What Is the Attribution Model, and Why Should You Care?

The reason why b2b marketing attribution is significant is because it allows you to understand your marketing strategies on a deeper level. Once a lead converts into a customer, a marketer should know how, when, and which channel should receive credit. The customer’s buying journey is never linear, especially in today’s marketing environment.

A sale happens only after the prospective buyer goes through a series of touchpoints. Several engagement opportunities will help convince the lead to buy the product finally.

The problem is that with more opportunities to sell, more challenges for the marketer also come to the surface. It is a must to be inclined in different channels because it will ensure visibility. This, however, makes the customer journey more complex than it already is.

Find out how you can use marketing attribution and its different models, attribution models to fully appreciate your marketing efforts and bring desired marketing results in this post.

What is Marketing Attribution?

marketing attribution model
Image Source: DreamData.io B2B marketing attribution 

More than being expensive, implementing multiple marketing strategies simultaneously makes identifying which method is genuinely helping you close sales a lot confusing.

While marketers are used to counting web traffic and monitoring click-throughs and email rates, they are not enough to see if your campaigns are successful or not. Only with an efficient b2b attribution can you fully determine if you are promoting on the proper channels and if you are being wise with your marketing spend.

Marketing attribution is the process that allows you to analyze all conversion events that occur with every sale. It highlights the channel source that drives the most conversion. You may consider attribution as a tool to measure the conversion path of leads into becoming customers. The reports generated from attribution are like a key to a plethora of information about your marketing efforts and customer journey. It opens up opportunities for marketers to make informed decisions regarding marketing budget allocations. Attribution is particularly helpful to new businesses not confident about which channels can help them boost conversions.

How do attribution help?

Starting with b2b marketing can be daunting, primarily upon dealing with a lot of data. Attribution helps by streamlining the collection and analysis of all data through accurate reporting. Attribution generates reports about all the essential marketing metrics you need to be aware of. You do not need to analyze everything because most b2b attribution software will do it for you. All left is to make optimized decisions based on the attribution-generated reports.

With attribution, you will determine answers to the following questions:

1. How long will it take for a lead to convert?

Optimizing conversion rates and refining your marketing strategies can start with knowing how long the whole process would take and how many steps the customer needs to go through before getting convinced to buy your products. It makes the conversion process more efficient because you will see which areas on the path need improvement.

2. How often does leads switch between devices during conversion?

An in-depth attribution analysis will show that some leads will switch between devices as they go through the customer journey. It will reveal which devices and channels do leads interact the most and to which device they are more likely to convert. These details will allow you to make strategies that will help encourage engagement or boost your campaigns.

3. Which marketing strategies deliver the most leads? 

Not all businesses can afford to launch simultaneous campaigns across different channels. With attribution, you can see which strategies customers engage in most. It will reveal which channels they like to use when interacting with you. This information will then guide you in creating future campaigns and let you know where it is best to put your marketing investments.

4. Which type of content is viewed the most before a conversion? 

Not all kinds of content appeal to customers. By knowing the specific type of content they prefer, you can tailor your campaigns to their liking, which will undoubtedly contribute to many conversions.

5. How many leads does a blog generate? 

Blogging remains one of the best marketing strategies, but monitoring its metrics can be challenging. Attribution is a fantastic way to reveal data-driven information about your blog’s effectiveness in helping you generate leads and drive conversions.

Although most b2b attribution software can run its metrics with only a few prodding on your part, it would be great to know the specifics about how attribution works.

The Different Attribution Models

Different Attribution Models

The first thing to get familiar with attribution is that you will probably be asked to choose an attribution model for your business. You already know that attribution measures the impact of your marketing strategies. What you must also take note of is that how it works will depend on the attribution model that you chose.

Generally, there are two types of attribution models.

  • The first is a single-touch attribution model, which typically includes the first-click and last-click attribution models.
  • Another category is the multi-touch attribution model with several model types like linear, time-decay, U-shaped, and W-shaped attributions, to name a few.

The approach differs for each attribution model, and this overview will help you out:

Single-Touch Attribution Models:

First-click Attribution

In this attribution model, 100% of the credit is given to the first channel that the lead interacted with. This is an effective model if you want to see which campaigns can generate the most traffic and awareness.

Last-click Attribution

Contrary to the first-click model, the last-click attribution credits everything to the last channel the customer went through before making a purchase. It is efficient to determine which channels can turn visitors into leads and leads into customers.

Multi-Touch Attribution Models

Linear Attribution

With linear attribution, all touchpoints in the customer journey are given equal credits. It does not matter how many channels the customer interacted with; the credit for the sales is divided equally on each. This ensures that you give importance to all channels that are part of your marketing campaigns. Although it is nice to appreciate the role of each touchpoint in the success of your campaign, it would be impossible for you to see which steps did great in converting and which ones need improvement. It defeats the purpose of attribution since you are doing it supposedly to see which channels are significant in your ROI.

