Attribution models are great, but the real question is what are you going to do with them? In this post I will share Attribution Tips employed by successful companies. And I promise that you will not shed a tear waving goodbye to last-click tracking after reading this article.


Education is one of the most important steps you will take when you begin to look at your attribution implementation methodology. Understanding when and how to utilize attribution logic lets you optimize your customer experience and marketing tactics.

For example, imagine the paid search department seeing their cost-per-order increase because it wasn’t actually the last action before placing an order by the customer. Then imagine the display department cheering because they are receiving more credit for helping the conversion prior to the last click.

  • Attribution tip: This type of disruption across all departments is not something easy to immediately comprehend. Really successful companies educate their departments on what they can expect to see before they even look at the numbers. Attribution models will help you, but don’t expect their implementation to be easy or serve as a golden ticket to resolve all of your problems.
  • Attribution tip: Convey to all departments that they need to work more closely together with attribution to improve the overall ROI across all channels.

It’s interesting to see teams working together to push the overall ROI.  Typically each channel works in silos and less as a group looking to optimize one of the most important metrics…the overall ROI. The example below outlines the overall ROI as $8.10 for all the channels.  This number should be shared across all teams to get them to improve that return.

  • Attribution tip: Users can monitor multiple screens and preform actions that are not tracked in an attribution model. Some clients do have the capability to track known customers across screens but it is different for each implementation. The Unified Customer Process in Adobe Insight has the keys to unlock this complex issue.



Deduplication is the removing of duplicate events and visits from analytic reporting. If you have multiple tracking systems and multiple sources, Insight will help you “deduplicate” those leads in their attribution models.

Consider, you have 100 Orders but there are really only 80 unique orders because you employ two tracking systems.  If you clicked on both ads and then converted, each would get credit because those systems don’t communicate with each other. This issue alone is extremely helpful to look at by your marketing department to see what is really happening.

  • Attribution tip: Look at a month’s worth of data and define each of the channels included.  Who performs the real last click or view? How does that compare to all of the silo reports that you get from each department? What is their true cost per lead and/or order?


My two favorite attribution models are the Starter/Players/Closer model and the Even model.

In the following examples, I will focus specifically on Starter/Players/Closer. If you are not familiar with the Starter/Players/Closer model, here is a high-level explanation:

For the Starter/Players/Closer attribution model: The Starter (initiating) touch receives a set percent of credit for the conversion, the Closer (last) touch receives a set percentage of credit for the conversion, and the remaining Player touches each receive an equal share of the remaining credit for the conversion. See the Advanced Web-Store Attribution in Insight blog from Michael Halbrook.

The Even attribution model accomplishes the same but applies an even percentage breakout of revenue and orders. Typically the Starter will get 30%, Players gets 30% and Closer will get 40%.

This attribution can be a dream come true for large organizations who struggle to understand how to break out revenue. If you do not like the subjectivity of assigning a percentage, then you can simply change to the Even attribution model.


  • Attribution tip: Look to see how each of your channels fall into Starter/Players/ Closer with relation to orders.  Typically you will see that Banner view/clicks have more revenue on starter/player than a Closer.  Typically, the SEO/Paid search will usually have more revenue toward Closer because they usually get last-click revenue.
    • In my mind, you will want to make sure that Closers have a large enough budget to fully run and close the deal. Players are important because they contribute to the final closed transaction. Starters will begin the conversation and get visitors interested to buy.
      If an organization wants to drive more revenue, they can take a look at those Starter channels and increase funding.  For example, when planning your banner buy, can you examine what is the SOV on that site? Is there room to grow and target more of those users? It may not be a direct correlation, but this can be an interesting way to determine where to spend your budget.
    • Attribution tip: Now that you have deduplicated the leads, what is the ROAS per department with SPC percent weights in place? What is your ROAS for Even attribution revenue? You can adjust and optimize your marketing budget to areas that drive success and lower the areas that are pulling down the total ROAS.
    • Attribution tip: Predictive marketing can also help you figure out the value of those weights.  If you decide to go down this route, Adobe has a team that is strictly dedicated to predictive marketing.
      My colleague Trevor Paulsen talks about predictive marketing in his blog post Attribution Modeling- It’s Like Ultimate Frisbee.


Attribution is great, but what if I have different customers buying different products. Do you think a person buying a lawnmower has the similar marketing touch points as someone buying a crib? Insight allows you to create custom filters to analyze at a category level.

Let’s layer this onto the attribution models…wow this is getting exciting!

  • Attribution tip: Look at your lines of business and see how the behavior of the customer changes by category type. Consider how you will spend your marketing funds in relation to the product categories. What would you do if the CEO told you to sell more lawnmowers tomorrow? If you are going to sell more lawnmowers you need to take a detailed analysis on that segment type and see if you can push harder on those channels that work to drive revenue volume.

I know my mom very well. When she wants to visit a specific website she goes to Google and types in the actual URL in the search box. It’s just adorable. But ask yourself: Who should get the revenue associated with her purchase later in that visit?

  • Attribution tip: Adobe Insight allows you to put that revenue toward Direct instead of SEO. This type of logic can be put into Insight as a conditional statement to do that type of revenue distribution. This alteration is done in the marketing channels configuration with simple logic rules and order. This is an open box so you can feel free to define them to meet your specific business needs. Other companies that do attribution are very cumbersome and provide only forward looking attribution.  Insight allows you to adjust attributes at any time and can reflect upon its historical data.


Most companies will take a look at the ROI when they incorporate variable costs. That’s great, but they may be underestimating some expenses: your salary, technology fees, agency management fees, and a whole mess of other costs. Obviously some of this information can be aggregated and shared with a limited amount of people to defray costs across the organization, but it is still a significant issue.

There is also a very subjective way to share the total cost of Analytic software based on each customer’s varying approach to organizational goals.

  • Attribution tip: If you want to hire more people into a specific channel, does the ROI justify it? To find out, layer on Starter/Players/Closer and Even models to see how well each department is really performing. Organic growth might have the most compelling marketing ROI, but with a closer look, Paid Search may have the actual strongest ROI based on reported metrics. Consequently, the CXO may realize that the Organic channel is not producing the best ROI after you factor in the hard cost to get a Company ROI. If he had the option to invest more in Organic or Paid Search, you can be sure the investment will be made in Paid Search after defining its real value.

I come from the Agency and Client side which makes me appreciate attribution a lot more than most. I understand that the last click models have held a lot of large companies back from truly understanding their data and tracking revenue for each of their marketing channel.

Attribution is a significant implementation and investment issue that determines ongoing tracking and sales goals. If you want to learn more about Attribution Models, reach out to someone at Adobe. We are here to help you customize your Adobe implementation based on your specific needs!


Ryan Green