marketing attributionA client’s relationship with your firm is more complex and multilayered than ever before. Chances are that before they sign a contract with you, they’ve been exposed to social media, website content, thought leadership, possibly campaigns such as email or paid promotions, and more. There’s no doubt that integrated marketing is more effective than traditional methods from the past – but it can pose challenges too. Which channel actually contributed to the prospect’s conversion? And how much did each channel help? Keep reading to learn more about solving that challenge with marketing attribution. 

What is Marketing Attribution? 

Marketing attribution is a process designed to determine which marketing channels lead to a client conversion, and then assigning a specific percentage of attribution to each contributing touchpoint. 

The real value of marketing attribution reporting is that it helps you understand trends and the journey that someone takes from the first time they set foot on your website to the time they become a client. By understanding which campaigns and methods are helping leads to convert, marketers can optimize strategies and better allocate budgets and resources. The more channels you rely on for your marketing mix, the more important marketing attribution becomes. 

Legal marketers can generate marketing attribution model reports in Google Analytics for free or right in HubSpot if you’re paying for a marketing professional plan. 

Below we dive into the different types of one-touch and multi-touch attribution modeling.

7 Effective Marketing Attribution Models

There are many different ways to track marketing attribution, and there’s not really a right or wrong way – just what’s right for your firm. According to some research, it takes between 6 and 8 touch points to even generate a lead in the first place – so you can see how things can get complicated pretty quickly. Using the right model will help streamline things for your marketing team, but each model has their own positive traits as well as shortcomings. Do some research and put some thought into the model that works best for your firm.

One-touch Attribution Models 

These models attribute an entire conversion to a single channel. There are two primary ways of doing this: a first-touch model, and a last-touch model. 

1. First-touch Attribution – A first-touch attribution model gives all credit to the first touchpoint that leads a prospect to an eventual conversion. First-touch attribution helps you identify which top-of-the-funnel marketing channels are most effective at locating and capturing the attention of prospects.

2. Last-touch Attribution – A last-touch attribution model gives all of the credit to the final touchpoint the lead interacted with. This model disregards the channels a prospect interacts with during the early and middle stages of their journey.

Though these models are simple and provide a very clear indication of which top-of-funnel campaigns work well, as well as which bottom-of-funnel tactics help to push a lead over the goal-line,  they certainly don’t paint a clear picture of a client’s entire journey. They provide simply a snapshot of the single portion of the journey that leads to a conversion. Generally these models are a good place to start if you’re just beginning to track marketing attribution, but they don’t provide comprehensive insights. 

Multi-touch Attribution Models

In these models, credit is given to any channel or content that a prospect comes in contact with before converting. They have become more prevalent in today’s complex digital landscape, as marketers understand the robust journey clients take in order to become a lead and create a relationship. For instance, a client may have read a few blog posts, downloaded a checklist and attended a webinar before contacting you. If you want to better capture all of the tactics that contributed to a conversion, try one of these models: 

3. Linear Attribution – This model assigns equal credit to every touchpoint in a prospect’s journey to conversion. These models help marketers to understand which channels were effective in reaching a lead, but don’t account for which ones were more influential. 

4. Time-decay Attribution – This model gives credit to all touch points but weighs the most recent touch points more heavily. It’s particularly helpful for firms with longer sales cycles like the B2B market, where the most recent touch points might make more of a difference. 

5. U-shaped Attribution – This model gives 40% of the credit to both the first and last touch points that lead to a conversion. The other 20% is divided amongst the touch points in between. This model is nice because it gives credit to those key first and last touch points, without ignoring the importance of the other tactics along the way. 

6. W-shaped Attribution – This model gives 30% of credit to the first touchpoint, 30% to the interaction that created the contact, and 30% to the last touchpoint. Then it gives the remaining 10% evenly across all interactions between first interaction and the last interaction before becoming a client.

7. Custom Attribution – The most sophisticated but also likely the most realistic, these models are created to be unique to your firm and the way that it operates. Tools like Google Analytics allow marketers to assign a custom attribution to any touchpoint that leads to an eventual conversion. To leverage this model, you need a more in-depth understanding of your clients and their behavior. You can start by digging into historical data to determine trends and understand which channels tend to have more of an effect on your conversions. 

Important Notes on Marketing Attribution

Marketing attribution continues to evolve, and as technology also evolves we will continue to see more sophisticated, intuitive ways to track marketing activities and effects. 

One thing to consider is that most models need to account for cross-device attribution. The majority of content that a prospect engages with will be viewed on a phone or device as well as a laptop.  How does one identify and track users across different devices? You might need to look into more sophisticated tools like a data management platform, or work with an expert to get your model set up in the first place. 

Additionally, it’s helpful in the beginning of the process to set realistic and actionable goals. You need to not only prioritize using your marketing attribution model, but then taking action on what your statistics tell you. Determine in advance which actions you’ll take based on a variety of results. 

Finally, though the name implies that marketing attribution falls under one department, it’s essential that the entire firm is aligned on marketing attribution and what it means. Along with the standard sales and marketing alignment, everyone from executives to attorneys must be on board in order to properly set budgets, allocate resources, etc. 


Attribution modeling is a cost-effective measurement initiative thanks to the availability of free tools like Google Analytics. Once you’ve mastered attribution modeling, your law firm’s digital strategy will become more efficient as you’ll have a more complete perspective of your client’s paths to conversion. In other words, you’ll have a better idea which tactics and channels are most effective at bringing in new business.

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