Time-decay Attribution

In this attribution model, all touchpoints are given credits, but the later one before the conversion has higher credit percentages. It shows which campaigns are doing their jobs at converting leads.

U-shaped Attribution

Otherwise referred to as the position-based attribution, it recognizes the first and last touchpoints in the customer journey. It gives equal credit to the first and last interactions, and the remaining percentage is divided among other interactions in between. This is useful if you want to see which channel acquires a lot of relevant audiences and the channel that converts the most sales.

W-Shaped Attribution

In this attribution model, it does put a lot of weight on not only both the first and last touch-points but also on the one in the mid-funnel. This is a popular model among marketers because it allows them to determine which touchpoints the audience found, became leads, and eventually became customers.

Custom Attribution

Although marketers recognize the attribution models above, you may also create a custom attribution model. This gives you the freedom to put credit on particular touchpoints that you think are most important. Although this is a great model, it also requires a lot of data and can be challenging to create.

Getting Started with Attribution

Although attribution has been around for a while, many marketers are still confused about the whole attribution model process. Many models have been created, so it is challenging to pick the best one.

Here are some tips to help you out if you cannot decide which attribution model to choose:

Research, research, and more research

Marketing attribution is a complex concept. It requires deep knowledge about the industry you are in and your target market. The only way to acquire enough information about these is to research everything. This will help avoid using the wrong model, leading to losing quality attribution reports.

Invest in marketing attribution tools

There are a lot of tools that you can use to track every customer touchpoint. By harnessing the power of these tools, you can quickly dissect all touchpoints and use the data-driven results to make educated marketing decisions.

Use reliable marketing software

It is a fact that you will deal with a ton of data during marketing attribution. Marketing software that can automate and systematize the data collection about all marketing interactions leading to sales will be helpful in this process. It will take away all guesswork and ensure that only relevant data about your campaigns are provided.

Integrate marketing, sales, and attribution software.

Do more in less time by integrating all the necessary tools in your marketing attribution software. It can be the CRM, marketing automation, and sales software you use for your business. Aside from ensuring that all relevant data are in a single platform, it is also easier for your attribution software to monitor the marketing and sales performance and create attribution reports.

Invest time in attribution.

The marketing attribution process will not be done overnight. There is a need to monitor weeks or months’ worth of data. Data measurement, analysis, and reporting will take a while. It would help if you were patient enough to see it through so you can generate accurate reports for your attribution.

How to choose an attribution tool?

Marketers use attribution to identify which channels are effective in driving conversions. However, the insights' accuracy depends on the attribution tool you will have for your marketing.

To have exceptional campaign insights, your attribution tool should:

  1. Explain how the attribution model functions. Accurate analytics help with precise attribution. Your tool should demonstrate that the formula used to analyze marketing data is effective.
  2. Specialize in formulating key insights. The attribution software must be able to provide insights that are not only relevant but are also appealing to marketers. This means it should also offer insights about the mobile impact or any area of specialty that will be valuable for the marketing team.
  3. Provide granular insights. It was mentioned earlier that creating a custom attribution model is one of the most effective ways to attribute. To do this, you will need granular insights to personalize the attribution process and create highly-specific campaigns.
  4. Leverage insights using consumer data. Better campaign optimization can be achieved with quality insights based on various consumer data.
  5. Take branding into account. Branding is an effective marketing strategy. Marketing attribution should align with your branding efforts to determine how brand authority also plays a vital role in facilitating ROI.

Considering these criteria, it is crucial to be armed with b2b attribution software that can assist you in dissecting and understanding your marketing strategies. It will ensure a cohesive approach that delivers personalized and granular insights about your campaigns’ effectiveness across all channels and resources.


Using marketing attribution is effective, but it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Its success will also depend on the attribution model that you choose. It would help if you attributed according to your specific goals. You also need to test your chosen attribution model, analyze if it is effective, and repeat the process in all your campaigns.

It is also essential to constantly monitor if your objectives are achieved or need to be changed. Campaigns, ads, and other marketing channels continue evolving, so you must update your goals and attribution modeling. By regularly refining your attribution model, you will have the most accurate and sophisticated reports to ensure your business's laser-focused marketing strategies.

With the right attribution model, you can successfully implement attribution to make better marketing decisions and reap the benefits of your marketing labor with better conversions.

About Jenn Pereira

Jenn Pereira is a full-time marketing consultant and growth hacker who works for huge startups like Removal.AI. Currently, the co-founder of SaaSLaunchr.com - a full-stack SaaS marketing agency. She creates custom strategies for various clients to provide organic traffic growth and to streamline their revenue pipeline through effective SEO and content marketing.