11 min read

The Wicked Guide To Marketing Attribution Models

By Katie Switzer on Feb 16, 2022 4:20:25 PM

Increase Your ROI By Optimizing Your Ads for High Value Customers


Have you ever asked yourself:

  • Are my ads actually bringing in paying customers?
  • Is this channel/campaign/ad positive ROI?
  • Can I trust the performance my Ads Manager is reporting?
  • Which emails are leading to sales?
  • Where are my highest value customers coming from?
  • Which content is bringing in the actual sales?
  • Why don’t my sales from different channels add up to my actual revenue?

These are really important questions that can all be answered with accurate marketing attribution models.

Critical marketing decisions that make or break a brand are based on knowing where sales are coming from. It is essential to know your marketing performance from first-click to final sale if you want your brand to grow and thrive.

Artboard 1-2-1

When a user interacts with content with a click, opt-in, opened email, or purchase their actions can be collated and used to create attribution models.

You can’t guess when it comes to attribution. Downloading sales data from your CRM, looking at your Ads Manager, or cobbling together spreadsheets will not help you track down where sales are coming from. It only quantifies each stage of your marketing funnel.

If you want to get accurate attribution, you need detailed data from as many customers and sales as possible. This allows you to accurately see the value of that customer, what they first clicked on that brought them to your website, and what content convinced them to buy.

Doing this will help you to see not only what content brings in sales, but what brings in the highest value customers. That is huge for optimizing your ROI!

First Versus Third Party Tracking

Facebook, Google, and other ad platforms can’t give you this level of detail on your customers or help you match it with your CRM. That is because they are using 3rd party privacy technology, which violates reasonable privacy standards. They are tracking people’s activities across multiple websites without their permission.

Wicked reports multi touch marketing attribution software privacy compliant

That is why using a 1st party technology partner to create your marketing attribution models is the best way to approach it. It’s privacy compliant. It’s respectful of users. And it’s much more accurate because you can collect the right data for accurate attribution.

Why Are There Different Marketing Attribution Models?

We all wish this happened, but sadly it’s a rare and unicorn customer who clicks on an ad for your brand and buys immediately. Customers usually engage with your brand through ads, emails, and other content for days, weeks, or even years before they finally buy.

Shortening this time (called the buying cycle) is critical to optimizing your ads and not wasting ad spend. If you want to improve your ROI, you need to improve the performance at each step of your marketing funnel from first-click to sale.

The best way to take a look at this data is in small bites. That is where marketing attribution models come in. They break your sales data and customer engagement down to each step. You can then see what channel/campaign/ad is bringing in customers and what you can scrap.That allows you to divert ad spend to better performing campaigns, and get the best possible ROAS.

multi touch marketing attribution software


What Are The Different Marketing Attribution Models?

The most commonly used marketing attribution models are:

  • First Click ROI
  • New Lead ROI
  • Last Click ROI
  • ReEngaged Lead ROI
  • Linear ROI
  • Full Impact ROI

Next, I’m going to go over each attribution model. Keep reading to find out when and how to use each one in order to improve your ROI.

First Click Marketing Attribution Model

If you’ve ever wondered if the data in Ads Manager is correct, or been frustrated that it did not match your actual revenue, then First Click is the attribution model you want to look at.

For a PPC agency or business using paid advertising, the First Click Attribution model is the most critical for knowing if content is positive ROI.

This model gives all of the credit for an interaction on the content the user first interacted with - often an ad.

Once you're aware of what content is bringing in actual sales, it’s much easier to take action. You can immediately turn off content that is not performing well, and put that budget towards higher ROAS campaigns. This eliminates a lot of wasted ad spend.

Here is an example of a First Click ROI Attribution Report from the Wicked Reports dashboard:


You can see in this report what it looks like when all revenue is attributed to the first click a customer made. By reviewing the Attributed ROI column, it is easy to see which campaigns are positive ROI and which campaigns need to be cut.

It’s especially important to know that the attribution window here in Wicked Reports is unlimited. That means even if a campaign takes a few weeks, months, or even years to convert but is ultimately positive ROI you will be able to see this and capitalize on it.

This is especially true for Google ad campaigns, which tend to take a bit longer to convert compared with Facebook, but generally result in higher value customers in the long run.

It is best to start reviewing First Click attribution after you’ve collected at least one buying cycle worth of data. 

Not sure what your buying cycle is? Click here to find out how you can track your brand’s buying cycle time!

