Adzooma Marketplace

Find the Digital Agency that best suits you

Find the Digital Agency that best suits you

Adzooma Marketplace is where over 50,000 businesses & agencies come together to find their perfect digital marketing partner.

Visit Adzooma Marketplace

Last-Click Attribution: Why You’re Leaving Money On The Table

September 5, 2023
Daisy Lewis
written by Daisy Lewis
Feature image of someone clicking on a mouse

Discover how last-click attribution impacts your marketing ROI. Learn how to optimise your attribution model and generate more revenue at Adzooma.

Are you confident that your marketing efforts are truly paying off? Have you considered whether the way you measure success is giving you an accurate picture? If not, Adzooma can help.

Today, we’re exploring the concept of last-click attribution, its limitations, and alternative models that can give you a more comprehensive understanding of your marketing performance. If you’ve been relying solely on last-click attribution, it’s possible that you’re missing out on valuable insights and leaving money on the table without even realising it. 

What Is Last-Click Attribution?

At its core, last-click attribution is a widely adopted attribution model in digital marketing that assigns full credit for a conversion or sale to the last interaction a customer had with a website before making a purchase. In simpler terms, it gives all the credit to the final touchpoint, often disregarding the impact of previous touchpoints on the customer’s decision-making process.

The reasoning behind last-click attribution is straightforward; it assumes that the last touchpoint is the most critical in influencing a customer’s conversion. Therefore, marketers believe they can accurately measure and optimise their marketing efforts by focusing solely on the final interaction.

The Drawbacks of Last-Click Attribution

While last-click attribution may seem easy to implement and understand, it has several significant drawbacks that can lead to a distorted view of your marketing performance. One of the major downsides of last-click attribution is its failure to consider the entire customer journey. The model disregards the impact of previous touchpoints that played essential roles in the customer’s decision-making process, so you’re left with an incomplete perspective on the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

A computer screen with a hand cursor

Description automatically generated

In addition, last-click attribution overlooks the importance of assisting touchpoints. These touchpoints contribute indirectly to the customer’s conversion by creating awareness, building interest, and establishing trust. If you give credit only to the last touchpoint, you miss the opportunity to evaluate and optimise the value of those assisting touchpoints effectively.

Last-click attribution also tends to favour shorter conversion paths where customers quickly make a purchase after interacting with only a few touchpoints. This bias can lead to misleading conclusions, particularly in complex purchasing scenarios that involve multiple touchpoints over an extended period. 

Alternatives to Last-Click Attribution

Acknowledging the limitations of last-click attribution, digital marketers have developed alternative attribution models that provide a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of marketing performance. Let’s explore some of these alternatives:

First-Click Attribution

First-click attribution attributes the conversion or sale solely to the initial touchpoint of the customer journey. This option helps you understand how customers discover and engage with your brand or product.

Position-Based Attribution

Position-based attribution distributes credit to both the first and last touchpoints. It acknowledges the significance of these touchpoints in the customer journey and assigns a percentage of credit to each. The remaining credit is proportionally allocated to the assisting touchpoints. This model provides a balanced view of attribution.

A person sitting at a desk using a computer

Description automatically generated

Linear Attribution

In contrast to the last-click model, linear attribution assigns equal credit to all touchpoints along the customer journey. This allows you to recognise the contribution of each interaction in the conversion process. Linear attribution is particularly suitable when all touchpoints play similar roles in driving conversions.

Data-Driven Attribution

Data-driven attribution takes advantage of advanced machine learning algorithms and statistical models to analyse historical data and assign credit to each touchpoint based on its actual impact on conversions. By considering various factors like interaction frequency, recency, and context, this model provides a more accurate understanding of the customer journey and the true effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Which Attribution Model Should You Choose?

Choosing the right attribution model for your business requires careful consideration of your goals, marketing strategy, and understanding of the customer journey. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Each model has its strengths and weaknesses. Here are some factors to consider when selecting an attribution model:

  • The Complexity of the Customer Journey. If your customers typically engage with multiple touchpoints before converting, last-click attribution may not provide an accurate representation of their journey. In such cases, models like position-based attribution or data-driven attribution can offer more comprehensive insights into how various touchpoints contribute to conversions.
  • Impact of Initial Touchpoints. If your marketing efforts heavily rely on creating awareness and driving initial engagement, first-click attribution could be a suitable choice. It recognises the touchpoints that capture customers’ attention and spark their interest as the most influential factors in driving conversions.
  • Marketing Optimisation Focus. Different attribution models emphasise different aspects of marketing optimisation. If you’re primarily interested in optimising the performance of the final touchpoint, last-click attribution may still be relevant to your approach. However, if you aim to optimise the entire customer journey, models like data-driven attribution can provide detailed insights into the impact of each touchpoint, allowing you to make more informed decisions.
A person typing on a computer

Description automatically generated

While last-click attribution is a popular and straightforward model, it falls short when providing a complete picture of your marketing performance. You should explore alternative attribution models like first-click attribution, position-based attribution, linear attribution, and data-driven attribution to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. As mentioned, ultimately, selecting the right attribution model depends on your unique business goals, marketing strategy, and the complexity of your customer journey. So, don’t settle for leaving money on the table with last-click attribution. Embrace a more holistic approach to attribution and unlock the full potential of your marketing campaigns.To learn more marketing tips and get the latest industry updates, head over to our blog. Alternatively, you can always get in touch with our helpful team; we’re always more than happy to help.

All the tools you need to make paid advertising faster & more effective

  • Optimise performance and boost ROI
  • Automate routine tasks and save time
  • Manage multiple accounts from one place
  • Request features via the feedback portal
  • Run reports that showcase your results


Jonny C.

“Having used other tools previously (Wordstream & Optmyzr) I can say that Adzooma is far better value and actually helps you to deliver so much more for your accounts.”

Tatsat S.

“Amazing tool, the functionalities are excellent and it saves lots of time in maintaining multiple ad accounts. Looking forward to making this my go-to ad management tool.”