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First Touch vs Last Touch Credit

by on ‎06-16-2010 09:58 AM (1,577 Views)

There’s an ongoing debate in marketing about “last touch credit” versus “first touch credit.” When you’re trying to assess which of your marketing campaigns worked best, you turn to analytics. And via analytics analysis, you can see how each campaign performed: how many leads were generated, how many of those were aligned, how many turned into closed sales, etc.

But, there’s  still a question about first touch versus last touch. In conducting an integrated campaign, there are multiple ways and media by which a customer/prospect can respond. Did they click through from an email, from a press release, via a link in a Tweet, put in an ad code from a direct mail piece, register for a white paper, etc.? And sometimes they come in through more than one of those avenues.

We can track them as coming back to our site, or a sales representative has a conversation with them and they mention the marketing campaign that drove them to call in. So which vehicle gets the “credit” for the lead? For example, a prospect first comes to our Website via a search engine pay-per-click ad; they fill out a form to get a white paper and that search engine lead source is recorded.  They get a subsequent email campaign from us directing them to the free trial. They come back to the site, sign up for the free trial, and ultimately buy the product. So did the email for the free trial convert them? Again, which lead source gets the “credit” in analytics for the sale?

And things get even dicier when you add awareness types of vehicles, where—though you may try via specific landing page URLs, phone numbers, etc.—it’s more difficult to measure their impact.

I guess I’m not providing an answer here because I think there are debates for both first touch and last touch credit. And the good news is that with advanced analytics, we’re more easily able to track multiple lead sources for a contact and assess accordingly. But, it’s still an interesting discussion and I’m interested to hear how other people do it.