New Lead Marketing Attribution Model

This marketing attribution model is best used if you are generating new leads from cold traffic and trying to determine which campaign is leading to customers in the future.

6-1You will be able to track the content that led directly to an opt-in. This makes it incredibly easy to identify which offers or coupons you are using that is building a valuable email list of high paying customers.

It's best to start using New Lead attribution after you’ve collected at least one buying cycle worth of data. 

ReEngaged Lead Attribution Model

You’ve spent all that time and money getting people to opt-in to your email list. Don’t waste your efforts!

Using ReEngaged Lead attribution, you can find out what content is getting existing leads to re-opt in to your marketing.

This is really powerful in helping you to squeeze more sales out of your existing list, seriously lowering your advertising costs.

Last Click Marketing Attribution Model

007Trying to figure out what convinces people to make a purchase? Last Click attribution is for you!

This is the best attribution model to find out what content or offer is the clincher to get people to trust in your brand.

Another nice thing about Last Click is that you can start using it right away. It is useful after collecting just one day of data. This can give you great insights to immediately start optimizing your bottom of funnel for more sales.

Linear Marketing Attribution Model

If you want to attribute sales to multiple touch points, without overcounting revenue, linear is the marketing attribution model for you.

Valuable information can be pulled from this model after just one day to help you determine which content from your entire sales funnel is actually converting to paying customers.

This is a great overview model to take a look at and determine what’s performing well and which areas of your marketing need improvement. It saves a lot of time if you don’t want to look at each step of your funnel in detail.

Full Impact Marketing Attribution Model

Full Impact Attribution is a different animal than the attribution models we’ve discussed so far.

What makes it different? This is the only model that does not reconcile revenue, which means it might seem like the numbers aren’t adding up.

Each sale gets attributed to multiple touch points instead of just one point in the funnel. 

You want to use this model if the data is more subtle and you want to make it easier to see an overview of your funnel performance.

Full Impact is going to magnify interesting data points so you can dive in quickly (even after just one day of data collection), even if your funnel is hard to analyze using the other models.

Can I Just Use Facebook or Google’s Attribution Models?

Sure, you can do that. Google, Facebook, and even Shopify are offering some ability to look at different attribution models.

You should be aware of some of the limitations of using Ads Manager or CRM attribution models:

  • No Cross-Channel Attribution

    Your ad platform and CRM do not share detailed data about customers or users with each other. This means that revenue will not add up right, because multiple platforms will take credit for the same sale. There is no way to look at this data and match users to customers to see where sales came from without using a third party marketing attribution software like Wicked Reports.
  • Limited Attribution Windows

     Attribution is usually limited to within a window of time. If a user clicks on an ad for your business, but doesn’t buy for 8 days then Facebook will not credit that sale to the original ad. Google won’t credit past 30 days. That can be a real problem because leads take time to buy. This is why Wicked Reports has an unlimited attribution window. 
  • Optimize Based on High Value Customers

    Ads Managers only track for the value of a single sale, they cannot track multiple sales from the same user over time. This limits data and optimization to single sales instead of optimizing for high value customers specifically. Optimizing based on LTV results in huge improvements in ROAS, especially for subscription based ecommerce companies.
  • User Privacy Limitations

    Ads Managers use 3rd party tracking of users. This means they are not respecting the privacy of a user and tracking across websites. You want to use a 1st party system that only tracks users from ad platform to your brand website. This keeps you out of trouble now and in the future, and means that you can safely and respectfully track even users that opt-out of tracking on iOS. Privacy compliance for the win!


Google Adwords

Facebook Advertising

Wicked Reports

Offers Different Attribution Models




Includes Data from iOS14 Opt-Out Users




(privacy compliant!)

Will Not Take Credit For Another Channel’s Sale




Cross-Platform Attribution for More Accuracy




Tracks Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)




Attribution Window

Max 90 Days

Max 7 Days



Don’t depend on Facebook or Google Ads Manager to report on their own performance.

Get a 1st party, unbiased look at your marketing attribution data by using Wicked Reports. 

There is no substitute for accurate attribution.

multi touch marketing attribution software

With Wicked Reports, you can be confident where your sales are actually coming from and improve your ROI.

  • Accurate attribution.
  • Unlimited attribution window.
  • Marketing attribution across advertising channels.
  • Privacy compliant.
  • Use high value customers to optimize your advertising.

Stop using garbage data to make marketing decisions. Start using the most accurate marketing attribution software for your advertising - book-in here and see Wicked Reports in action.

Katie Switzer

Written by Katie Switzer