The following example helps illustrate the differences between First and Last Touch metrics:

  1. A user sees an ad on Google that you have paid for, and clicks through to your site.
  2. They browse around several pages, then leave.
  3. A couple of days later, that same user comes back through your site via natural search.
  4. This visit, they end up making a purchase.

Every time a success event occurs, Adobe Analytics looks at the entire visitor's activity and history (back to the visitor's engagement expiration). It notes the first channel the user came through, as well as the most recent channel. It then gives credit of the success event to each appropriate channel. In this specific instance, Paid Search receives a First Touch order, and Natural Search receives a Last Touch order. If there were additional channels involved with this visitor, they are discarded. Marketing Channels only cares about the first channel and most recent channel when the success event fires.

Every success event instance has exactly one First Touch channel and exactly one Last Touch channel. If you add up a given metric column for any success event, it always equals the total for the same time period. This total also equals the total number of events in the appropriate Site Metrics > Custom Events report. Nonsuccess event metrics, such as visits and visitors, do not match up 1:1, as multiple channels can fire in the same visit.

For additional information on First and Last Touch metrics, see the Marketing Channel User Guide.

Additional resources