9 Attribution Models for Large Shopify Brands

This guide is your ticket to understanding the key Attribution Models and leveraging them to make more sense of what exactly drives your shoppers to buy.

Have you recently added another marketing touchpoint to your mix? If you’re a growing ecommerce brand, we’re pretty confident you pulled a face, said yes, and remembered that you still need to set up that tracking.

Truth is, for bigger Shopify brands, making sense of customer interactions across numerous marketing channels is both an art and a science. 

This is where Attribution Models enter the chat. But while the goal of attribution is to provide clarity, there is also an expanding range of models, some using machine learning, to confuse you further.

This guide is your ticket to understanding the key models and leveraging them to better understand what drives your shoppers to buy.

The Gravity of Attribution Models

Why bother with attribution models, you ask? Well, they're not just fancy analytics jargon but the backbone of any successful marketing strategy. 

Here’s why:

  • Effective Channel Identification: Knowing which marketing channels and touchpoints lead to conversions is like finding the secret sauce to your marketing mix. Attribution models unveil this, helping you repeat successful tactics.
  • Budget Optimization: Ever felt like you're throwing money into a black hole? Attribution models help ensure your marketing budget is being used effectively, highlighting areas with the best ROI.
  • Strategic Insights: These models provide a clearer picture of your marketing efforts, offering actionable insights to refine strategies, enhance reach, and amplify impact.

The What and Who of Ecommerce Attribution Models

We’ve said it at least three times now, but understanding how each customer interaction with your brand contributes to the final purchase is key to refining your marketing strategy and budget allocation. 

So, while there may be a few others out there, the team at Polar Analytics has carefully selected a range that offers the best view into ecommerce marketing — each designed to offer unique insights into your marketing efforts' effectiveness.

🏆 Traditional Attribution Models

The critical first or last interaction in the customer journey gives clear insights into how customers discover their brand or what drives them to finally make a purchase.

First Click Attribution

This model shines a spotlight on the very first interaction a customer has with your brand.


Whether it’s a click on a Google ad or a social media post, First Click is great for top-of-funnel campaigns.

Recognizing the initial touchpoint is crucial for understanding which channels are most effective at generating awareness about your product or brand.

First Click Ecommerce Attribution

Last Click Attribution

The last interaction before a purchase gets all the glory here. 

This model is invaluable for campaigns focused on driving immediate actions or conversions, such as sales promotions or limited-time offers. 

Last Click helps identify which marketing efforts are the deal sealers, allowing you to understand what convinces your customers to finally make that leap from consideration to purchase.

Last Click Ecommerce Attribution

🧩️ Multi-Touch Attribution Models

These models give a more nuanced understanding of the customer journey by recognizing the value of multiple touchpoints — ideal if you want to attribute success across the entire marketing mix.

Linear Attribution

Every touchpoint in the customer journey gets an equal share of the credit for the conversion. 

This model is ideal for brands with comprehensive marketing strategies where every touchpoint is considered equally important in nurturing customer relationships and driving conversions across the entire customer journey.

Linear Shopify Attribution

U-Shaped Attribution

This model assigns more credit to the first and last interactions (40% each) and distributes the remaining 20% evenly among the other touchpoints.

It's a great way to acknowledge the significance of the initial discovery and final decision to purchase. 

U Shape Shopify Attribution

Time Decay Attribution

Touchpoints closer to the time of conversion receive more credit, highlighting the increasing influence of marketing efforts as the customer progresses towards making a purchase. 

This model works well for longer sales cycles and retargeting campaigns, where the focus is on gradually increasing engagement and convincing the customer over time. More value is placed on interactions closer to the conversion.

Time Decay Attribution Model

🤑 Paid-Only Attribution Models

If you’re heavily invested and focused on optimizing their paid marketing strategies, these models are for you. They offer insights into the direct impact and efficiency of paid advertising efforts on customer conversions.

Paid Linear

Similar to the linear model but exclusively for paid touchpoints. 

Each paid interaction, whether it's a click on a PPC ad or a sponsored social media post, receives equal credit for contributing to the conversion.

Paid Linear is useful for analyzing the overall impact of paid advertising efforts, helping to assess the performance of paid marketing channels independent from other channels.

Paid Linear Attribution Model

Full Paid Overlap

This model takes a focused approach by attributing the conversion credit entirely to the paid channels involved in the customer's journey — no matter the number of touchpoints in that channel.

It’s particularly useful for assessing the direct impact and ROI of your paid marketing efforts.

Paid Overlap Attribution Model

Full Paid Overlap + Facebook Views

This attribution model provides the most accurate Facebook ROAS because it calculates your return using both Polar Pixel first-party data and Facebook view-only metrics.

Why do we need both?

While the Polar Pixel captures conversions that Facebook misses due to third-party tracking, it is unable to identify conversions where there was no click—in other words, where there was only a view that led to a purchase. 

The good news is that Facebook is great at tracking this. So, we’ve combined the two to bring you the this combined attribution Model.

This model is ideal for analyzing Facebook Ads to understand the potential increase in ROI by including view-through traffic.

Use it to get a more accurate picture of how your ads are performing by considering not just clicks but also views that lead to conversions.

📈 Data-Driven Models

Full Impact Attribution

The Full Impact model offers an innovative approach in understanding paid marketing success. 

Full Impact looks at every paid touchpoint to understand what helps make a sale and uses advanced learning algorithms to assign attribution credit by impact.

This model’s goal is to keep improving by learning from new data. It’s great for forward-thinking brands looking to leverage advanced analytics and machine learning to measure the comprehensive impact of their marketing efforts

Setting Up and Taking Action

A wide range of attribution models gives brands a clear understanding of their marketing performance. 

Whether your focus is on evaluating the initial awareness created by your marketing efforts, understanding the impact of the final nudge towards conversion, or anything in between, there’s a model tailored to meet your needs.

Leveraging these insights, brands can fine-tune their strategies, allocate budgets more efficiently, and ultimately drive greater ROI. 

The choice of model(s) depends on your marketing objectives, the complexity of your customer journeys, and the specific insights you're looking to gain. Experimenting with different models can provide a fuller picture of how your marketing efforts contribute to your overall business success.

Start by:

  1. Assessing your current marketing strategy: Identify which stages of the customer journey are most critical to your business goals.
  2. Integrating Polar Pixel: Ensure accurate data collection across all touchpoints.
  3. Choosing your model(s): Based on your marketing focus, select the model that best fits your needs — don’t be scared to try and compare a few.
  4. Applying insights: Use the data to refine your marketing strategies, focusing on the channels and touchpoints that drive the most value.

So go ahead and add another channel to the mix. As long as you’re tracking them right, and optimizing fast, you’re one step closer to growth.

Want to know more about Polar Analytics' Attribution Models? Book a personalized demo or test drive our demo app to learn more.


Which attribution model is right for my Shopify store?

It depends on your marketing goals and strategies. Experiment with different models to see which aligns best with your objectives.

How can I implement Polar Analytics’ models into my marketing strategy?

Start by integrating Polar Pixel with your Shopify store to collect data. Then, explore the models and apply insights to refine your marketing efforts.

Can these models help with budget allocation?

Absolutely! By identifying high-performing channels, you can allocate your budget more effectively to maximize ROI.

By harnessing the power of Polar Analytics' attribution models, Shopify brands can unlock new levels of marketing efficiency and effectiveness. So why wait?

Join 2,700+ leading Shopify brands around the world using Polar Analytics to stop manually compiling their data

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