In the dynamic digital marketing sphere, the challenge of attributing value to various touchpoints in the customer’s purchasing voyage is a true force to be reckoned with.

The traditional model of ‘last-click attribution’ needs to be updated. It simply cannot capture the modern consumer’s intricate web of behavior.

Enter the W-shaped attribution model, offering much-needed clarity and boosting your digital marketing effectiveness.

The Journey to Understanding Attribution Models

Traditionally, last-click attribution has been the trusted model wherein the last interaction before a purchase is given all the credit.

However, digital marketing really isn’t a linear sequence; it’s a complex mesh of interactions across various channels. Exclusively rewarding the last touchpoint significantly undervalues the entirety of the buyer’s journey.

W-shaped attribution presents a more nuanced approach that looks back at three critical milestones before the conversion and gives them due recognition.

What is the W-Shaped Attribution Model?

The W-Shaped Attribution Model assigns credit to the following interactions:

●    First Click: The initial touchpoint where the customer interacts with the brand.

●    Various Clicks: The subsequent interactions that usually provide consumers with product information and build interest.

●    Converting Clicks: The touchpoints just before the conversion, where the consumer is most often persuaded to make the purchase.

In a visual depiction, W-shaped models showcase a notable uptick in series of first, various, and converting clicks before a central decline after the transaction. This is depicted as a map of consumer paths that lead to conversion.

Understanding W-shaped attribution hinges on acknowledging the marketing efforts across channels. It recognizes the SEO clicks that bring awareness, the social media campaign that cultivates interest, and the well-timed email that convicts the customer.

Therefore, it encourages marketers to focus on creating a cohesive omnichannel experience rather than just a single element.

The Art of W-Shaped Attribution: Breaking It Down

The true power of the W-shaped attribution model lies in its ability to zoom in. Because you’re looking at several different touchpoints, it can be challenging to know what’s working and what’s not if you’re taking a big-picture view. W-shaped attribution moves beyond that, helping you hone in on what works and what doesn’t within specific contexts.

Then, you can tailor your strategies to optimize engagement and nurture lasting, loyal relationships.

First Click

A customer’s first interaction with a brand is often a defining moment. The spark ignites curiosity and sets the tone for the relationship.


In W-shaped attribution, this stage helps companies understand which channels are successful at brand introduction and recognition.

Strategies at this touchpoint often involve top-funnel marketing – awareness campaigns, educational content, and thought leadership.

Various Clicks

The next stage in the W-shaped sequence includes a range of interactions that feed into consumer interest. While the first click begins the conversation, these various clicks sustain it, offering consumers a deeper understanding and a sense of connection with the brand.

Marketers at this stage often focus on providing value through informative content, user reviews, and personalized communications. The goal here is to nurture your leads and guide them toward a purchase.

Converting Clicks

The final set of interactions in the W-Shaped model before a purchase is the most persuasive. They might involve things like hot deals, limited-time offers, or compelling product features. They’re meant to be attention-grabbing.

This stage fully optimizes the sales process. It can indicate which incentives work best to drive a purchase – and which channels or strategies can be enhanced for conversion rate optimization.

Leveraging W-Shaped Attribution in Marketing Strategies

Implementing the W-shaped attribution model is a large feat.

First, you need to implement some advanced tracking tools. These can help you map out the customer’s digital footprint with precision. From web analytics to attribution modeling software, the right technology is integral to the success of this strategy.


With the appropriate tools, data becomes the linchpin of effective W-shaped attribution. You need to gather information on customer interactions and analyze this data to draw out the most actionable insights.

The goal here is to identify patterns and correlations between specific touchpoints and campaign outcomes. This will help you make more effective marketing decisions in the future.

Consistent and thorough cross-channel data analysis is essential in fine-tuning W-shaped attribution strategies. You need to look beyond individual campaign performance to understand how these campaigns intersect and impact one another.

Remember, the beauty of the W-shaped model is in its adaptability. It’s not a static framework but an evolving strategy that can be optimized over time.

The Takeaway

The W-shaped attribution model offers a nuanced perspective on consumer behavior. It can help you make more informed decisions regarding campaign planning, resource allocation, and channel optimization.

It’s time to move beyond a single-minded focus on last-click attribution and portray a more comprehensive picture of campaign performance.