July 19, 2016 / by Katie Gaab

Almost all communication and PR professionals measure their efforts, but more than half believe they lack the knowledge needed to attribute the results back to the bottom line. Why?

Public relations is not simple, and too many fail to unite with other departments, base their measurement on another brand’s goals and often follow a single-touch model. The result? They lack the data needed to provide an in-depth, accurate look at their efforts from start to finish.

To gain measurement confidence, outrun competitors and improve future efforts, communicators must set up a multi-touch attribution model. The following are just three of the many types of multi-touch attribution models available to communication and PR professionals.

Linear Model

In the linear model, all campaigns receive equal credit for a conversion. Considering a prospect typically makes between six and eight touches before deciding to buy, this model can be helpful in determining which touch has the most impact.

For example, if a customer interacted with a social ad, clicked on an email, signed up for a webinar and attended an event before signing on with your brand, all four of those actions would receive 25 percent of the credit for the resulting purchase.

If you’re new to multi-touch attribution measurement, start with this model. Doing so will provide a good look at which campaigns result in more conversions.

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Time Decay Model

In this example, timing is everything. The last campaign before a purchase receives the most credit and those preceding receive less and less credit the further they are from the decision-making moment.

Going off of the example above, the event might receive 40 percent of the credit, the webinar 30 percent, the email 20 percent and the social ad 10 percent. Of course, these numbers would shift depending on the number of touches and the timing of each.

If you’re testing out the order of your campaigns, or working with a very short sales cycle, the time decay model would help determine if you’re meeting your goals. Of course, other external, unseen variables such as time of year, economic factors and word-of-mouth recommendations, must be considered.

Position Model


This multi-touch attribution model is also known as the U-shaped model. The first and last touches are typically given 40 percent each. The remaining 20 percent is divvied up among the remaining middle interactions.

In the above example, the event and social ad would receive the most credit, whereas the email and webinar would receive 10 percent each.

This model is best for driving awareness or measuring a longer sales cycle. It assigns the most credit to those campaigns which introduced a prospect to the brand and then drove her to take the final action.


Images via Pixabay: 1, 2

Tags : measurement

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About Katie Gaab

Katie Gaab is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Previously the senior editor for Help A Reporter Out (HARO), she enjoys connecting audiences to exciting, new content. She's a dancer, avid concert-goer, foreign language nerd and book worm. Find her on Twitter @kathryngaab.