Attribution analysis

Attribution is an analytical concept that helps to determine the marketing tactics such as channels, offers, and messages, that contribute to business sales or conversions. This concept evaluates the consumer journey (the process by which a customer interacts with a company to achieve a goal) that results in a purchase or acquisition based on customer touch points (any time a consumer interacts with your brand). Through attribution analysis, marketers can assess the return on investment of the channels that connect them to a potential customer.

Getting started

The SQL examples throughout this document are queries commonly used with Adobe Analytics data. This tutorial requires a working understanding of the following components:

An explanation of the parameters within the OVER() function can be found in the window functions section. The Adobe Marketing and Commerce Term Glossary may also be of use.

For each of the following use cases, a parameterized SQL query example is provided as a template for you to customize. Provide parameters wherever you see { } in the SQL examples that you are interested in evaluating.

Objectives

An attribution use case uses Adobe Analytics data to help associate customer actions to a successful outcome. This association is a critical part of understanding the factors that influence customer experiences. Attribution analysis data can be used to understand the significance of a customer’s touch point during the customer journey.

The query examples contained in this document support various use cases for first touch and last touch attribution with different expiration settings. This guide illustrates the following key concepts:

  • First touch and last touch attribution.
  • First touch and last touch attribution with expiration timeout.
  • First touch and last touch attribution with expiration condition.

Attribution query parameters

The table below provides a breakdown of the parameters and their descriptions used in first touch and last touch attribution queries:

Parameter Description
{TIMESTAMP} The timestamp field found in the dataset.
{CHANNEL_NAME} The label for the returned object.
{CHANNEL_VALUE} The column or field that is the target channel for the query.
{EXP_TIMEOUT} The window of time prior to the channel event, in seconds, that the query searches for a first touch event.
{EXP_CONDITION} The condition that determines the expiry point of the channel.
{EXP_BEFORE} A boolean that indicates if the channel expires before or after the specified condition, {EXP_CONDITION}, is met. This is primarily enabled for a session’s expiry conditions, to ensure that the first touch is not selected from a previous session. By default, this value is set to false.

Query results column components

The results for the attribution queries are given in either the first_touch or the last_touch column. These columns is made up of the following components:

({NAME}, {VALUE}, {TIMESTAMP}, {FRACTION})
Parameters Description
{NAME} The {CHANNEL_NAME}, entered as a label in the Azure Data Factory (ADF).
{VALUE} The value from {CHANNEL_VALUE} that is the last touch within the specified {EXP_TIMEOUT} interval
{TIMESTAMP} The timestamp of the Experience Event where the last touch occurred
{FRACTION} The attribution of the last touch, expressed as a decimal fraction.

First touch attribution

First touch attribution accredits 100% of the responsibility for a successful outcome to the initial channel that the consumer encountered. This SQL example is used to highlight the interaction that led to a subsequent series of customer actions.

The query below returns the first touch attribution value and details of the channel in the target Experience Event dataset. It also returns a struct object for the selected channel with the first touch value, timestamp, and attribution for each row.

Query syntax

ATTRIBUTION_FIRST_TOUCH({TIMESTAMP}, {CHANNEL_NAME}, {CHANNEL_VALUE}) OVER ({PARTITION} {ORDER} {FRAME})

For a complete list of potentially required parameters and their descriptions, see the attribution query parameters section.

Example query

SELECT endUserIds._experience.mcid.id, timestamp, marketing.trackingCode,
    ATTRIBUTION_FIRST_TOUCH(timestamp, 'Paid First', marketing.trackingCode)
      OVER(PARTITION BY endUserIds._experience.mcid.id
           ORDER BY timestamp
           ROWS BETWEEN UNBOUNDED PRECEDING AND CURRENT ROW)
      AS first_touch
FROM experience_events
ORDER BY endUserIds._experience.mcid.id, timestamp ASC
LIMIT 10

Results

In the results below, the initial tracking code em:946426 is taken from the Experience Event dataset. This tracking code is attributed with 100% (1.0) of the responsibility for the customer actions because it was the first interaction.

                 id                 |       timestamp       | trackingCode |                   first_touch
-----------------------------------+-----------------------+--------------+-------------------------------------------------
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2018-12-18 07:06:12.0 | em:946426    | (Paid First,em:946426,2018-12-18 07:06:12.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2018-12-18 07:07:02.0 | em:946426    | (Paid First,em:946426,2018-12-18 07:06:12.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2018-12-18 07:07:55.0 |              | (Paid First,em:946426,2018-12-18 07:06:12.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2018-12-18 07:08:44.0 |              | (Paid First,em:946426,2018-12-18 07:06:12.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2018-12-23 17:50:10.0 | em:513526    | (Paid First,em:946426,2018-12-18 07:06:12.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2018-12-23 17:50:43.0 | em:513526    | (Paid First,em:946426,2018-12-18 07:06:12.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2018-12-23 17:53:02.0 |              | (Paid First,em:946426,2018-12-18 07:06:12.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2018-12-26 20:37:12.0 | sms:70175    | (Paid First,em:946426,2018-12-18 07:06:12.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2018-12-26 20:37:57.0 |              | (Paid First,em:946426,2018-12-18 07:06:12.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2019-01-02 19:41:38.0 | em:526702    | (Paid First,em:946426,2018-12-18 07:06:12.0,1.0)
(10 rows)

For a breakdown of the results displayed in the first_touch column, see the column components section.

