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Embracing the Attribution Revolution

Posted by James Green on September 27th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Last week, Magnetic hosted the Attribution Revolution, an event in New York City that featured a panel discussion comprised of some of the greatest minds in digital ad measurement, to debate the hottest topic in today’s digital space – attribution. But while attribution has remained top of mind for marketers for some time, the industry as a whole continues to debate over the best way to measure the value of media performance across channels.

Panelists included Bill Kee, Product Manager at Google; Jeff Greenfield, COO & Co-Founder of C3 Metrics; John Bates, Product Manager for Predictive Marketing Solutions at Adobe; and Paul Pellman, CEO of Adometry. Moderated by myself, the event provided an opportunity for each company to share their opinions on the topic and debate over which method is most effective. Additionally, we had great participation from the audience, which fueled questions around QR codes, offline and online measurement and implementation.

Below, I’ve outlined a few key takeaways from the panel:

  • Attribution currently captures all of the effects that offline media has in the digital space. But as television and print channels begin to recognize and embrace digital, marketing mixes will begin to shift. Attribution now offers digital media the opportunity to engage in a conversation on its own terms – and as a result, marketers should consider how all media is working (e.g. what channels are effective and what channels are simply not worth it).
  • While digital has had a major influence on today’s marketplace, offline media and digital are joining forces in new ways, such as smart phone technology and QR codes. Along with this innovation, marketers are now to attribute offline efforts to digital experiences.
  • When it comes to implementation, several opinions were voiced on the panel:
    • C3 Metrics believes in starting small and layering in one piece of data at a time so that there are incremental increases. This is especially helpful when working with clients who do not fully understand attribution.
    • Adometry, on the other hand, uses an algorithm, and believes the first bite should be more significant. Building reinforcement through proven data and insights is the key to change.
  • Most panelists agreed that last-click is not accurate. But if this is the case, then why is it so widely used?
    • C3 Metrics explained that last-click is simple to understand, so CMOs naturally gravitate to that method first. It’s something that can be explained in a few minutes, so it’s an ideal first method to share with a CEO or board members.
    • Adobe disagreed on this point, asserting that since last-click is so erroneous, it’s foolish for marketers to rely upon it for measurement.
    • Google, on the other hand, has found success by looking at all of the different options, viewing them as opportunities to invest in attribution models those marketers haven’t invested in before.
  • So, what does the future hold for digital ad measurement? Ultimately, attribution is a step in the right direction toward prime digital optimization. And the key to success will be bringing digital and offline media together.

While the Attribution Revolution panel brought a variety of opinions to the table, it remains clear that the attribution debate will not be shelved anytime soon. Marketers are only beginning to increase their digital advertising spend once an effective form of measurement is in place – and it’s in the best interest for both brands and agencies to embrace attribution.

To learn more about attribution and to view the full panel discussion, please visit:

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