HomeBlog and ResourceseCommerce SalesWhat are Attribution Models: eCommerce Guide

What are Attribution Models: eCommerce Guide

Imagine you’re a detective piecing together clues from various crime scenes to solve a complex mystery.

Attribution models in ecommerce work similarly; they help you trace the steps your customers take before they make a purchase, attributing value to each touchpoint along their journey.

From the initial ad they clicked on Facebook to the final review they read before making a purchase, each step plays a pivotal role in the conversion process.

By understanding and valuing these touchpoints accurately, ecommerce store owners can make informed decisions about where to invest their marketing efforts for maximum impact.

The Various Faces of Attribution Models:

  1. First-Click Attribution: The digital equivalent of ‘love at first sight.’ This model gives all the credit to the very first interaction a customer had with your brand. It’s like saying the first glance was all it took to seal the deal.

  2. Last-Click Attribution: The closer, the one that seals the deal. Here, the final touchpoint before the conversion gets all the glory, assuming it’s the most critical step in the customer’s journey.

  3. Linear Attribution: The egalitarian of the group, distributing credit evenly across all touchpoints. It’s like a team project where everyone gets an equal share of the grade, regardless of their contribution.

  4. Time Decay Attribution: This model plays favorites with the new kids on the block, giving more credit to touchpoints closer to the conversion. It’s akin to a recency bias, where the latest efforts are deemed the most valuable.

  5. Position-Based Attribution: A hybrid approach, often called the U-shaped model, that values the first and last touchpoints the most, with a sprinkle of credit distributed to the steps in between. Think of it as a sandwich, where the bread (first and last interactions) is just as important as the filling (middle interactions).

Attribution models in ecommerce

Why Attribution Models Are a Game-Changer for Your Ecommerce Store:

  1. Optimized Marketing Spend: By understanding which channels and campaigns are driving conversions, you can allocate your budget more effectively, ensuring you’re investing in the right areas.

  2. Enhanced Customer Insights: Attribution models offer a window into your customers’ minds, revealing their preferences and behaviors. This intel allows you to tailor your marketing strategies to better meet their needs.

  3. Increased ROI: With more targeted marketing efforts and a better understanding of your customers, you’re set to enjoy a higher return on investment, making every penny count.

Implementing Attribution Models: A Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Data Collection: Start by gathering data from all your marketing channels. This includes everything from social media stats to email campaign metrics.

  2. Choose Your Model: Select an attribution model that aligns with your business goals and marketing strategies. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all; it’s about what works best for you.

  3. Analyze and Adjust: With your chosen model in place, analyze the data to uncover insights into your marketing performance. Use these insights to tweak and enhance your strategies for better results.

  4. Continuous Optimization: Attribution modeling is not a set-it-and-forget-it deal. Regularly review and adjust your model and strategies to keep pace with changing market dynamics and customer behaviors.

Real-World Triumphs with Attribution Models: Shopify Store Success Stories

Diving into the abstract world of attribution models is one thing, but seeing them in action? That’s where the real magic happens. Let’s explore how some Shopify-based stores have turned the tide of their ecommerce ventures by smartly implementing attribution models.

Example 1: The Fashion Forward Store

Imagine a trendy fashion boutique on Shopify, “TrendThreads,” known for its cutting-edge styles and vibrant social media presence. Initially, TrendThreads attributed all their sales to the last-click, typically from their Instagram ads. However, after switching to a linear attribution model, they discovered that their email marketing campaigns and fashion blog posts were crucial touchpoints in the customer journey.

By giving equal credit to each interaction, from blog post views to email link clicks, TrendThreads gained a more holistic view of their marketing efforts. This insight led them to ramp up their content marketing and email outreach, resulting in a 25% uptick in overall sales and a more engaged online community.

Example 2: The Eco-Friendly Home Goods Store

“GreenNest,” a Shopify store specializing in eco-friendly home goods, initially used a first-click attribution model, valuing the first interaction a customer had with their brand. They noticed that many first clicks came from organic search, leading them to invest heavily in SEO.

Over time, however, GreenNest adopted a position-based (U-shaped) attribution model, giving more weight to the first and last interactions. This model revealed the significant impact of their retargeting ads on Facebook and Google, which often served as the decisive final touchpoint before a purchase. By reallocating some of their marketing budget from SEO to retargeting ads, GreenNest saw a 30% increase in conversion rates, highlighting the importance of a balanced marketing approach.

Example 3: The Artisanal Coffee Roasters

“BrewArt,” an artisanal coffee roasting company selling through Shopify, faced a challenge in understanding the impact of their tasting events and workshops on online sales. Initially relying on a last-click attribution model, BrewArt’s online analytics suggested that direct searches were their main sales driver, undermining the value of their events.

By shifting to a time decay attribution model, BrewArt started to recognize the increasing influence of their events and workshops on purchasing decisions over time. This model allowed them to quantify the gradual increase in online sales following each event, leading to a strategic increase in event marketing and a subsequent 40% boost in online sales, proving the interconnectedness of offline experiences and online purchasing behavior.

Integrating Attribution Models into Your Shopify Store

Incorporating these models into your Shopify store isn’t just about choosing the right one; it’s about continuously refining your approach based on data-driven insights. Shopify’s robust analytics, combined with third-party tools and apps, can help you track customer interactions across multiple touchpoints, enabling a seamless integration of attribution models into your sales strategy.

Remember, the goal isn’t just to track sales but to understand the journey that leads to those sales. By learning from the examples of TrendThreads, GreenNest, and BrewArt, you can begin to see the patterns in your own data, allowing you to tailor your marketing efforts in a way that resonates with your unique audience, ultimately guiding your Shopify store to new heights of success.

In Conclusion:

Diving into the world of attribution models can feel like navigating a labyrinth, but with the right map in hand, you’re set to uncover treasures hidden within your ecommerce store’s data. 

By understanding and implementing these models, you’re not just tracking clicks and conversions; you’re opening the door to a deeper understanding of your customers, empowering your marketing strategies, and ultimately, driving your store to new heights of success. 

To know more about how we integrate attribution models, look at our social media advertising approach and process here.


  1. Can I use multiple attribution models? 
    Absolutely! Many businesses use a combination of models to gain a more nuanced understanding of their marketing effectiveness.

  2. How often should I review my attribution model?
    It’s a good idea to review your model at least quarterly to ensure it’s still aligned with your business goals and market conditions.

  3. Are attribution models only for large ecommerce stores?
    Not at all! Businesses of all sizes can benefit from the insights provided by attribution models. It’s all about understanding your customer’s journey and optimizing your marketing efforts accordingly.


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