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Ki-Hoon Chung

Department Lead, Integrated Media

Attribution Basics

The Last Click Flu | Beyond the Final Click

WITHIN is the world’s first performance branding company. They leverage brand’s unique value proposition to create integrated media and personalized content solutions designed to maximize growth.”

In This Article:


How often do you find yourself on a call, trying to untangle the mess that is “last click attribution?” This idea, focused on final touch points before a purchase, skews our understanding of customer behavior and poses challenges to resource allocation in the constantly evolving landscape of digital marketing strategies.

As performance branding experts, we recognize the importance of real-time budget allocation and channel optimization for success. To achieve this, understanding the entire customer journey and appropriately crediting each touchpoint is essential. This is where attribution comes into play. By accurately attributing conversions to the relevant marketing efforts, we can make informed decisions on budget allocation and strategy refinement, ensuring maximum impact and ROI for our clients.


Focusing solely on last-click attribution can lead brands to overlook the crucial early and mid-funnel interactions that are key for building brand awareness and influencing customer decisions. This narrow approach risks misallocating resources by over-investing in channels that appear successful under last-click attribution but may not effectively drive initial customer interest or engagement. As a result, businesses may miss opportunities to optimize the entire customer journey, from awareness to conversion, due to a lack of understanding of the complete path to purchase. A holistic strategy that considers all touchpoints along the customer journey is essential for maximizing marketing effectiveness and driving meaningful results.


  • Skewed Budget Allocation: A disproportionate amount of the marketing budget is spent on bottom-funnel activities, like retargeting ads or search marketing, with the assumption that these are the primary drivers of conversions because they're the last touchpoints.
  • Underperformance of Top-of-Funnel Campaigns: Campaigns designed to build awareness or engage customers early in their journey appear to underperform because their contributions to conversions aren't directly measurable by last-click metrics.
  • Lack of Channel Diversity: Marketers may find themselves heavily reliant on one or two channels that consistently show up as the last click before a conversion, potentially neglecting other channels that contribute significantly to the customer journey.
  • Narrowed Audience Reach: Focusing primarily on high-intent audiences can lead to a missed opportunity in engaging with individuals who might become future customers. This oversight risks missing the chance to nurture early interest and build long-term customer loyalty.

Regimen for Recovery

  • Analyzing Attribution Models: Evaluating the limitations of last-click attribution by comparing it against other models that account for multiple touchpoints.
  • Customer Journey Mapping: Using data analytics to visualize the full path to purchase and identify key interactions beyond the last click.
  • Utilizing Post Purchase Surveys: Highlighting how PPS can be utilized to demonstrate the discrepancy between channels that are attributed conversions under last-click models versus what customers actually report influenced their decision. This serves as a powerful proof point of the "last click flu" by directly capturing customer feedback on the diverse touchpoints that impacted their purchase decision, often revealing a more complex journey than last-click data suggests.

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