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When and How to Use Position-Based Attribution Model in Marketing

Burooj Alam
Reading Time: 5 minutes
position-based attribution marketing EasyInsights

In the complex world of digital marketing, accurately attributing conversions to various interactions is crucial for optimizing campaigns and enhancing ROI. The Position-Based Attribution Model offers a balanced approach by giving more credit to the first and last interactions while distributing the remaining credit across the intermediate interactions.

While its emphasis on these interactions provides valuable insights, it’s important to recognize its limitations and use it alongside other models for a more comprehensive view. Marketers can better allocate resources, optimize campaigns, and ultimately drive more effective marketing solutions by understanding when and how to apply the Position-Based Attribution Model.

What is the Position-Based Attribution Model?

The Position-Based Attribution Model, also known as the U-shaped attribution Model, is a method used in digital marketing to assign credit for conversions to various marketing interactions. This model emphasizes the importance of both the initial and final interactions in the customer journey, while also acknowledging the contribution of intermediate interactions.  Typically, 40% of the credit goes to the first interaction, which initiates the customer journey, and 40% to the last interaction, which leads to the conversion. The remaining 20% of the credit is distributed equally among the intermediate interactions. 

credit division in position attribution marketing

Example:

Let’s look at a customer’s journey:

  • First Interaction: The customer discovers your product through a Google search ad.
  • Intermediate interaction: The customer then visits your website, subscribes to your newsletter, and reads a few blog posts over the next few days.
  • Final Interaction: The customer receives an email with a special offer and makes a purchase.

Position-Based Attribution Model Credit Distribution:

  • 40% of the credit goes to the Google search ad (first interaction).
  • 40% goes to the email with the special offer (last interaction).
  • The remaining 20% is divided equally among the website visits, newsletter subscriptions, and blog post reads (intermediate interactions).

Advantages of the Position-Based Attribution Model for Marketers

The position-based attribution model offers several advantages for marketers, especially when it comes to understanding the complete customer journey and giving credit to crucial touchpoints. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Balanced Insight: Provides a comprehensive view of the customer journey by giving significant credit to both the first and last interactions, which are crucial for initiating and completing the conversion process.
  • Optimizes for Full-Funnel Marketing: Helps in optimizing marketing efforts across the entire funnel, from brand awareness to the final conversion, enhancing the effectiveness of overall marketing strategies.
  • Improved Resource Allocation: By understanding the contribution of different interactions, marketers can allocate resources more effectively across various channels and tactics.

Disadvantages of the Position-Based Attribution Model

While the position-based attribution model offers a more balanced view of the customer journey, it has some limitations to consider. Here are some of the disadvantages to be aware of:

  • Complexity: More complex to implement and analyze compared to simpler models like Last-Click or First-Click attribution, requiring advanced tracking and analytics capabilities.
  • Potential Overemphasis: May overemphasize the importance of the first and last interactions, potentially undervaluing some critical middle interactions that contribute significantly to nurturing leads.
  • Less Effective for Short Journeys: May not be as effective for short customer journeys with fewer interactions, where other models like Last-Click might provide clearer insights.
  • Data Requirements: Requires comprehensive and accurate data collection across all interactions, which can be challenging for businesses with limited analytics infrastructure.

Best Practices for Using the Position-Based Attribution Model

Here are some best practices to get the most out of the Position-Based Attribution Model:

  • Combine with Other Models: Use in conjunction with other attribution models, such as Time Decay or Linear Attribution, to gain a more holistic view of the customer journey and validate insights.
  • Leverage Advanced Analytics Tools: Utilize advanced analytics and attribution tools to accurately track, analyze, and visualize data from all interactions, ensuring precise attribution. For example:
    • Google Analytics: Offers comprehensive tracking and reporting capabilities.
    • Adobe Analytics: Provides in-depth analysis and data visualization.
    • Attribution Software: Tools like EasyInsights integrate various data sources for precise attribution.
  • Integrate Across Channels: Ensure that the model integrates data from all marketing channels, including online and offline interactions, for a comprehensive view of the customer journey.
  • Use for Comprehensive Campaigns: This model is particularly effective for campaigns designed to engage customers throughout the entire journey, from awareness to conversion.
  • Focus on High-Impact interactions: Identify and prioritize high-impact interactions that significantly influence conversions, ensuring that both the first and last interactions, as well as key middle interactions, are optimized.

When to Use the Position-Based Attribution Model

The position-based attribution model shines in specific scenarios where understanding the influence of both initial awareness and final touchpoints is crucial. Here are some key situations where it can be a good choice:

  • Brand Awareness and Conversion Focus: When your marketing strategy aims to build brand awareness and drive conversions, this model helps balance credit between initial awareness efforts and final conversion actions. Example A brand awareness campaign might involve display ads and social media posts that lead to email marketing and eventually a purchase.
  • Long Purchase Decision Process: When the purchase decision process is extended and involves multiple stages of consideration and evaluation, this model ensures all stages are appropriately valued. Example: A customer might first interact with your brand via an SEO article, sign up for a webinar, download a whitepaper, and then make a purchase after a consultation call.
  • Complex Sales Cycles: If your business involves a complex sales cycle with multiple interactions, such as in B2B or high-value consumer purchases, this model helps identify the importance of various interactions. Example: A customer might discover your brand through an online ad, research further through blog posts and webinars, and finally convert through a direct sales interaction.
  • Omnichannel Marketing: For businesses running integrated marketing campaigns across multiple channels (e.g., social media, email, PPC, content marketing), the Position-Based model helps attribute value to different channels. Example: A campaign that starts with a social media ad, followed by email nurturing, and ends with a direct purchase from a website link.

Additional Reading: Comparing Attribution Models in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Conclusion

The Position-Based Attribution Model offers a balanced approach to understanding the customer journey by emphasizing the importance of both the initial and final interactions while also recognizing the role of intermediate touchpoints. By leveraging this model, marketers can gain valuable insights into how different interactions contribute to conversions and optimize their campaigns accordingly. Effective attribution requires accurate and comprehensive data to function properly. 

EasyInsights provides a reliable solution for attribution challenges by leveraging server-side tracking to gather first-party data. With detailed insights and robust analytics, EasyInsights can help you implement the right attribution strategy for your marketing efforts.

To know more, book a demo today!

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