Most organizations believe the products and services they offer their customers are well received and warrant repeat purchases. As common as this sentiment is, it’s not as simple as that.

A key ingredient of repeat purchases is the level of engagement brands have with their customers and target audience. To ensure robust engagements, and therefore a greater chance of repeat purchases, organizations must utilize attribution to assess how well their engagements lead to buying decisions.

The importance of engagement

Engagement is the glue that keeps customers around once they’ve made their initial purchase. This notion is true for eCommerce companies, car dealerships, and restaurants. Members of your target audience have too many choices these days, and those options will continue to grow. Engagement keeps your brand top of mind when your customer prepares to make another purchase.

The old saying of “out of sight, out of mind” is very true for commerce. If you’re not continuously reminding your customers and your target audience how wonderful you are, how much value you bring to their lives, and why your brand is the only choice that makes sense, they will go elsewhere.

The details of attribution

To further engagement, organizations must understand and incorporate the practice of attribution. Attribution, and the attribution models used to leverage this practice, provides insight into how well your organization engages its audience. Furthermore, attribution illustrates which engagements lead to customers making a buying decision in your favor.

There are several attribution models brands can use to determine and measure the effectiveness of their audience engagements. Some models measure a single engagement while others measure multiple engagements.

Single-touch vs. multi-touch attribution models

Attribution models generally come in two versions: a single-touch model and a multi-touch model. Each version offers two or more model types. The key for you is to determine which approach is best for your brand and the marketing approach.


First-click model

Giving 100% of the credit to the first interaction a customer has with your brand during the buying journey represents the first-click model. This approach is ideal for straightforward eCommerce purchases and provides some insight into those engagements that drew prospects to the top portion of the sales funnel.

Last-click model

The last-click model gives 100% of the credit to the final engagement in the buying journey. This approach provides insight into the last interaction a customer has with your brand before being converted.


U-shaped model.

With the U-shaped multi-touch model, more credit is given to the initial and final engagements evenly. No matter how many there are, the remaining engagements receive credit that is divided equally among them. With this model, the first and final engagements are seen as very important and warrant more marketing budget resources.

W-shaped model.

Like the U-shaped model, the W-shaped multi-touch attribution model highlights three touchpoints instead of two. The three touchpoints receive 30% each of the credit for the sale, representing a total of 90%. The three engagements represent the first touch, the lead creation touch, and the opportunity creation touch. The remaining 10% of the credit is divided equally among any remaining touchpoints.

The Linear model.

The linear multi-touch attribution model assigns equal weight to all engagements during the buying journey. Every touchpoint earns equal credit for the sale. Organizations that find it challenging to give more credit to one engagement over others find the linear model useful. This model also works well with brand campaigns and those that are not focused on a sale.

The Time Decay model.

This model gives more credit to those engagements that are closer to the final sale. The approach works well for brands that initiate campaigns designed to engage prospects in more meaningful ways toward the end of the buying journey (i.e., product demo) rather than at the beginning (i.e., website visit).

Custom/data-driven model.

The custom multi-touch attribution model assigns significant credit to specific engagements throughout the buying journey. This approach enables marketers to implement any formula that works best for their organization’s unique situation. This may include marketing campaigns and customer engagements that facilitate lengthy or unconventional buying journeys where interactions occur at points that don’t fit any preconfigured model.

Algorithmic model

Rather than give sales credit to engagements using a preconfigured model, the algorithmic attribution model features a machine learning-based algorithm. While this can be similar to the custom/data-driven model, it is unique to the organizations implementing it. The algorithm maps customer buying journeys and gives credit based on ever-changing data. LeadsRx offers details of the algorithmic multi-touch attribution model.

Why attribution and engagement go hand in hand

Engagement and attribution work well together because both concepts focus on how prospects and customers interact with your brand. While engagement is the desired result, attribution is the tool that can help shed light on how to engage your prospects. When used together effectively, engagement and attribution can result in significant increases in ROI and improvements to your brand’s bottom line.

About the Author: Over the last decade, Lucas 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.