TLDR: Marketing aims to invest in the campaigns and channels that offer the most significant returns. This doesn’t mean assigning credit so much as investment optimization. Discover why multi-touch attribution is vital for making those decisions.

Here’s a puzzle for you: Someone visits your website. Weeks later, a blog post shared on LinkedIn brings them back to your site, and they register for a webinar. Several emails down the line, this person becomes a customer. (Congrats 🎉)

Now, the BIG question is: What data can you take from that journey to optimize and accelerate future marketing engagements?

The prevailing view in B2B on attribution is to credit one single touchpoint for driving revenue. But we’re big advocates of multi-touch attribution because most customer journeys comprise multiple interactions with your brand. We’d love to be able to make it a ‘credit’ and ‘magic bullet’ conversation, but that’s not the reality of how customer journeys work.

What’s in this article for you? In this guide, we’ll help you explain to your team why multi-touch attribution is essential for accurately measuring campaign impact. You’ll learn the:

➡️ Types of multi-touch attribution models that allow marketers to tailor their strategies based on specific goals.

➡️ Importance of choosing relevant metrics besides cost-per-lead to help optimize campaign effectiveness.

➡️ Difference between single source and multi-touch attribution models.


Choose your attribution model

It’s important to note that single-source and multi-touch attribution methods have unique advantages and limitations.

The choice between them often depends on the specific goals and business circumstances. We outline the strengths of each below.


Single-touch attribution

What is single-touch attribution? Single-touch attribution associates pipeline and/or revenue to one touchpoint (e.g., an ad click or webinar registration) that a customer had with a brand before converting.

It helps you answer particular questions about campaign performance, for instance:

👉 First-touch attribution: Details which campaign sparked initial interest.

👉 Lead-creation attribution: Identifies which campaigns get people into your database.

👉 Last-touch attribution: Pinpoint which campaigns convert the most leads to opportunities.

Each method is effective at evaluating performance against KPIs, but no one interaction accounts for the sum of marketing activities that influence revenue.

A lead could have anywhere from 5 to 50 interactions with your company on their journey. Limiting your analysis to a single or handful of interactions means the vast majority of your activities have impacts that you’re not even measuring—and if you don’t measure it, you won’t optimize it.


Multi-touch attribution

What is multi-touch attribution? Multi-touch attribution associates pipeline and/or revenue to multiple touchpoints along the customer journey. It allows for a more nuanced understanding of how different touchpoints contribute to a conversion.


“It responds to reality because there’s no one correct answer for where to spend your budget.”


It responds to reality because there’s no one correct answer for where to spend your budget.

These models assign dollars across different touchpoints, and by doing so, the analysis leads to insights that a single factor can’t explain.

Revenue from pipeline or bookings or realized revenue are allocated based on percentages assigned with each model.

Define your motivation: Are you using these models to try to describe credit between marketing and sales, or are you trying to maximize your campaign operations? How you set up the model ultimately determines the data that comes out of it.

This means you need to set up the model to support the conversation you want to have after the fact. Whether it’s a conversation about optimizing campaigns, measuring ROI, or ascribing credit to specific teams in your organization.

Here’s a rundown of what insights some common multi-touch attribution models can tell you:

✅ U-Shaped: Allocates a larger portion of pipeline and/or revenue to the first touch and the lead creation touch and an equal allocation to all other touches.

✅ W-Shaped: Similar to U-Shaped but includes the touchpoint just before opportunity creation. All other touchpoints share the remaining allocation based on all other interactions a customer had with your brand.

✅ Full-Path: Allocates pipeline and/or revenue to all touchpoints in the customer journey. Full-path can be equally weighted or custom-weighted depending on the type and maturity of the full-path model.

✅ Sourced (or Even Weighted Up To Opportunity): Focuses on pre-opportunity creation touchpoints and equally associates pipeline and/or revenue to each touchpoint.

✅ Accelerated: Looks at post-opportunity creation at any marketing touchpoints that may have helped to close deals.

✅ Influenced: Allocates pipeline and/or revenue based on the entirety of the customer journey, including pre- and post-opportunity creation touchpoints.

✅ Time-Decay Allocates pipeline and/or revenue to all touchpoints in the customer journey, but the allocation percentage is weighted more for touchpoints closer to time of conversion and less to touchpoints that occur further away in time.

The takeaway for your marketing team: Both single- and multi-touch attribution have their place in your game plan, but multi-touch leads to various discoveries that help you double down on campaign success.


“As a marketer, you’re a revenue driver.”


As a marketer, you’re a driver of revenue. One of the most important decisions marketing makes for the business is to allocate campaign dollars to the places that give you the highest return on investment.

Your company’s invested in martech to make sense of the data, but if you’re making that call without multi-touch attribution, you’re spending in the dark.

Your marketing manager is probably focusing on cost per lead when making spending decisions.

If you pump more money into the sub-channels where you get cheaper leads and get more leads for your money. By that logic, organic SEO wins every time, then platforms with the next-lowest spend, and that’s where you’ll invest.

When you take a more gradual approach to the analysis and let lead data play out until you can calculate cost per deal.

Estimate revenue based on deal size, and you might see the picture shift.

Platforms like Google Ads and LinkedIn may be more expensive per lead but more efficient per deal, bringing in sales at much higher values than sub-channels with cheaper leads.


“Not all leads are created equal.”


This is where ROI really comes from—revenue vs spend—and it produces a different decision than if you’d focused on cost per lead. The lesson for marketing here is that not all leads are created equal. If you reduce spend based on leads, you could lose out on deals in the long run.

Multi-touch attribution takes figures from across your brand activity and tells you what’s creating deals and ROI. That lets you double down on your strategy and determine how to max out spending at multiple levels:

  • channels (e.g., social, display)
  • sub-channels (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook), and
  • tactics (e.g., whitepapers, webinars).

This is the essence of how attribution helps your marketing team succeed — from your CMO setting growth targets and strategic aims to your marketing manager running campaigns.


Drive better decisions

Multi-touch attribution connects the dots between marketing interactions and revenue, letting you accurately measure and spend on impact.

That understanding puts everyone on the same page about what campaigns really boost your bottom line, and it gives Marketing a more effective way to think about and surface value.

If you’re facing pressure to optimize right this second, just remember: this is an engine for long-term success. Take time to handle your modeling with care and collect the data you need as campaigns progress; you have more of both on your side than you think.

For any advice on succeeding with attribution, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

Contact us to start a conversation.