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Time to Leave Last Touch Attribution in the Dust? Answer These 4 Questions First

Mike Farrell

Retail marketers have debated the end of last touch attribution for over a decade now. In today’s omnichannel marketing world, where consumers shop across a variety of devices and channels, attributing a sale wholly to the last interaction before purchase is outdated and inefficient. That’s because you can overly emphasize low-funnel activities at the risk of neglecting efforts to fill the top of the funnel.

The customer journey has grown increasingly complex, so optimizing for a single action or channel ignores a much bigger picture of how consumers engage with a retailer’s brand messaging on the way to purchase.

The days of last touch attribution may be numbered. Here’s what retail marketers need to consider before making the switch to a multi-touch model.

A customer, for example, may discover a new product on Pinterest, rediscover that product through display ad retargeting, research the product via Amazon, and finally make the purchase after receiving a promotional email. This journey can occur across desktop, mobile and voice assistants. Valuing only the last touch, the email click ignores the very important role each marketing activity had in driving the sale and limits marketers’ ability to develop greater cross-channel cohesion.

While many marketers recognize the omnichannel nature of online retail and the limitations of last touch, few have made the switch to a more accurate, multi-touch attribution model.

The reasons for this are varied. Changing marketing attribution can be time-consuming and requires lockstep collaboration across departments. Gaining buy-in from executives can also prove challenging because it is difficult to quantify the revenue and ROI payoff.

Despite these challenges and marketers’ inertia when it comes to last touch attribution, the time is now to audit your attribution model.