Why multi-touch attribution is critical to calculate marketing ROI

Marketing   |   
Published July 11, 2016   |   

Datalicious analyzed 702 million media touch points across 104 million purchase paths and 75 thousand conversions across 5 months and 7 brands using multi- touch attribution approach.

The objective of this study is to understand how key marketing channels performed when a multi-touch attribution model is applied. The results challenge the last-click attribution model in which the entire credit is given to the last channel before the purchase.

Now, let’s take a look at the 3 key findings from the report, Media attribution: Optimising digital marketing spend in financial services, produced by Datalicious and Facebook.

Display advertising is undervalued in a last-click attribution model

From last click to multi touch attribution

In the last-click attribution model, most of the conversion credits are usually attributed to search, as it is the most common customer touch point before purchasing a financial product online.

Whereas, in reality, there are other channels than just search that contribute to the final conversion.

For instance, channels like display advertising which helps create brand awareness gets less credit as it doesn’t contribute to the final conversion.

Both the display advertising and Facebook were undervalued in the last-touch attribution model.

On the other hand, using multi-touch attribution model, the revenue credited to display advertising and Facebook increased by an average of 835%. Also, display retargeting showed up an even better performance of 2371%.

Facebook and display advertising boost searches and conversions

According to the study, the more ad impressions consumers are exposed to without leading to clicks through both display and Facebook, the more likely they are to convert. We found an uplift in the conversion rate of over 7 times for both channels.

Conversion rate uplift

Also, display ads lead to 9 times more search responses than clicks alone.

Actioning multi-touch attribution insights improves overall ROAS

There is a huge untapped potential for advertisers to improve ROAS across all channels, using multi-touch attribution model.

actioning multi-touch attributionuch

The study shows that Facebook advertising has significant growth potential when compared to other channels as it provides more average ROAS yet comparatively does not receive a lot of media spend.

Display retargeting is extremely effective when consumers have shown the intent to purchase.

Whereas, in the end, it is all about achieving the right channel mix and multi-touch attribution helps to identify the value of different channels that contribute to the final conversion.


The study not only gives considerable insight into the true performance of digital advertising channels for financial service organisations but also provides a basis for renewed thinking regarding digital strategy and media planning.