Attribution: Fairing's All-In-One Glossary

by Bryan Teo

Attribution: Fairing’s All-In-One Glossary

As with any industry, various industry terms are always thrown around. New or old, simple or complex, a whole list of these terms exist.

Best part? This list will continue to grow.

Even if you’re new to the attribution space or someone who has been in the game for long, there are bound to be phrases that catch you by surprise. In this glossary, we cover the important terms that will matter to you. The next time you need help with a term or abbreviation, this glossary will be here to help you.

Due to the vastness of the attribution space, we will be clustering them into 3 main verticals: Direct-to-Consumer (DTC), Business-to-business Software-as-a-Service (B2B SaaS), and Mobile Applications.

Each vertical's glossary will incorporate "also known as" (AKA) for terms that might be similarly defined across our different verticals to enhance understanding and applicability.


1. Social Media Marketing

This is the process of tracking and assigning value to the interactions your audience has with your brand on social media platforms.

Attribution here measures the impact of social media campaigns on sales and involves tracking user engagements (like clicks, shares or comments) to understand their role in outcomes such as website visits, conversions or sales.

An alternative to SMM is to perform influencer marketing. Engage influencers with large outreach to help you drive traffic.

2. Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing strategy. It aims to increase the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Search engine marketing is also alternately referred to as paid search or pay per click (PPC).

3. Pipeline Marketing

Pipeline marketing is a strategy that incorporates marketing and sales data to convert leads to customers. It’s focused on the narrow end of your marketing funnel.

Its effectiveness lies different from a simple lead generation. Rather than focusing on gathering as many new email addresses as possible for future marketing campaigns, it aims to make the most out of your existing customers.

4. Email Marketing

This assigns credit to channels or touch points within your sales and marketing funnel. It tracks the performance of email campaigns in conversions.

Learn more about how you can integrate an effective zero-party data strategy with your email marketing here.

5. Referrals

referral program is a system of giving your customers incentives to refer your brand to people from their circle of family, friends, and colleagues.

Referral attribution identifies the role of referrals in driving conversions, including affiliate marketing.

6. Coupon Codes

Coupon codes help businesses to attract, engage and reward high lifetime value customers. By its very nature it’s one that is very attributable.

Track conversions through specific promotional codes, gathering insights into the effectiveness of your discount strategies.

7. Direct Mail

Direct mail is another effective campaign to have in your marketing mix. It adds a different dimension on top of your digital marketing.

Direct mail attribution measures the impact of physical mail campaigns on conversions, a unique challenge in the digital age.

8. Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs can prove invaluable to improve customer loyalty and increase retention rates.

Assesses the effectiveness of loyalty programs in driving repeat purchases and engagement.

9. Conversion Path Analysis

Conversion Path Analysis analyzes the sequence of interactions leading to conversion.

Analyzing different paths helps your business understand your customers' paths to purchase and conversion. Not only that, understand how different attribution models distribute credit on those paths.

10. Incrementality

Incrementality is a measure of how much a marketing tactic or campaign is driving incremental revenue or sales.

Incremental attribution can provide insights in granular levels over campaigns, demographics, vendors, geo location, contextual features. It determines the lift that marketing efforts provide over a baseline of organic traffic and conversions.

11. Engagement

Engagement here refers to the interactions and experiences customers have with an online store. This includes various touch points, such as website visits, social media interactions, and email communications.

This focuses on how engagement metrics (likes, shares, comments) relate to conversions.

12. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

CAC is calculated by dividing the total amount of money spent on marketing and sales by the number of new customers acquired during a specific period of time. It measures the total cost of acquiring a new customer.

CAC can be further divided into Paid and Non-paid. It’s important to calculate a blended mix of both to get an accurate picture of your CAC.

13. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Cost per acquisition (CPA) measures the cumulative costs of acquiring a new customer via a channel or campaign. Calculate it by dividing the total advertising spend by the number of generated acquisitions.

Use CPA to assess the cost-effectiveness of campaigns and make informed decisions about future investments.

14. Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)

A model of attribution that rewards each channel that contributes to a conversion and keeps rewarding these channels along the full customer journey (also known as future sales).

Business-to-Business Software-as-a-Service (B2B SaaS)

1. Customer Journey Mapping

Create a visual representation of the customer's experience with a Customer Journey Map. This highlights the path from discovery to purchase and beyond.

2. Lead Scoring

The methodology to rank prospects based on their perceived value to the organization.

3. First-Click Attribution

This model of marketing attribution fully credits the initial touch point with the conversion.

4. Last-Click Attribution

Contrastingly, this model gives the last touch point before conversion full credit.

5. Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA)

A model of marketing attribution that assigns credit to all touch points on the path to conversion.

6. Linear Attribution

A model of marketing attribution that equally credits all touch points leading to conversion. It’s useful for understanding the overall impact of the marketing mix.

7. Time Decay Attribution

This model gives more credit to touch points closer in time to the conversion. This is particularly useful for long sales cycles.

8. U-Shaped (Position-Based) Attribution

Attributes significant credit to the first and last touch points. It recognizes their crucial roles in awareness and decision-making.

9. W-Shaped Attribution

Extends U-Shaped attribution by also giving significant credit to the point where a lead is qualified. This is to emphasize the sales team's efforts.

