A marketer who attributes value to channels smartly will continue to discover the fundamental part organic search plays. ResponseTap’s Marketing Manager Lucy Hardaker explains why.

Customers are busy and conscious of cost and value for money. With all the information people instantly have available to them, today’s decision-making process and buying cycle is complex, which is why attribution is more important than ever.

A customer who is looking to book a luxury cruise holiday is not going to book the first cruise they see. They will look around multiple websites, scour social media channels, search for deals through search engines, read review websites and click on digital adverts targeted to them. Within this journey, organic search could contribute heavily to a customer coming across your website.


Let’s say from an initial search for ‘Mediterranean cruises’, you haven’t ranked highly organically but the customer clicks on your PPC advert; they then stay on your site for 10 seconds, before leaving.

After some more thought on their cruise holiday they go back online but this time search for ‘Cheap Mediterranean cruise deals’, for which you rank first in the organic results and they click through from this organic result to your site. They still don’t purchase though, and instead look at the prices on your website, before leaving to look around your competitors to compare.

As they look at competitor sites, they click on a retargeting advert from you, as it’s for an offer they didn’t see on your site previously, before leaving again. After much consideration, they come to your website directly days later, and book their cruise.


So which channel in a scenario like the above gets the most credit? This depends on your attribution model. Your chosen method also determines what value is placed on the organic search activity. This is crucial given that organic search ultimately drove the conversion. 

If you used:

–        Last interaction model: the direct channel would receive 100 per cent of the credit. This is probably the most inaccurate of all models.

–        Last non-direct click model: the direct channel is ignored and all credit will go to the retargeting ad, despite coming in at a later stage, completely ignoring the organic journey.

–        Last Google Ads click model: This would again give all credit to the retargeting advert, with organic still not featuring.

–        First interaction model: The initial PPC advert would get 100 per cent of the credit. It did drive the user to the site initially, but only for ten seconds.

–        Linear mode: this is the first model that would attribute any credit to organic search. Using a linear mode, all four channels, paid, organic, retargeting and direct would each be given 25% of the final value.

–        Time Decay model: this would credit the channels closest to the conversion the most, so organic would receive some value, but as it was the second interaction, it would have less weight than retargeting and direct.

–        Position Based model: Using this method, 40 per cent is assigned to first and last interactions. This wouldn’t help organic here, as the first entrance was paid and last was direct. There would be some credit assigned, but only 10 per cent, despite it being a main driver.

In this case, the best model would be linear. This way, organic search would receive 25 per cent of credit for the conversion so it’s not being overlooked, and rightly so.


Understanding the user journey and the evolution of your customers’ behavior instead of looking at end revenue figures, is what has resulted in SEO becoming just one element of the wider term of digital marketing.

If your role is SEO, then you can ensure the value of your work is recognised by making it measurable through the best attribution model. Most importantly though, knowing the part each channel played accurately will inform your strategy, so you can drive even more conversions.


Understanding the importance of attribution led us to develop Smart Match. Our ResponseTap platform measures the number of phone calls a campaign generates and provides insight into the channels driving calls, which can be viewed by various attribution models. Smart Match takes this one step further and now you can attribute the value of phone calls to your channels and marketing activity, even when the sale or conversion was made over the phone.

Ultimately, marketers must be able to see their true ROI in order to run a successful campaign and prove their worth within their business.

You can find out more about how ResponseTap’s different attribution models can help you get more out of your marketing budget, in our free Attribution Toolkit here