Digital Marketing

Marketing Attribution Models Explained - By Hannah Fuller

A map and a laptop on a desk
Marketing Attribution Models Explained - By Hannah Fuller


Deciding which attribution model is best for your marketing efforts is a difficult, often intimidating, piece to evaluating a campaign’s success. In Sojern’s attribution guide, we break down each model to make it a little easier to digest.

As advertisers, defining your campaign’s success metric before it starts is an important step in the planning process. But, how do you know which attribution model will work best to measure it? To start, let’s consider lookback windows. 

A lookback window is the time period between a traveler’s interaction with one of your touchpoints and their final conversion, whether that be a hotel booking, flight purchase, or email signup. In online advertising, a touchpoint is a click or view of an ad. These are often analyzed through a software monitoring system, such as DoubleClick. The time frames are adjustable—they can range from one day to as long as six months. Each campaign can have a different lookback period, so it’s important to review previous campaign performance to see the average time between a traveler hitting a touchpoint and converting.

For travel, it is also important to keep in mind that these purchases tend to take longer, as opposed to retail, as travelers are researching their trip. Once the lookback window is defined, you should decide which attribution model will be the most effective.

Single Source Attribution

Single source attribution is the most common method, with nearly 35% of advertiser reportedly using this model. In a nutshell, this model looks at a single touchpoint to attribute the conversion to an advertiser. This could be last click, post view, first click, or first view. This method, however, is flawed for one major reason. Unless you have only one marketing effort, a Single Source Attribution model does not measure all of your advertising channels. For instance, say someone viewed one of your ads on different sources across various devices. With this model, your revenue will only be attributed to one of those instead of considering all of them. 

Multi-Channel Attribution

A multi-channel attribution approach becomes an important method when you are advertising across multiple channels, as well as when your campaign spend increases. With this model, you can allocate budget across multiple channels and dig deeper into campaign analytics. For instance, if you are using both a display and social media marketing approach, a multi-channel model allows you to get more granular with data. However, this method requires more time, effort, and resources to work efficiently. 

When a multi-channel attribution model becomes large, there are enhancement tools available to help you manage your approach. What’s more, they also help you to best optimize your campaign to improve attribution across channels.

Selecting which attribution model to use doesn’t have to be daunting. To get a more in-depth analysis of each model, download the full guide here.

About Hannah Fuller

Hannah is Sojern’s Content Marketing Associate. Originally from Pennsylvania, she enjoys the change of pace in the Midwest, but misses an authentic Philly Cheesesteak.

Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.