Last touch attribution

Last touch attribution accredits 100% of the responsibility for a successful outcome to the last channel that the consumer encountered. This SQL example is used to highlight the final interaction in a series of customer actions.

The query returns the last touch attribution value and details of the channel in the target Experience Event dataset. It also returns a struct object for the selected channel with the last touch value, timestamp, and attribution for each row.

Query syntax

ATTRIBUTION_LAST_TOUCH({TIMESTAMP}, {CHANNEL_NAME}, {CHANNEL_VALUE}) OVER ({PARTITION} {ORDER} {FRAME})

Example query

SELECT endUserIds._experience.mcid.id, timestamp, marketing.trackingCode,
    ATTRIBUTION_LAST_TOUCH(timestamp, 'trackingCode', marketing.trackingCode)
      OVER(PARTITION BY endUserIds._experience.mcid.id
           ORDER BY timestamp
           ROWS BETWEEN UNBOUNDED PRECEDING AND CURRENT ROW)
      AS last_touch
FROM experience_events
ORDER BY endUserIds._experience.mcid.id, timestamp ASC

Results

In the results displayed below, the tracking code in the returned object is the last interaction in each Experience Event record. Each code is attributed 100% (1.0) responsibility for the customer’s actions, as it was the last interaction.

                 id                |       timestamp       | trackingCode |                   last_touch
-----------------------------------+-----------------------+--------------+-------------------------------------------------
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2017-12-18 07:06:12.0 | em:946426    | (Paid Last,em:946426,2017-12-18 07:06:12.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2017-12-18 07:07:02.0 | em:946426    | (Paid Last,em:946426,2017-12-18 07:07:02.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2017-12-18 07:07:55.0 |              | (Paid Last,em:946426,2017-12-18 07:07:02.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2017-12-18 07:08:44.0 |              | (Paid Last,em:946426,2017-12-18 07:07:02.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2017-12-23 17:50:10.0 | em:513526    | (Paid Last,em:513526,2017-12-23 17:50:10.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2017-12-23 17:50:43.0 | em:513526    | (Paid Last,em:513526,2017-12-23 17:50:43.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2017-12-23 17:53:02.0 |              | (Paid Last,em:513526,2017-12-23 17:50:43.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2017-12-26 20:37:12.0 | sms:70175    | (Paid Last,sms:70175,2017-12-26 20:37:12.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2017-12-26 20:37:57.0 |              | (Paid Last,sms:70175,2017-12-26 20:37:12.0,1.0)
 5D9D1DFBCEEBADF6-4097750903CE64DB | 2018-01-02 19:41:38.0 | em:526702    | (Paid Last,em:526702,2018-01-02 19:41:38.0,1.0)
(10 rows)

For a breakdown of the results displayed in the last_touch column, see the column components section.

First touch attribution with expiration condition

This query is used to see which interaction led to a series of customer actions within a portion of the Experience Event dataset determined by a condition of your choosing.

The query returns the first touch attribution value and details for a single channel in the target Experience Event dataset, expiring after or before a condition. It also returns a struct object with the first touch value, timestamp, and attribution for each row returned for the selected channel.

Query syntax

ATTRIBUTION_FIRST_TOUCH_EXP_IF(
    {TIMESTAMP}, {CHANNEL_NAME}, {CHANNEL_VALUE}, {EXP_CONDITION}, {EXP_BEFORE})
    OVER ({PARTITION} {ORDER} {FRAME})

For a complete list of potentially required parameters and their descriptions, see the attribution query parameters section.

Example query

In the example shown below, a purchase is recorded (commerce.purchases.value IS NOT NULL) on each of the four days shown in the results (July 15, 21, 23, and 29), and the initial tracking code on each day is attributed 100% (1.0) responsibility for the customer actions.