10. Full-Path Attribution

Further extending upon W-Shaped, this includes the opportunity creation stage and provides a comprehensive view of the customer journey.

11. View-Through Attribution

View-through attribution (VTA) refers to attributing conversions (app installs, re-attribution, re-engagement) to ad impressions. Also known as impression tracking, VTA helps measure and optimize the performance of your ad campaigns.

This model credits an ad view when no direct click has occurred. It recognizes the ad's influence on eventual conversions.

12. Omni-Channel Attribution

Measures the effect of all channels collectively on the customer journey. It is an analytical approach that assigns credit to all customer interactions across multiple channels and touch points leading up to a conversion.

It highlights the interconnectedness of modern marketing channels.

For all attribution models listed, tools such as attribution surveys are key to helping you fill in your models. It is important to have accurate and sufficient attribution data to help you determine your attribution.

Remember that there is no best attribution model, but rather which one fits your business.

13. Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) steers away from looking purely for more leads. It is a focused strategic approach to B2B marketing that focuses on the right leads. Marketing resources are dedicated to a specific set of target accounts and the contacts within them.

This allows you to attribute revenue according to your target accounts, making it easier to identify any gaps or revise any tactics you may have.

Mobile Applications

1. App Installs

An install takes place when a user has downloaded an app and successfully opens it for the first time.

Attributing app installs involves tracking user installations of a mobile application to specific marketing channels or campaigns. This allows app developers and marketers to measure the effectiveness of their efforts in driving app downloads.

2. In-App Purchase

An in-app purchase is any fee in addition to the cost to download the app on a smartphone or tablet.

In-app purchase attribution is the process of tracking and attributing user actions that lead to these purchases. It involves identifying the sources or campaigns that drive users to make that transaction.

3. Cross-device Tracking

Cross-device tracking refers to the methods used to track users across many devices such as mobile devices and desktop computers. It works by matching activity across different devices to the same user who performs them by using shared identifiers.

Marketers use cross-device targeting to deliver ads to the same consumers across multiple devices, which requires cross-device tracking to generate a profile of the user across devices.

Cross-device attribution allows marketers to understand the complete customer journey, regardless of the device used. Businesses can attribute conversions accurately to the appropriate marketing channels or campaigns.

4. Retention Rate

App retention rate is the percentage of users who continue engaging with an app over time.

Retention attribution tracks which marketing efforts or campaigns contribute to retaining users over time. This is used to help marketers understand the effectiveness of their strategies in keeping users engaged.

5. Event Tracking

Event tracking in mobile apps involves monitoring user actions like clicks, purchases, or form submissions. It provides insights into user behavior to optimize app performance and enhance user experience.

6. Organic Installs

Organic installs describe downloads by users that discover apps by themselves through word-of-mouth, or through an app store keyword search.

These highlight the natural appeal of the app.

7. Post-Install Engagement

Post-install engagement is any user action that happens while an app is being used, after it’s been installed on a device.

Post-install engagement attribution is to track and attribute user engagement activities within the mobile app to specific marketing campaigns or channels.

8. Lifetime Value (LTV)

Also known as CLTV as covered in DTC, it measures the revenue a user generates over their lifetime.

9. Push Notifications

Push notifications are short messages sent from app publishers to users' mobile devices. Users don't have to actively use the app or their phone to receive them.

It is important to measure the effectiveness of push notifications in driving engagement and conversions.

10. Deep Linking

Deep linking is a technique used in mobile applications. It directs users to specific content or pages within an app, bypassing the app's home screen. It allows for seamless navigation and a personalized user experience.

This tracks conversions resulting from users clicking a deep link that takes them directly inside an app.

11. Device ID

device ID (device identification) is an anonymous string of numbers and letters that uniquely identifies a mobile device. It's typically used to refer to a device's model.

Device ID allows for attributing user actions or conversions to specific devices, usually identified by these unique identifiers. This allows businesses to understand user behavior across different devices and target personalized marketing campaigns effectively.

12. SDK Integration

Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK) is a software package that contains a set of tools that can help to build platform-specific mobile applications and implement new features in existing mobile apps. It works as a shortcut during the process of developing a mobile application. Thus, developers can build more complex functionalities without the need for in-depth domain knowledge.

It is important to measure the impact of third-party SDK integrations on app functionality and user experience. This is to allow developers and marketers to measure the effectiveness of third-party SDKs in driving user engagement or conversions within the app.

13. Cohort Analysis

A cohort is a group of users, who have a common identifier such as region, app download date, or making an IAP. Using acohort analysis to analyze user behavior, developers can look at how key KPIs such as retention rate and LTV (as listed above) change over time within this specific subset of users.

14. App Tracking Transparency (ATT)

App tracking transparency (ATT) is a change to Apple’s privacy and data collection policy that requires mobile marketers to ask consent from users in order to track them.

Specifically, marketers will be required to ask user’s permission to track them across apps and websites owned by companies other than Apple.


Journeying through the realm of attribution is going to be an adventure. As you continue growing in this industry, you will find how widespread it is. There is a lot to learn, even on top of the various terminologies.

This glossary aims to get you started on understanding the landscape and lingo. By being on top of the technical jargon, it’s the first step to helping you along this adventure.

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