Multi Click Attribution Modelling

I always recommend to brands that they should move from a last click tracking mentality to one that ascertains value across the sales funnel.

The first question that should be asked by brands is why bother? Some give broad reasoning hence I thought it pertinent to give you some more specific reasons why you should evolve from a last click wins tracking methodology to a multi click attribution model.

Ethos: Finding out the true path to conversion helps you attribute cost against value thus ascertaining ROAS (Return On Ad Spend). This will then in turn help you set out the correct marketing mix that will in turn improve your digital marketing ROI + sales volume (and LTV if you are attracting more sticky customers but that’s for another post). 

Consumers research, compare and make purchase decisions via multiple touch points across multiple channels. If you are solely measuring return based on a last click methodology you are by definition not measuring all the customer touch points and thus have an incomplete picture of your targeting opportunities.   

Essentially multi click attribution often results in redistributing ‘credit’ from the end of the sales funnel and giving some back to the start of the customer journey. E.g. more generic keywords (PPC & SEO), review sites and blogs (affiliate), Social Media in general, etc.

Post impression display data helps you understand people who have seen your banners but not clicked on them. Research from companies such as Artemis proves that exposure to display advertising does increase the likelihood of converting. Therefore without this view through data you would only be getting half the banner story

Top converting paths and assisted conversions do help you understand, at a top level, what you main assists and paths are. This can lead you down many testing scenarios. For example; Do we focus more on those channels that are delivering healthy returns and ‘forget’ the rest? Do we have an “over reliance” on the interplay between PPC and SEO and if we do should something be done about it? Do we focus on other unutilised media such as more (paid) social media engagement? Etc.

Let’s now take a specific acquisition channel and look at the challenges within it. If we take Affiliate marketing, often voucher code and cash back sites ‘steal’ the sale at the end and add less value to KPI’s such as awareness. If you looked in your affiliate reports then you would see, in my opinion, an often unfair weighting to these channels. Multi Click Attribution modelling helps you realise this and ensures you do not forget about sub channels such as review, blog and comparison sites that actually convinced the person to purchase in the first place. I sat through a presentation fomr EBay a few years ago and they had seen real value by advancing their affiliate tracking technology system by utilising multi click attribution and sale windows to justify commissions for certain affiliates/ types.  

From a PPC perspective multi click attribution is often most important for justifying more generic terms further up the sales funnel rather than just bidding on the obvious low hanging fruit such as brand. Multi click attribution is also useful for unearthing new keyword variations to bid on and then split out in to separate campaigns so Quality Score/ ad rank and conversion rate are maximised. It also gives you competitive advantage as your competition might be focusing far too much on last click keywords whilst you invest in the wider sales funnel.

Multi click attribution can also be something that you utilise to take A/B channel testing to the next level. As an example banner retargeting can often be tarnished with the ‘stealing sales you would have got anyway’ brush, thus why not employ tests and see what happens to your sales funnels as a result?  

Finally phone tracking understanding is something that can benefit from the multi click attribution treatment. For phone tracking (dynamically serving a different phone number on landing pages or every keyword that received a click) you would then receive a richer picture of how phone enquiries and direct sales affect the marketing mix and you might also discover that certain keywords that did not convert amazingly well online convert much better over the phone. These could include detailed question search strings, heavy items whose delivery terms are not straight forward and might require a phone call for clarification, etc.  

Multi Click Model Examples

Whilst the below multi click examples do not give you every possible model available (e.g. longer than a 30 days cookie, view through conversions included, different weighting to the media sources, time decay, etc) they do at least highlight some possible ways of managing your sales funnel more intelligently.

Just remember there is no one size fits all model and before employing you should run modelling exercises to denote what would then happen to your tracking/conversion/media strategy as a result. 


Even weighting across all visits

Even weighting across all visits


Even weighting across all visits excluding brand/direct

Even weighting across all visits excluding brand/direct


Even weighting across all visits within 30 days excluding Brand/Direct

Even weighting across all visits within 30 days excluding Brand/Direct


First contributor higher weighted excluding Brand/Direct

First contributor higher weighted


Late contributor higher weighted excluding Brand/Direct

Late contributor higher weighted


First & last contributors higher weighted excluding Brand/Direct

First and last contributors higher weighted