The World of Last-Click Attribution (a.k.a. 10 years ago)

It always amazes me when I hear someone say that they only place value on the last click a person makes before purchase, a.k.a. last-click attribution. There is such a vast network of touchpoints for all brands that the practice is simply nonsensical.

What is Last-Click Attribution?

If you are unfamiliar with the term, last-click attribution is the idea that the very last touchpoint a person engages with for a brand is responsible for the sale. So if a person sees an ad, reads an email, visits a social page, watches a video AND THEN clicks on a paid search ad to go to the website and buy something – the only marketing channel getting any credit for that sale is paid search.

Imagine giving someone directions when all you tell them is the last turn they need to make. Or giving instructions on how to bake a cake where the only directive is ‘place in oven for 30 minutes’ – it just doesn’t work.

This type of mentality is not only archaic, but by giving credit to only the last touch-point causes brands to grossly undervalue the efforts put into all other marketing channels.

Understanding Consumer Behavior

We all want to know how consumers buy our products, right? Whether a buying cycle is ten seconds or ten years, it is important to know what that journey typically looks like so you can capitalize on what you know to be effective.

That’s why using last-click attribution is so ineffective in measuring the success of your campaigns. How often do you, as a consumer, click on an ad and buy right away before doing any research? It just doesn’t happen that way. Information is too readily available now for people not to take advantage of it and ‘shop around’ before making a purchase.

Last-Click Attribution

The Road to Multi-Channel Attribution

If you’re wondering what the alternative is to last-click attribution, it is this: measure all touch-points and collect enough data to establish multi-channel attribution. It is imperative to have a true understanding of the big picture of your marketing efforts, both online and offline, to establish a true attribution model.

This road to multi-channel attribution is not something that happens overnight, and in fact it can take years for all the pieces to fall into place. The goal is attainable, but it takes time and investment to reach it – you have to be willing to invest money and see the big picture in order to create and execute the most effective marketing for your bottom line.

When it comes to marketing, it’s no longer good enough to measure things in black and white; there are too many variables that need to be considered for last-click attribution to have any value.

Where Do I Start?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the data, but if you really want to know about your customers’ behavior then you have to start with the basics. Make sure your data is clean and reliable before you do anything else…that is ALWAYS the first step.

If you want to know more about multi-channel attribution and how to get there, Liquid can help. Contact us today for more insights and to begin your journey to mining your data for marketing gold.


Nicole Castelblanco (Alumni)

About Nicole Castelblanco (Alumni)

Nicole Castelblanco served as the Manager, Research & Analytics at Liquid Interactive. She led the department in the planning, implementation and management of online lead generation programs which include paid and organic search, display, social media, email marketing and analytics.