Brand marketers must take advantage of every tool available to ensure they connect with their target audience. Implementing a comprehensive marketing strategy means executing across multiple channels and the management of many moving parts. Also, marketers for eCommerce brands must understand how and why prospects are entering their funnel. The optimal way to do that today is through marketing attribution.

Marketing attribution assigns credit to engagements, or touchpoints, along the buying journey to decipher which interactions are responsible for the buying decision. Attribution is an ideal marketing analysis approach for eCommerce organizations, as an entire journey toward a purchase can occur online.

Incorporating marketing attribution means utilizing an attribution model. This approach is sometimes easier said than done, as there are several attribution models to choose from. The question then becomes, which attribution model is best for your eCommerce brand.

Examples of attribution models

There are several attribution models available to eCommerce marketers. Each one has its unique purpose, but the one you choose must allow you to see which engagements are more responsible for revenue. Your chosen model will help you focus your attention on the one that provides the most significant ROI.

First-click model

Attributing credit to the initial engagement a prospect has with your company is indicative of the first-click model. That single interaction receives 100% of the credit for the buying decision. This type of model is often suitable for simple online purchases and provides insight into determining which engagements attract prospects to the top of the funnel.

While easy to implement and track, the first-click model may risk overlooking other engagements that play an essential role in leading a prospect to a buying decision.

Last-click model

Another single-click approach gives all the credit to last-click in the buying journey. While this approach can provide insight into the last interaction a prospect has with your brand before making a purchase, it also disregards other engagements that likely influence the buying decision.

Time decay model

The approach that gives more weight to those engagements closer to the buying decision is the time decay model. This method focuses on those touchpoints closer to the conversion, attributing much more credit for the sale (i.e., 40% or 50%) as the buying decision gets closer. Conversely, those touchpoints at the beginning receive less credit (i.e., 5% or 10%).

The time-decay model doesn’t recommend specific percentages to engagements. It only attributes a higher portion of the credit to those engagements that are closer to the buying decision.

Linear model

Unlike all the other attribution models, the linear model assigns credit equally to all touchpoints in the buying journey. If there are five engagements in a journey, each one receives 20% of the credit for the sale. The linear model can help eCommerce brands weigh every engagement to determine how well they work together or what order may work best within a campaign.

Position-based model

The position-based model gives credit for the sale only to 2 touchpoints: the first and the last. Each touchpoint gets 40% of the sales credit. The other touchpoints receive the additional 20%, divided evenly across however many touchpoints there are.

Ecommerce brands can pinpoint the top of the funnel and those final engagements and determine how well they lead to purchases with this approach. With this model, those campaigns that initially attract and “close the sale” should likely receive more marketing resources.

Data-driven model

The most complex yet insightful attribution model is the data-driven approach. This model uses data pulled from various means, whether it be A.I.-driven or otherwise, and assigns weight based on that data. This model is also unique to every eCommerce brand that utilizes it, as the structure of the model incorporates an organization’s situation and sales cycle.

Though this approach requires additional forethought, it could prove to be most valuable to eCommerce brands as they map out their distinctive marketing campaigns.

Which attribution models work best for your eCommerce brand

Deciding which attribution model works best for your product, service, and marketing approach requires some analysis regarding which of your prospect engagements are most important. Your organization may devote significant resources to attracting prospects in addition to finding that the last interaction typically results in a sale. In this case, the position-based model might be the best fit.

If your marketing approach centers on growing your brand and gaining more exposure, the linear model, where no particular touchpoint is weighted more heavily than any other, might prove the most valuable.

For those eCommerce brands with longer sales cycles where multiple engagements have proven to be of value, the data-driven model might work best, as it can weigh different touchpoints according to your campaign’s needs.

In addition to choosing the best attribution model, it’s also helpful to utilize a marketing attribution tool from top solution providers such as LeadsRx. Leveraging a capable solution provider can help you make informed decisions regarding the right mix of marketing programs while demonstrating how marketing contributes to your organization’s top-line revenue.

No matter which attribution model you use for your eCommerce brand, you can pinpoint which engagements lead to more buying decisions and positively impact the bottom line.

Lucas Sommer has worked with hundreds of organizations and marketers to set up their attribution and help them get useful insights from their data. As director of marketing for LeadsRx, he currently focuses his energy on understanding and optimizing their cross-channel stack as well.