B2B marketing leaders talk a lot about the benefits of multi-touch revenue attribution; however, faced with time and technological constraints, nearly all marketers still default to single-touch attribution. Getting started with multi-touch attribution first requires an understanding of the various approaches—from the most basic, to more complex, multi-touch methods.

In this series, we’ll explore some of the most popular revenue attribution methods being used today. There are several commonly accepted models, and your choice depends on your business needs and data set. In fact, in most cases, it’s advantageous to use more than one. For our first installment, we’ll focus on common single-touch models, the starting point for most marketers seeking get started with attribution.

Before we get started, consider the following scenario*, which will be referenced throughout “Revenue Attribution Basics” as we examine the pros and cons of each model:

Jane Smith from ABC Company visited your company’s booth at a conference and was scanned by your booth staff, which was then used to create a lead in your CRM. Wanting to learn more about your company, she watched a video on your website, signed up for a webinar, and ultimately downloaded an eBook before an opportunity was created for ABC Company with Jane as the Primary Contact. Eventually, after engaging with sales, ABC Company signed a deal for $20K. 

* While the average B2B buyers’ journey spans at least thirteen different touch points, for the sake of simplicity, we’re using four touches in this example. Similarly, most purchase decisions are made by a collective group of stakeholders, rather than an individual.

First-Touch Attribution

First-Touch Attribution Revenue is attributed to the first marketing touch. All campaign touches after the initial interaction are ignored.

ABC COMPANY SCENARIO: Jane’s first interaction—visiting your booth at a conference—receives 100% credit for the deal ($20K). 

Last-Touch Attribution

First-Touch AttributionRevenue is attributed to the last marketing touch before an opportunity is created. All campaign touches before the last interaction are ignored.

Jane’s last interaction prior to lead conversion—downloading your eBook—receives 100% credit for the opportunity ($20K).

The Bottom Line

Single-touch models are a common starting point for revenue attribution, used by nearly two-thirds of all marketers. While preferable to not attributing revenue at all, single-touch models place disproportionate emphasis on either lead generation (first touch) or conversion (last touch) activity.

The biggest problem with single-touch attribution models is that they overstate the value of a single activity, and undervalue everything else. For instance, if you have a campaign that consistently occurs midway through the buyers’ journey (e.g. webinar in ABC Company example), it won’t be given any credit with single-touch. In reality, your mid-funnel programming may be a critical step in progressing prospects through the funnel. As a result, marketers may be tricked into inappropriately allocating investments, cutting spend in mid-funnel programs because single-touch attribution doesn’t provide visibility into that portion of the buyers’ journey.

Which attribution models does your marketing team use? Stay tuned for the next installment of our “Revenue Attribution Basics” series to learn about the pros and cons of common multi-touch attribution models, and tips to help you more accurately measure Marketing effectiveness and ROI.

To learn more about all revenue attribution models, download our new eBook today.