What is Multi-Click Attribution & Why Does it Matter?

What is Multi-Click Attribution & Why Does it Matter?

Imagine you’re talking with your friend, Frank, about getting a new fishing rod (ignoring the fact you already have 20 rods and reels out in the shed). Frank tells you about a great new brand you’ve surprisingly never heard of, with amazing features and reasonable prices. He even shows you pictures and videos of the rod in action. You’re convinced, so after Frank gives you the address of the sports store that carries this new brand, you head over and speak briefly with a salesperson who eagerly rings you up.

Who should get credit for the sale? The salesperson was the last person to talk with you about the rod and is the one who will receive a commission, but they obviously owe a debt of gratitude to Frank – he’s the one who persuaded you by providing all of that valuable information. Comparing Frank to the salesperson demonstrates how the last source to come into contact with a consumer is not always the point-of-contact that deserves the most credit for a sale.

Giving credit for a sale to the last point-of-contact is called “Last-Click Attribution,” which has historically been a popular way of analyzing a sale. However, as the pathway of commercial sales becomes more complex online, it’s increasingly important to recognize the role of multiple sources of contact which encourage consumer purchases at various times in various ways. This more nuanced approach to understanding online sales is called “Multi-Click Attribution,” and can be an extremely important tool in deciding how to allocate your marketing dollars.

In our digital world, customers do their own research through new technology like never before. The self-directed behavior of online buyers takes them further and further down a purchase path on their own; most now complete between two-thirds to 90% of their sales journey before making contact with a dealer! Consumers may be converted into hard leads for your business at any number of “touchpoints,” including emails, social media, search engine results, digital ads, and listing inventory on 3rd party vendor websites. In fact, online sales are preceded by an average of 30 various touchpoints!

If your only sales analysis is last-click attribution, you’re likely ignoring sales MVPs that you should really be investing in! So what are some popular Multi-Click Attribution models? They have fancy names, but each describes a pretty simple concept:

  • Linear Attribution gives equal credit to all touchpoints throughout a sale.
  • Positional Attribution gives major credit to the first and last sales sources and some minor credit to touchpoints that occur in-between.
  • Time-Decayed Attribution gives some credit to every touchpoint, with recent touchpoints considered to be most important and older touchpoints getting less credit.

The information from a Multi-Click Attribution approach provides important context when analyzing your sales data and planning your marketing strategy. It will be up to you to figure out which perspective will provide the most accurate picture of marketing and sales for your business. (For advanced attribution help, Google offers comparative modeling on its AdWords and Analytics pages.) Whichever Multi-Click Attribution model you choose, keeping multiple touchpoints in mind when allocating marketing funds will keep you ahead in your market by maximizing your exposure and driving sales!


Ethan Smith
Ethan is a Content Curator for Trader Interactive, serving the commercial brands Commercial Truck Trader, Commercial Web Services, and Equipment Trader. Ethan believes in using accessible language to elevate conversations about industry topics relevant to commercial dealers and their buyers.

Leave A Comment