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It’s no surprise that attribution models are a popular topic of discussion among B2B marketers. The model that a marketing team chooses affects how they assess their campaigns, report their results, and show their contribution to their organization’s bottom line.

What types of models are the most popular? Which models tend to show the best results? Do results really differ enough between models to make a difference? Original data from the 2017 State of Pipeline Marketing survey can help shed some light on the answers to these questions.


Types of attribution models: single-touch and multi-touch

Single-touch attribution models attribute all revenue credit for a sale, deal, or customer to a single touchpoint along the buying journey. Multi-touch attribution models divide the credit between multiple touchpoints throughout a sales cycle.

According to the 2017 State of Pipeline Marketing Survey, 41.1% of respondents use single-touch models while 28.8% use multi-touch models.

Types of single-touch and multi-touch models:

There are three types of single-touch models and three types of multi-touch models. The chart below shows the popularity of each model. Take a look at this article for an explanation of all 11 attribution models (including these six).

Single-touch models:

  • First-touch (FT)
  • Lead-creation (LC)
  • Opportunity-creation (OC)

Multi-touch models: 

  • Linear
  • Weighted
  • Custom
  • SOPM-single-multi-attribution-model

    Why do B2B marketers choose these attribution models? 

    There are four main reasons why marketers would choose the models that they do. The best reason is that they believe the model accurately gives revenue credit to marketing activities. Secondly, the model could be the default option in their system. Third, it may be easy to setup, or fourth, it might be easy to optimize. Here’s how all those reasons stack up.

  • SOPM-primary-reason-attribution-model.

    These results span all B2B marketing attribution users. However, if you were to just ask multi-touch attribution users this question, 67.5% of them would say that they chose their model because it accurately gives revenue credit to marketing activities.

    -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

    67.5% of multi-touch attribution users choose
    their model because it gives accurate revenue 
    credit to their marketing activities.

    -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 

    Measuring marketing performance: single-touch vs. multi-touch

    State of Pipeline Marketing survey respondents were asked to rate their organization’s level of effectiveness (on a scale of 1-5) when measuring marketing performance. There is quite a difference in responses between single-touch users and multi-touch users -- the data speaks for itself.

  • SOPM-measure-marketing-performance

    Because multi-touch attribution spreads the revenue credit across more marketing touchpoints, it gives marketers a more accurate assessment of which campaigns and activities are contributing to revenue, and by how much.

    To further compare the effects of single-touch and multi-touch models, we ran statistics comparing single-touch and multi-touch users’ rates of ROI across their marketing orgs.

    Average Mmarketing ROI: single-touch vs. multi-touch

  • SOPM-current-ROI-marketing

    On average, marketers who use multi-touch attribution models are more likely to generate higher levels of ROI from their marketing orgs. For example, 32.9% of multi-touch users generate more than 2x ROI from their marketing activities compared to 21.1% of single-touch users.

    But the question still remains -- do multi-touch vs. single-touch attribution users come up with different end results from the assessment of their marketing campaigns? It seems they do. Below is a chart showing the “top revenue channels” as reported by single-touch and multi-touch users.

  • SOPM-top-marketing-channels

    Multi-touch attribution users reported two top revenue channels (conferences / trade shows & outbound calling) that don’t appear in the top five revenue channels for single-touch users.

    Email marketing and paid search are top revenue channels for single-touch marketers, but they aren’t included in the top five revenue channels for multi-touch marketers.

    While we probably shouldn’t go as far as to say that outbound calling and conferences/events are inherently better revenue channels than the others, the data does show that single-touch and multi-touch models do show different results when helping to determine which channels generate the most revenue for their organizations. 

    At the end of the day, we can see that simply having an attribution solution isn’t enough. The more advanced the solution, the more capable and effective it is at creating a transparent view of a buyer’s journey. Multi-touch attribution models have proven to be an invaluable asset to B2B marketers.