When you’re marketing your products or services online, you want an easy way to be able to tell what’s working and what doesn’t work.

Your job is to make sure that your marketing dollars are spent wisely. About 93% of CMOs are under pressure to show ROI, but it can be difficult to track.

Last click attribution seemed like a heaven-sent form of tracking because marketers found a way to directly tie marketing efforts with revenue. The issue here is that last click attribution has some serious flaws.

Read on to discover what last click attribution is and why it doesn’t give you the big picture to track ROI.

What Is Last Click Attribution?

Last click attribution is a way that allows digital marketers to determine what the last action a customer took before they made a purchase.

Last click attribution makes sense because you’re dealing with proving ROI and trying to determine what’s working and what’s not in your marketing efforts.

If you’re tracking conversions on your site, you may see that someone came to your site through an email and made a purchase. Since you think that since the email was the driver of the conversion, you may be more inclined to invest more in email marketing.

While that seems very simple there’s a lot that’s missing from that picture.

What’s Wrong with Last Click Attribution?

On the surface, last click attribution seems pretty amazing. You can tell which action drove the sale, which makes you more inclined to invest in that last action.

There’s something essential missing from that theory. You’re assuming that nothing else led up to that action.

Take the example above. If someone made a purchase from your email list, that’s great. You want to dig deeper into how they got onto your email list to begin with.

That’s what last click attribution is missing. You don’t get the big picture, which means that you could be cutting out valuable tactics from your marketing budget and not even realize it until it’s too late.

What Happens Before the Last Click?

The main reason why last click attribution is flawed is that it doesn’t take into account how buyers find out about you.

It also doesn’t track anything leading up to that click. It only tracks the last click before someone purchases.

The reality is that when buyers make a purchase, they very rarely visit your site once and make a purchase. Only about 8% of people are ready to buy when they first visit your website.

So you may have somewhat reliable information for 8% of your buyers, but you’re missing a wealth of information for the other 92%.

The Buyer’s Journey

Here’s what a buyer’s journey looks like so you can tell why last click attribution doesn’t give you the whole picture.

In marketing, there are various models of the buyers’ journey. One of the most common ones is called AIDA – Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.

Way before someone becomes a customer, they have to become aware of you. This awareness may be through a Facebook ad or through a blog post found in search engines. At this stage, they’re looking for information, and they don’t have a need for your services.

In the near future, they may have an interest in your product or service. For example, let’s say that you sell shoes. A person may not have a need to buy new shoes, but they notice the soles are starting to wear down. They’re thinking about their options and may start to look at sites selling shoes.

Fast forward to desire. At this point, the person’s running shoes are starting to fall apart. They need new shoes and they know that you sell them because they saw your social media posts or ads. They start to research the different products on your site, and they could sign up to your email list for a discount or for more information about your brand.

Now they’re ready to take action. They already did the research, they visited your site several times, researched the shoes that they want to see and they made the purchase.

As you can see, there are a lot of steps in this journey. When you’re only using last-click attribution, you’re missing out on what bring people to your brand to begin with and why they kept returning before they made a purchase.

What You Should Measure Instead

How do you measure marketing success? There are several different attribution models that you can use to determine ROI.

The most important thing that you do is to use your analytics that corresponds to various steps in the customer’s journey. That’s the only way you’re going to get a complete picture of your marketing efforts.

Google Analytics offers several different attribution models. You can use first click attribution so you can see the first action that someone took to get to your site. Similar to the flaws in last click attribution, you’re missing out on a major part of the journey.

You need to make sure that you’re using an attribution model that credits the various steps of the customer journey.

Take Control of Your Marketing Efforts

When you’re analyzing your marketing efforts, you want to be able to easily tell which initiatives are driving results. You want to be able to answer one simple question: “Where is the best use of my marketing dollars?”

Even the most seemingly accurate methods of tracking what drives sales can be deeply flawed. Last click attribution is flawed because it only gives you the final click before purchase. You’re missing out on valuable information leading up to that last click.

Instead, you want to use a tracking method that gives you a better picture by tracking the steps along the customer’s journey.

Marketing Milk gives your team the critical data you need at each step of the customer’s journey so you can easily track what’s working. Find out more about Marketing Milk today.