SELECT endUserIds._experience.mcid.id, timestamp, marketing.trackingCode,
    ATTRIBUTION_FIRST_TOUCH_EXP_IF(timestamp, 'Paid First', marketing.trackingCode, commerce.purchases.value IS NOT NULL, false)
      OVER(PARTITION BY endUserIds._experience.mcid.id
           ORDER BY timestamp
           ROWS BETWEEN UNBOUNDED PRECEDING AND CURRENT ROW)
      AS first_touch
FROM experience_events
ORDER BY endUserIds._experience.mcid.id, timestamp ASC

Results

                 id               |       timestamp       | trackingCode |                   first_touch
----------------------------------+-----------------------+--------------+-------------------------------------------------
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:04:10.0 | em:1024841   | (Paid First,em:1024841,2019-07-15 06:04:10.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:05:05.0 | em:1024841   | (Paid First,em:1024841,2019-07-15 06:04:10.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:05:35.0 |              | (Paid First,em:1024841,2019-07-15 06:04:10.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:08:30.0 |              | (Paid First,em:1024841,2019-07-15 06:04:10.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-21 18:45:10.0 | em:483339    | (Paid First,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:45:10.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-21 18:50:22.0 | em:483339    | (Paid First,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:45:10.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-21 18:56:56.0 |              | (Paid First,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:45:10.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-23 12:25:12.0 | sms:70558    | (Paid First,em:70558,2019-07-23 12:25:12.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-23 12:38:51.0 |              | (Paid First,em:70558,2019-07-23 12:25:12.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-29 21:33:30.0 | em:884210    | (Paid First,em:884210,2019-07-29 21:33:30.0,1.0)
(10 rows)

For a breakdown of the results displayed in the first_touch column, see the column components section.

First touch attribution with expiration timeout

This query is used to find the interaction, within a selected time period, that led to the successful customer action.

The query below returns the first touch attribution value and details for a single channel in the target Experience Event dataset for a specified time period. The query returns a struct object with the first touch value, timestamp, and attribution for each row returned for the selected channel.

Query syntax

ATTRIBUTION_FIRST_TOUCH_EXP_IF(
    {TIMESTAMP}, {CHANNEL_NAME}, {CHANNEL_VALUE}, {EXP_CONDITION}, {EXP_BEFORE})
    OVER ({PARTITION} {ORDER} {FRAME})

For a complete list of potentially required parameters and their descriptions, see the attribution query parameters section.

Example query

In the example shown below, the first touch returned for each customer action is the earliest interaction within the previous seven days (expTimeout = 86400 * 7).

SELECT endUserIds._experience.mcid.id, timestamp, marketing.trackingCode,
    ATTRIBUTION_FIRST_TOUCH_EXP_IF(timestamp, 'Paid First', marketing.trackingCode, commerce.purchases.value IS NOT NULL, false)
      OVER(PARTITION BY endUserIds._experience.mcid.id
           ORDER BY timestamp
           ROWS BETWEEN UNBOUNDED PRECEDING AND CURRENT ROW)
      AS first_touch
FROM experience_events
ORDER BY endUserIds._experience.mcid.id, timestamp ASC

Results

                 id                 |       timestamp       | trackingCode |                   first_touch
-----------------------------------+-----------------------+--------------+-------------------------------------------------
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:04:10.0 | em:1024841   | (Paid First,em:1024841,2019-07-15 06:04:10.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:05:05.0 | em:1024841   | (Paid First,em:1024841,2019-07-15 06:04:10.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:05:35.0 |              | (Paid First,em:1024841,2019-07-15 06:04:10.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:08:30.0 |              | (Paid First,em:1024841,2019-07-15 06:04:10.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-21 18:45:10.0 | em:483339    | (Paid First,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:45:10.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-21 18:50:22.0 | em:483339    | (Paid First,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:45:10.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-21 18:56:56.0 |              | (Paid First,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:45:10.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-23 12:25:12.0 | sms:70558    | (Paid First,em:70558,2019-07-23 12:25:12.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-23 12:38:51.0 |              | (Paid First,em:70558,2019-07-23 12:25:12.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-29 21:33:30.0 | em:884210    | (Paid First,em:884210,2019-07-29 21:33:30.0,1.0)
(10 rows)

For a breakdown of the results displayed in the first_touch column, see the column components section.

Last touch attribution with expiration condition

This query is used to find the last interaction in a series of customer actions within a portion of the Experience Event dataset determined by a condition of your choosing.

The query below returns the last touch attribution value and details for a single channel in the target Experience Event dataset, expiring after or before a condition. The query returns a struct object with the last touch value, timestamp, and attribution for each row returned for the selected channel.

Query syntax

ATTRIBUTION_LAST_TOUCH_EXP_IF(
    {TIMESTAMP}, {CHANNEL_NAME}, {CHANNEL_VALUE}, {EXP_CONDITION}, {EXP_BEFORE})
    OVER ({PARTITION} {ORDER} {FRAME})

For a complete list of potentially required parameters and their descriptions, see the attribution query parameters section.

