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Why you should be looking beyond last-click attribution

Posted on 4th April, 2018 by gregdoyle

Google Ads

First off let’s just start by defining what last-click attribution is. Simply put, last-click attribution gives all of the credit for a conversion to the last channel or source that was used prior to the conversion. For years this has been the default and go to model for assigning conversions and it is used in both Google Ads and Google Analytics. But, is there a better model that you should be using?

One of the most common failings of the last-click attribution model is that it can place too much weight and value on the last channel in the model. But in a multi-channel, cross-device world, the last-click model begins to seem out of touch with the user journey. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the other attribution models that you should be using and when.


Unlike a last-click attribution model, the first-click model gives all of the credit to the first channel or source that was used in the user’s conversion journey. This model can be extremely useful for those looking to find which of their campaigns and channels is the most effective at introducing new customers to your business.


The linear attribution model assigns weight equally to all channels that have been involved in a conversion. So, if someone clicks on a Facebook advert, then clicks on an email link, before finally converting through an organic search, all of these steps will be treated as equally important to the conversion. This model is great for seeing the whole mix of channels and sources that are involved in your conversions.

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Time-decay is similar to a linear model with the main difference being that more value is placed on channels that are closer to the point of conversion as these are seen as playing a bigger part in the conversion journey. For those with a long sales process, a time-decay model can help you identify which of your campaigns or marketing channels are helping push customers to purchase.


The default position-based attribution model gives the most weight to the first and last interactions of the conversion journey. Platforms such as Google Analytics do allow you to create your own models and adjust the percentages for the different positions. This model can help you understand which campaigns are bringing in new customers and which are then converting them.

All of the above attribution models can help you get a better understanding of your marketing and how your different campaigns and channels are working together to convert your customers. Using a mix of different models will help give you better insights and help you make more informed decisions to improve your marketing.

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Google attribution

If you believe the hype then Google attribution could offer a way to help advertisers measure the exact impact of their campaigns across multiple channels and devices. Along with Google attribution is their data-driven model which uses machine learning to look at all converting and non-converting paths to help assign the proper credit to the right channel.

Data-attribution offers a better way for Ads advertisers to measure conversions and is now available for advertisers everywhere. The model looks at a number of factors before attributing the conversion such as number of ad interactions, order of exposure, ad creative, click, and keyword data.

If you’ve not yet tried data-attribution then we’d recommend you do as it should help revolutionise how your conversions are measured and help you better understand which of your campaigns is adding the most value for your business.

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