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Leads, Leads, Leads

In previous posts, we talked about the difference between Web and Lead metrics and how you can fill the gap by using cookies to attach […]

Marketing Metrics

The metrics I’m going to describe in the following section come from disparate sources, primarily your Content Management System (CMS), a Web Analytics platform like […]

The Marketing Channel Report

In previous posts, I talked about putting together the foundation for a Marketing Channel report, one that would show us for the first time not only […]

Lead Analytics vs Web Analytics

In our inaugural post, we talked about the birth of the Marketing Channels report, our first look at the true contribution of all marketing efforts – […]

Prove Marketing ROI

This story begins in 2010, when Nate Otiker joined Quest Software as our Director of Internet Marketing. Nate came to us from T-Mobile and before […]

Marketing Attribution – First, Last and Multi Touch

In previous posts, I’ve spoken of the value of recognizing Natural contributions to lead volume in the B2B funnel but also promised to spend some time discussing first, last and multi-touch Marketing Attribution. In the following post, I attempt to make good on that promise, discussing the pros and cons of first, last and multi-touch attribution, but also looking ahead to a broader discussion of Marketing Influence, where all customer interactions across multiple devices and venues are considered when evaluating Marketing’s contribution to the success of the enterprise.

First Touch Marketing Attribution

The campaign that brought the contact into the database gets all credit for any resulting leads and revenue.

First Touch Marketing Attribution

There is a lot to be said for this approach. Net new customers mean a great deal to a growing company, so many business people hold First Touch to be the truest assessment of a Marketing department’s contribution to the success of the business.

The risk of this approach is that it can overlook the meaningful contribution required to nurture the contact from prospect to customer. This risk is especially real in the multi-contact environment of complex lead generation, where dozens or even hundreds of prospects from a single account might engage with Marketing collateral over the course of a deal. In such an environment, First Touch limits our perspective on the true contribution across all areas of Marketing.

Last Touch Marketing Attribution

The last customer interaction before the deal closes gets all credit for leads and revenue.

Proponents of this approach say that it’s usually a high-commit engagement that happens before a deal closes. A proof of concept might be planned already, committing human and physical resources.

The challenge of this approach is that it doesn’t pay enough attention to the difficult work of filtering the high-value nuggets out of the riverbed of traffic.

Multi Touch Marketing Attribution

All customer engagements with your brand get equal credit for any resulting leads and revenue. In the Google Analytics world, this is known as Linear Attribution.

Multi Touch Marketing Attribution

This one appeals to the egalitarian in all of us. It recognizes the value contributed by all Marketing teams, wherever they contribute. It’s good for morale!

The caveat here is that certain types of registrations are easier to get than others and you might over-weight them in the final analysis. For example, you might be tracking both Webinar-Registrants and Webinar-Attends. Is it really fair to give the same Webinar two credits for the resulting conversion?


The ideal approach for proving Marketing contribution as always, depends on the nature and the goals of the business. Knowledge of the different types of attribution models will give you perspective when it seems certain channels are under-performing.

If your analytics team can provide it, I found value in using first, last and multi touch views as lenses on the same data. That gives you the most perspective on how channel contribution fluctuates during the customer journey.

The best way to think of attribution might be to look at the complete contribution of Marketing collateral as it influences the life cycle of the deal and beyond. You can look forward to an upcoming interview with an attribution expert who developed this approach in the wild, with killer results. Please stay tuned!

Keep reading! Here are a few other articles on Marketing attribution:


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