Single vs Multi-touch attribution

Single vs multi-touch attribution


  • Attributing conversions to the right touchpoints in marketing funnels may seem complex.
  • Adopting a multi-touch attribution outlook can offer more nuanced marketing insights.
  • MTA is one of the first decisive steps towards a dedicated omnichannel ecosystem.

Let’s talk about basketball.

The ball is passed from player A to player B; player C sets up player B to shoot an open shot. Who gets the credit for the resulting basket? 

  • Is it player A who started the move? 
  • Is it player B who finished the play? 
  • Is it player C who created the avenue for player B to score? 

Alternatively, do we consider the individual roles of each player that led to the basket being scored?

This predicament hinges on the concept of attribution. In marketing terms, this entails understanding which touch point led to a conversion.

There are two general varieties of attribution:

Single-touch attribution (STA): Where the credit of the conversion is given to a single touch point.

Multi-touch attribution (MTA): Where all touch points from top to bottom play a role in driving conversions. 

Given today’s consumerism climate and the technological ecosystem within which they operate, the choice should be clear. The reasoning behind this selection is also a focal point of an effective marketing mindset.

Single-touch attribution (STA)

Instance 1:

Going back to the basketball example, let’s look at the tentative scenario if we gave credit to players A and B individually. STA credits the conversion of your customers to single-touch points across the engagement journey.

If player A gets all the credit, that means the first movement is given all the credit. For marketers, this means that the first interaction that a customer has with their brand holds the most importance, and the channel that facilitates the exchange is given the credit for the conversion.

In this case, STA does not provide any clear information on the remainder of the customer’s interactions with the brand, even though subsequent interactions were very likely.

Instance 2:

Giving credit to player B would make more sense, as it is the last touch point before the conversion. This means that the channel that facilitates the final exchange between the brand and the customer is given all the credit for the conversion. There is still an inherent blind spot in this model, however, since it eliminates from view any of the previous interactions the customer might have had with the brand before the final conversion.

STA is a reliable way of looking at the beginning and end of a customer’s path to conversion— namely discovery and conversion. However, it creates a rather narrow view of a customer’s journey with the brand. 

The reality is that multiple touch points exist—and matter—across a customer journey, and assuming that conversions come from just a single touch point is a disservice to the omnichannel nature of customer experience that many brands have painstakingly curated.

Multi-touch attribution

Customers nowadays have multiple profiles and identities across several channels. This necessitates the creation of omnichannel communication to contextually interact with each customer across their journey. MTA gauges the individual importance of these touch points with respect to conversions.

In the basketball analogy, without the initiation by player A and the assistance by player C, player B would not have been able to make the shot. 

In marketing terms, the synergy of these touch points led to the conversion of a customer. The initial interaction, a follow-up reminder, and a timely personalized discount are just three of the many steps that helped convert the customer.

While MTA considers the role of each touch point, it assigns unique weightage to the roles they each play in facilitating the conversion, thus offering more nuanced attribution insights. A linear distribution would imply that each touchpoint has an equal importance. 

Placing a higher importance on the final touch point would mean a sequential, planned series of interactions that culminate in a strategic communication that secures the conversion.

Alongside more complex insights, MTA also offers more flexibility when it comes to aligning how much each touch point matters with the unique priorities of the brand.

Closing thoughts

While having STA will help if your customer engagement journey is short, MTA will assist your marketing efforts in a way that allows you to focus on how each touch point adds value for the customer and contributes to a multistep omnichannel path to conversion.

Are you interested in more robust attribution capabilities? Schedule a demo with our experts to learn how Resulticks can you get started.


Resulticks & the CDP Institute: Developing a Connected Experiences Vision

23 Oct, 2023

Connected Experience is hailed as the next great audience engagement paradigm, but what does it

Learn more

An I for An I: Invest in Your Customers, and They will invest in you

04 Oct, 2023

In our increasingly complex and competitive mobile world, turning product-centric banking to cus

Learn more

Bank to the Future: Join Jim Marous for a look at the future of banking

16 Jun, 2022

Banking 4.0 will eliminate physical bank branches and replace them with digitized experiences. Learn more

How not to get left on “read” Creating conversions through omnichannel conversations

13 Jun, 2022

In this session, discover why engaging banking customers in omnichannel conversations that evolv

Learn more

Redefining CX through Modern Messaging Solutions

03 Dec, 2021

Meeting new consumer needs and expectations is critical to business success. 

Learn more

Marketing with a KISS

25 Mar, 2021

Making personalized digital acquisition easy is where the future lies, but getting it right can

Learn more