Example query

In the example shown below, a purchase is recorded (commerce.purchases.value IS NOT NULL) on each of the four days shown in the results (July 15, 21, 23, and 29), and the last tracking code on each day is attributed 100% (1.0) responsibility for the customer actions.

SELECT endUserIds._experience.mcid.id, timestamp, marketing.trackingCode,
    ATTRIBUTION_LAST_TOUCH_EXP_IF(timestamp, 'trackingCode', marketing.trackingCode, commerce.purchases.value IS NOT NULL, false)
      OVER(PARTITION BY endUserIds._experience.mcid.id
           ORDER BY timestamp
           ROWS BETWEEN UNBOUNDED PRECEDING AND CURRENT ROW)
      AS last_touch
FROM experience_events
ORDER BY endUserIds._experience.mcid.id, timestamp ASC

Example results

                id                 |       timestamp       | trackingCode |                   last_touch
-----------------------------------+-----------------------+--------------+------------------------------------------------
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:04:10.0 | em:1024841   | (Paid Last,em:550984,2019-07-15 06:08:30.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:05:35.0 | em:1024841   | (Paid Last,em:550984,2019-07-15 06:08:30.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:05:35.0 |              | (Paid Last,em:550984,2019-07-15 06:08:30.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:08:30.0 | em:550984    | (Paid Last,em:550984,2019-07-15 06:08:30.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-21 18:45:10.0 | em:483339    | (Paid Last,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:56:56.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-21 18:50:22.0 | em:483339    | (Paid Last,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:56:56.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-21 18:56:56.0 |              | (Paid Last,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:56:56.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-23 12:25:12.0 | sms:70558    | (Paid Last,em:380097,2019-07-23 12:38:51.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-23 12:38:51.0 | em:380097    | (Paid Last,em:380097,2019-07-23 12:38:51.0,1.0)
7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-29 21:33:30.0 | em:884210    | (Paid Last,em:884210,2019-07-29 21:33:30.0,1.0)
(10 rows)

For a breakdown of the results displayed in the last_touch column, see the column components section.

Last touch attribution with expiration timeout

This query is used to find the last interaction within a selected time interval. The query returns the last touch attribution value and details for a single channel in the target Experience Event dataset for a specified time period. The query returns a struct object with the last touch value, timestamp, and attribution for each row returned for the selected channel.

Query syntax

ATTRIBUTION_LAST_TOUCH_EXP_TIMEOUT(
    {TIMESTAMP}, {CHANNEL_NAME}, {CHANNEL_VALUE}, {EXP_TIMEOUT})
    OVER ({PARTITION} {ORDER} {FRAME})

For a complete list of potentially required parameters and their descriptions, see the attribution query parameters section.

Example query

In the example shown below, the last touch returned for each customer action is the final interaction within the following seven days (expTimeout = 86400 * 7).

SELECT endUserIds._experience.mcid.id, timestamp, marketing.trackingCode,
    ATTRIBUTION_LAST_TOUCH_EXP_TIMEOUT(timestamp, 'trackingCode', marketing.trackingCode, 86400 * 7)
      OVER(PARTITION BY endUserIds._experience.mcid.id
           ORDER BY timestamp
           ROWS BETWEEN UNBOUNDED PRECEDING AND CURRENT ROW)
      AS last_touch
FROM experience_events
ORDER BY endUserIds._experience.mcid.id, timestamp ASC

Results

                id                 |       timestamp       | trackingcode |                   last_touch
-----------------------------------+-----------------------+--------------+-------------------------------------------------
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:04:10.0 | em:1024841   | (Paid Last,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:56:56.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:05:35.0 | em:1024841   | (Paid Last,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:56:56.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:05:35.0 |              | (Paid Last,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:56:56.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-15 06:08:30.0 |              | (Paid Last,em:483339,2019-07-21 18:56:56.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-21 18:45:10.0 | em:483339    | (Paid Last,sms:70558,2019-07-23 12:38:51.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-21 18:50:22.0 | em:483339    | (Paid Last,sms:70558,2019-07-23 12:38:51.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-21 18:56:56.0 |              | (Paid Last,sms:70558,2019-07-23 12:38:51.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-23 12:25:12.0 | sms:70558    | (Paid Last,em:884210,2019-07-29 21:33:30.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-23 12:38:51.0 |              | (Paid Last,em:884210,2019-07-29 21:33:30.0,1.0)
 7J82HGSSBNELKLD4-4107750913DE65DA | 2019-07-29 21:33:30.0 | em:884210    | (Paid Last,em:884210,2019-07-29 21:33:30.0,1.0)
(10 rows)

For a breakdown of the results displayed in the last_touch column, see the column components section.

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