Multi Touch Attribution: A Collective Insanity

Travis Lusk
Travis Lusk

Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA) is the best thing to happen to attribution since last touch (aka last click) attribution for digital campaigns. In essence, it is a methodology for assigning a value to the various touchpoints on a consumer's path-to-purchase.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

However, MTA and last click are incredibly broken religions of marketing online. The most frustrating part is that everyone (yes, everyone) knows that it is broken, yet we keep using it.

The excuse, time after time, in agency conference rooms across America is that there's no other way to transact. We've all agreed to this mutual insanity simply because there isn't been a better way to buy and sell media.

There are at least a dozen better ways to evaluate media spend, calculate ROI, and assign credit. Unfortunately, these "other" ways have not been adopted into the mainstream. The transaction parties involved (agency and seller) actually have very little incentive to come up with a longer-term

Yet here we go, quarter after quarter continuing to defend this broken, antiquated way of doing business. There is herd mentality that is fostered by incumbent agencies and adtech platforms such as Google Spotlight that control today's market share. Any oxygen available to offer up an alternative way of transacting is sucked right out of the room.

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee under Creative Commons 2.0


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Opinionated digital advertising practitioner, consultant for Fortune 100 Brands, and writer at