Multi-channel attribution describes the process of figuring out which avenues of marketing in a customer journey ultimately lead to the conversion.

Today’s customers interact with companies through a multitude of different touch points, including social media channels, search engines and backlinks. Through an understanding of multi-channel attribution, companies determine which of their campaigns are leading to the best conversions.

A multi-attribution model helps marketers to decide where to assign the biggest percentages of their marketing budget, based on successful consumer interactions.

Benefits of multi-channel attribution

Customer journeys are often more complicated than they seem. Usually, it’s not as simple as a user seeing an ad and immediately clicking through to add to cart and check out all in one visit. When you’re deciding how to organize your marketing campaigns, understanding the part that each touchpoint plays in driving conversions helps you to achieve the best results.

Multi-channel attribution gives each of the touchpoints in your buyer journey a certain value, so you can decide how your ideal conversion strategy should function. For instance, if a customer visits your Facebook page three times before conversion, but your Instagram page only once, you’ll know that your customers use Facebook to do more brand research.

Multi-channel attribution in Google Analytics

Most businesses use Google analytics to track their multi-channel attribution information. Google offers several attribution models, including:

  • Last interaction: A model that ascribes 100% of the conversion value to the last channel your visitor interacts with.
  • Last non-direct click: A model that attributes 100% of the conversion value to the last channel clicked on, ignoring all direct sessions.
  • Last Google Ads click: A model that focuses on the value of the most recent Google ad clicked before a person’s conversion.
  • First interaction: A model that ascribes 100% of the conversion to the first channel your customer interacted with, such as a social page, or Google ad.
  • Linear: The model that gives equal attribution to each interaction your customer has with your company on the way to conversion.
  • Time decay: A model that gives additional value to the touchpoints closest to the conversion point in terms of time.

Which multi-channel attribution model is best?

Linear and time decay multi-channel attribution models provide businesses with more insights into their complete customer buying cycle. If you want to learn precisely what your audience does before, they buy from you; these models will be more informative. The other attribution models available from Google aren’t officially “multi-attribution” conversion guides, as they only focus on a single channel or customer interaction.

The attribution model that you should use to track the performance of your campaigns will depend on various factors. For instance, you’ll need to think about how extensive your marketing campaigns are and which avenues you use to interact with customers.

If you’re choosing between multi-channel attribution models such as the linear or time decay methods, then you’ll need to decide how vital time is to your conversions. Companies with a longer sales cycle benefit from the time decay model, because the interactions your customers have with you closer to the time of conversion may have a bigger impact on their purchasing decision. This is particularly true if you’re investing in sales enablement.