What is Last Click Attribution?
Last click attribution is an advertising measurement analytics model used by advertisers to quantify the success of their campaigns. It focuses on identifying what final touchpoint a lead interacts with prior to converting, with the goal of better understanding which advertising channels have the largest influence in the buyer’s journey.
Under the last click attribution model, 100% of the credit for a conversion or sale is attributed to the touchpoint last clicked by the user. It’s assumed that this specific touchpoint is what caused the lead to convert, and that other channels along the way had no influence.
Steve is in the market for a specific product for his business. He notices a display ad from your company promoting that very item and clicks through to view its website. After a couple minutes of browsing Steve decides he’s unsure about moving forward with a purchase of the item and closes the window.
A couple of days later, Steve does a quick internet search of your company and once again looks at its website. He reads about features, specs and pricing but decides that the time isn’t right for him to buy and closes the window.
A week down the line, Steve comes across a helpful article written by your company. At the bottom of the piece of content, he notices a mention of the specific product he’s been considering with a link to try a free demo. He clicks through the link, tries the demo and decides to actually buy.
In this example, credit for conversion of the sale would be attributed to the free demo, as it was the last marketing touchpoint Steve interacted with prior to making a purchase. Other channels he encountered along the way – such as the display ad, organic search or article – would not receive credit.
The main reason marketers use last click attribution is its overall simplicity. By narrowing conversions down to the touchpoint most directly related to a purchase, they’re able to get a reasonably good sense of what channels in their strategy are and are not working.
What’s the challenge with Last Click Attribution?
While last click attribution can be helpful in many ways, it isn’t without its disadvantages. There are several challenges associated with the model, including the following.
Limited Visibility Into Holistic Buyer Journey
Some argue that by only crediting last touchpoints for conversions, the last click attribution model presents an incomplete view of the buyer journey. It narrows a sale down to its final contact
and negates the other marketing channels that potentially had an influence over the customer.
For example, in the scenario we outlined above, Steve passed many touchpoints (display ads, organic search, etc.) before finally going in on a purchase. What’s to say that the demo is the only thing that convinced him to buy? Would his lead have converted if not for the other contacts in the journey?
Another concern having to do with last click attribution is the potential the model has to mislead marketers through analytics. By focusing only on what last touchpoints make a sale, an advertiser may inadvertently ignore other aspects of their strategy that are actually working.
For example, in the scenario above if Steve had not noticed the display ad from your company, he may never have gone down the path of searching for your company and eventually finding the helpful article.
Last Click Attribution Alternatives
If you’re not completely sold on last click attribution, there are some alternatives to consider.
Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA)
Multi touch attribution is a marketing measurement model that considers multiple touchpoints along the buyer journey. Unlike last click attribution, which only considers the final contact before conversion, multi touch attribution looks at a variety of interactions and weights them accordingly.
Single-touch attribution is similar to last click attribution in the way that it assigns 100% of the credit for a conversion to a single contact. The main difference is that it can do this for any phase of the buyer’s journey – including first touch, last touch or even middle-of-the-funnel – rather than just the final one.