What Is Last-Click Attribution and Why Is It Flawed?

So you’ve been building the online presence of your business up. Tons of money and time goes into this, no problem stays unsolved. And yet, something’s still wrong.

Your advertising isn’t working like you thought it would. The numbers you’re getting back aren’t reflecting the performance of your business. What’s going wrong?

Well, if your company still uses the last-click contribution model for advertising, that’s a big factor. But what is last-click attribution, and why is it ineffective?

Ponder that no more! We’re here to tell you all the answers to these questions and more! So sit back and get comfortable, because we’re going in now!

What Is Last-Click Contribution?

Let’s clear up something first: last-click contribution and last-click attribution mean the same thing. Don’t worry, we got confused at first too.

Last-click attribution refers to a model of advertising where the “credit” for bringing a company a sale of a product is whatever ad or page was the last click that brought them there. For example, the model will differentiate if a customer finds you from search engines than if a customer clicked on a link in social media or a banner ad you had on another page.

There are other variants on the attribution process that exist, like first-click attribution. As the name suggests, this method gives the credit to the first site, ad, or point the customer used on the way to buying your product.

Another type is view-through attribution. This marks every time a potential customer sees your ad, regardless if they interact with it beyond that or not.

So why do businesses use last-click attribution? Well, the idea behind it is that this process will highlight which method is bringing you the most customers. This way, you can reorganize your marketing strategy based on the data.

In theory, this process is optimal and effective. Tons of companies use this model as their bread and butter when it comes to obtaining marketing data. But as you’ll soon see, that needs to change.

The Flaws of Last-Click Contribution

First off, research shows that the number of clicks you get and customer’s opinions of your brand is not synonymous. They don’t result in higher sales outside the Internet either. This will especially sting if your company is working on an ad campaign that emphasizes the awareness and likability of your brand.

One potential reason for this is the impersonal nature of the Internet. After all, if a customer clicks and sees your company’s page, they still don’t have the personal connection of trust (as hokey as that sounds) that would come from engaging with your business on a more direct basis.

Another flaw of last-click attribution is that it tells you what is and isn’t working, but not why that’s the case. For example, Facebook will de-prioritize your ad if the picture was not optimized for its site. So, you’d get fewer clicks from that ad, and realize that the Facebook ad isn’t working.

But if you didn’t research what about the ad was failing, then you risk making the same mistake you did before and repeating the cycle.  This to some degree is a fault of all attribution systems, but it’s worth mentioning.

The Flaws Of Last-Click Contribution 2: Electric Boogaloo

A third flaw is that giving the credit to the last click is dishonest to the process. With the immense amount of devices that access the Internet and web sites and applications that exist today, customers will bounce around a whole bunch of different places before they land on that last-click place. It also doesn’t factor in outside or real-world elements that brought a person to buy your product.

So, you won’t have an understanding of how your different types of marketing reach around the Internet and work together to bring the sale in. You’ll only have a metric of “direct” (where the customer followed a predictable pattern and got to your last-click point fast) sales to go off of, and that’s flawed data.

Plus, a majority of customers find you through branded keywords or the name of your company. But since you’re likely not leading a global juggernaut like Google or Amazon where everyone comes out of the womb knowing who they are, you need to know how they heard about you. And that’s where the strength of your marketing analysis should be.

It’s also a financial drain to chase click-happy customers. After all, if you’re using methods like banner ads on other sites to try and generate these clicks, you’re competing with hundreds of other businesses who want a piece of that action. So considering the inherent flaws in last-click contribution, it will burn through your money to even keep fighting on the battlefield of those sorts of ads.

What Alternatives Do You Have?

So if last-click contribution isn’t the way to go, what tricks can you use? Well, a hot new trend rising the ranks is cross-channel optimization. This method combines human-collected data with online metrics to provide you a glimpse into the success of your advertising landscape.

Cross-channel optimization also removes some of the weaknesses of last-click contribution. This is because the human element helps compensate for the external factors the online metrics can’t compensate for, a crippling flaw for last-click attribution.

Time-delay is another strong method for you to utilize. It looks at which ads got the best results, but gives them more credence based on how new the clicks are. That way, you aren’t confused about thinking an ad is working now when it had a lot of clicks several months ago but is dry now.

Do some research, and see which method of marketing analytics works best for you and your business!

This Is My Last-Click Resort

Congratulations! You now have definitive knowledge of last-click contribution and what flaws it has! So now what?

Well, if you want to learn more about how to optimize your online marketing to be the very best like no one ever was, check out some of the other posts on our blog!

Now get out there and make your wallets proud!