Everything you need to know about marketing attribution and marketing attribution software

Marketing attribution is the process of identifying the touchpoints that contribute to a customer’s decision to make a purchase.

Everything you need to know about marketing attribution and marketing attribution software

What is marketing attribution?

Marketing attribution is a term that has become increasingly popular in the digital marketing world over the last several decades. It refers to the process of identifying the marketing touchpoints that contribute to a customer’s decision to make a purchase. As marketing channels proliferate and ad networks balloon, attribution has become increasingly complicated and, at times, controversial. But in today’s world, getting attribution right is a critical building block in enabling a broader view of marketing ROI.

The rise of digital marketing has made it possible to track customers’ journeys across multiple touchpoints. This means that marketers can now see which channels are driving the most traffic, which campaigns are converting the most customers, and which messages are resonating with their target audience.

Marketing attribution provides data and insights that can help businesses optimize their marketing campaigns and increase their return on investment (ROI). By identifying the channels that are most effective at driving sales, businesses can focus their efforts and resources on those channels, and adjust their campaigns to improve results. 

What are the different types of marketing attribution?

There are various models used for marketing attribution, including first-touch, last-touch, and multi-touch attribution. First-touch attribution model gives credit to the channel that first introduced the customer to the brand. Last-touch marketing attribution model gives credit to the channel that the customer interacted with immediately before making a purchase. Multi-touch attribution model takes into account all the touchpoints along the customer journey. Then gives credit to each channel based on its contribution to the final sale.

While these models are useful, they don’t tell the whole story. In reality, customers are influenced by a multitude of factors beyond just the marketing channels they interact with. For example, a customer might have seen a TV commercial for a product, but ultimately made a purchase based on a recommendation from a friend or family member.

Additionally, many popular attribution models are now challenged by decaying data. Changes to technology and privacy laws are making it increasingly hard for marketers to use cookie-dependent attribution models.

Do marketing attribution models tell us everything we need to know?

To get a more accurate picture of marketing attribution, businesses need to take a holistic approach. They need to look beyond the marketing and sales channels and consider all the touchpoints that can influence a customer’s decision to buy. This might include customer reviews, social media mentions, word-of-mouth recommendations, and even offline interactions like in-store visits or phone calls.

By taking a holistic approach, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their customer’s journeys. They can then make more informed decisions about their marketing strategies and tactics. Specifically, they can identify the touchpoints that are most effective at driving sales, and optimize their campaigns to improve results.

That’s why market mix modeling exists. MMM helps marketers to take their attribution data and combine it with other data (like macroeconomic factors for example) and unravel which channels are contributing to ROI. So whilst marketing attribution is a critical part of any successful marketing strategy, getting attribution right is only one piece of the puzzle on the journey toward understanding the value delivered by marketing to a business. 

Marketing attribution software

Marketing attribution software is a type of technology or tool that helps marketers track and analyze the efficiency of their marketing efforts across various digital channels and touchpoints. It enables businesses to attribute and assign credit to specific marketing activities where customers have engaged with those activities.

Marketing attribution software typically comes as a SaaS product and integrates with multiple data sources, such as website analytics, advertising platforms, email marketing tools, CRM systems, and more. It uses advanced algorithms and methodologies to analyze the customer journey, identifying and assigning credit to the marketing touchpoints that influenced a conversion or customer action.

These software solutions offer various attribution models, such as first-touch, last-touch, linear attribution model, time-decay attribution model, and more, allowing marketers to choose the model that best suits their business goals and customer behavior. They provide visualizations, reports, and dashboards to present the attribution insights.

Marketing mix modeling vs marketing attribution – what’s the difference?

Of course, Mutinex offers marketing mix modeling via our SaaS platform, GrowthOS. Marketing mix modeling is different to marketing attribution. While both methodologies share the objective of unraveling the complex web of consumer behavior and marketing channels, they differ in their core principles and applications.

To measure marketing attribution, you focus on assigning credit to specific touchpoints along the customer journey, unraveling the influence of individual marketing elements. On the other hand, market mix modeling takes a more holistic approach by analyzing the overall marketing mix and its impact on business outcomes. Market mix modeling encompasses a wider range of factors, including pricing, promotions, distribution, and external factors, allowing for a comprehensive evaluation of marketing performance. While marketing attribution provides granular insights into the performance of individual channels, market mix modeling provides a broader perspective, facilitating strategic decision-making across the entire marketing ecosystem. Ultimately, the choice between the two methodologies depends on the organization’s objectives, available data, and the level of detail required for informed decision-making.

The table below outlines the main differences between marketing mix modeling and marketing attribution



Marketing Mix ModelingMarketing attribution
ScopeConsiders the overall marketing mix and its componentsFocuses on assigning credit to individual touchpoints
Factors analyzedIncludes pricing, promotions, distribution, and morePrimarily focuses on marketing channels and customer journey
GranularityProvides a holistic, high-level viewOffers granular insights into individual marketing elements
Data requirementsRequires historical data on various marketing factorsNeeds detailed data on customer interactions and channels
Strategic focusFacilitates strategic decision-making at a broad levelHelps optimize specific marketing channels and tactics
Level of detailOffers a comprehensive evaluation of marketing effortsProvides detailed analysis of touchpoints and conversions
Impact assessmentAssesses the combined effects of multiple variablesMeasures the effectiveness of specific marketing elements
This table outlines the main differences between the two measurement methods