What is Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA)

What is Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA)?

There has been a lot of buzz lately in about Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA).  Exactly what is Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA) and why should B2B marketers care?


A synonym for Multi-Touch Attribution you might hear is “Fractional Attribution” which helps to explain the concept. In a nutshell for, MTA attempts to split up the credit for an opportunity, giving each marketing touch an appropriate amount of ROI credit for helping the deal from initial interest/lead through to close.


Traditionally, many companies have relied on simple First or Last touch attribution models which give 100% of the marketing credit to a single touch point.  Marketers realize this is a highly flawed model to be basing decisions on, but are often stuck with it due to technical tracking limitations with their CRM, marketing automation and/or lead flow process.   (see Marketing Attribution Model Comparison which breaks down a single opportunity between first touch, last touch, even multi-touch, U-Shaped, Time Decay, and finally custom MTA models).


MTA models are particularly useful for B2B marketers that have longer sales cycles, higher value deals, and more complex sales with multiple members and influencers on the buying team. These types of B2B marketers  are almost always using a marketing automation and lead nurturing tool like Pardot, Marketo, or Eloqua; running multiple lead generation campaigns through various media partners and channels, and engaging and tracking lots of different landing pages, partner programs, and content marketing assets (white papers, webcasts, etc.).


With all of this complexity and marketing budget being spent, it becomes a huge challenge to tie back closed revenue to the efforts that are truly influencing pipeline.


Consider an example where your company won a $50K deal that took 12 months to close, with 4 influencers at the customer (IT Staff, CIO, CFO, IT manager) that took 30 distinct, significant marketing influenced actions (webinars, demos, white papers, etc.) over the course of the sales cycle. Companies relying on First Touch or Last Touch Attribution models would give 100% of the credit to a single marketing action, ignoring everything else. This is clearly a very simplistic (and wrong) view, yet many marketers still rely on these models.  With Multi-Touch Attribution, we can give fractional credit to every marketing touch based on variables that actually influenced the sale like timing of the action relative to lead or opportunity created or closed, role/title of the buyer, etc.


Today with third party Multi-Touch Attribution tools like AttributeApp for Pardot, marketers can get a better view into what activities are truly influencing deals all along the journey from lead to close (and even beyond to renewals and upsets). This type of reporting can deliver:


  1. Attribution rollups of ROI at campaign and tactics/asset level to gain truer insights into best performers
  2. Single view of opportunities – visually see the path of key opportunities from lead to close with marketing’s contributions along the way
  3. Account Based Marketing Attribution reporting – go beyond the limitations of Salesforce Opportunity Contact Roles and capture everything that is happening to influence a deal at the account level.  see Account Based in Marketing in Pardot – 3 Ways MTA Supports and Improves


Hopefully with an answer to “What is multi-touch attribution (MTA)?”, marketers can recognize the need to go beyond First/Last touch models and consider third party attribution tools to continue on the path to data driven marketing.

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