This method helps determine which marketing element is attracting the most attention to your business but does not inherently help decide which aspect of your ad spend is genuinely responsible for conversion.

Last-Touch Attribution

Last-touch attribution does the opposite of first-touch. It tells you the last channel a user interacts with before purchasing. It is a potent way to determine which paid marketing channel was responsible for converting your customers. Still, it has its drawbacks — one being that it heavily skews your metrics towards whichever channel is hosting your ad.

For example, if you advertise with Facebook, the last-touch attribution model benefits them as it seems like that ad is heavily influencing your conversion without considering what other possible components may be helping.

Looking at it like this, imagine you had a paid ad on Instagram advertising your ice cream company. Someone clicks on this ad and visits your website but does not make a purchase. They return later, having searched for your website and found it through a paid Google search ad, and then buy your product.

Your Instagram ad effectively got that customer to your website but did not cause them to make a purchase directly.

However, with first-touch attribution, as it is the first touchpoint a consumer interacts with, the ad would be weighted heavier in your conversion metrics. The ad is effective, but this model does not consider the paid Google ad that helped that customer find you again.

Conversely, last-touch attribution would tell you that your paid Google ad did all the heavy lifting in this scenario because it was the last touchpoint your customer interacted with before making a purchase.

Was your Instagram ineffective just because it did not cause direct conversion, or was it necessary to get the customer aware of your business? Multi-touch attribution aims to solve this problem.

What Are the Benefits of Multi-Touch Attribution?

These methods are acceptable; however, they are missing an important step. Neither weighs other aspects of your marketing or the impact every piece of marketing could have.

You are not seeing the full potential of your marketing spend and could be dumping too much money into an ad channel that is not as beneficial.

Multi-touch attribution, or MTA, marketing models look to dive into the impact of your marketing throughout the customer journey to their purchase. Knowing this, you can better understand where your marketing budget is best spent. The effects of utilizing multi-touch attribution include:

  • A better understanding of how effective all of your marketing is.
  • Where to spend your marketing budget.
  • How traffic is being driven to your website.
  • How to optimize your marketing flow.

Used in concert with innovative consumer experiences like augmented reality try-ons, knowing the effectiveness of your marketing can significantly increase your conversion rates.

How Do You Use Multi-Touch Attribution Models?

There are several different MTA models that you can utilize when determining what the most critical touchpoints are for customer conversion. We will look at all of them and explain the differences.

Linear Attribution Models

Linear multi-touch attribution models evenly distribute credit among every touchpoint interacted with.

Regardless of how much weight a touchpoint carries, whether the ad that was last interacted with before conversion or the first ad clicked on by a customer, a linear model will provide them equal credit. There can be many touchpoints in this model, and each one will receive an even percentage.

This model is great if you want to see which of your channels are being utilized.

U-Shaped Attribution Models

The U-shaped model attributes the most conversion credit to a chain's first and last touchpoints. This provides a smaller percentage of credit distributed amongst whatever other touchpoints are interacted with along the way.

This will show you which channels have the most impact at the beginning and end of a customer’s conversion journey.

Time Decay Attribution Models

This multi-touch attribution model weighs touchpoints closer to the conversion point with the heaviest percentages. The idea here is that these touchpoints are more valuable because they build up and lead to converting a customer.

Time-decay attribution models are valuable in that they let you know what is pushing a viewer over the edge into becoming a customer but can fail to inform you accurately of how your ads are spreading awareness.

W-Shaped Attribution Models

W-shaped attribution assigns the most credit to the first touchpoint, the touchpoint that creates a sales lead, and the final conversion touchpoint.

Other channels the customer may interact with will receive a smaller percentage of conversion credit. This model is great for lengthier, more complex marketing campaigns.

Custom Attribution Models

The custom model allows you to mix and match MTA models. Perhaps you like the time decay method but want it to weigh the first touchpoint with a higher percentage of the conversion credit. Working with a marketing team, this model allows you the most flexibility but is also the most complex.

Using Multi-Touch Attribution

To start utilizing a multi-touch attribution model for your eCommerce business, you will have to do some legwork if you do not want to rely on an outside source. It is a heavily data-driven process that will not be done overnight. There are several steps that we will briefly outline.

Gather Data

First, you will need to collect information regarding your website. Many eCommerce platforms may already provide comprehensive analytical data, which Google Analytics can help with

You will want to sample your user base and how people find and interact with your website.

Group Data

Find a platform to combine all of your information into one place. Optimize all of the data you have collected to allow it to be easily graphed into the metrics you want.

Visualize Data

You will need to transform your data into a model you can reference and quickly make sense of. Like with any of these other steps, there are platforms or outside companies you can rely on to make this process easier.

A well-versed marketing team can create your multi-touch attribution model for you. Rely on them to do all the hard work if you want to cut down on stress or do not have the time, or take on the task yourself if you're going to customize everything to your liking fully. Some sources can help you build your own model if you wish to seek them out.

Multi-Touch Attribution and Its Impact on eCommerce

Marketing is a massive chunk of any company’s budget. For an eCommerce-based business, regardless of size, finding out how to best utilize that budget and maximize your marketing is a crucial asset. Knowing how to spend your money is essential, but it is just as important to know where to spend it.

Multi-touch attribution lets you view every aspect of your marketing distribution and determine where your dollars would be most effective at converting a visitor.

It is an essential piece of the puzzle if you want to grow your business beyond the boundaries of your current pace. Do not get left behind by settling for a single attribution point, but branch out and watch your business flourish.

How Illumix Can Help

Considering technological advancements can help in both eCommerce as well.

If you're interested in learning how AR (augmented reality) technologies can help your eCommerce business, check out the rest of our site.

Here at Illumix, we specialize in building dynamic AR experiences that can enhance your brand. We've done the heavy lifting already. Contact us to learn how we can help.

We know you're ready for the change, so upgrade your store with augmented reality today.


A Complete Guide To B2B Multitouch Attribution  | Search Engine Journal

Multi-Touch Attribution in 2022 | Models, Tactics, and Setup | Daasity

How to Select an Advanced Marketing Attribution Software | Marketing Evolution

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