Tracking Attribution and Performance

In a multi-channel digital advertising environment, Matt Fusco tells us why it is imperative to be able to connect online and offline activity together, at scale, in order to measure the true effectiveness of your advertising, and how a  unified view of the metrics from multiple online and offline channels can drive your multi-touch attribution calculations.

What is the gap your customers are facing? What are the top 3-5 challenges marketers face with tracking and attributing performance of their media activity at present?

It is common knowledge that people consume advertising across a multitude of channels and that any resulting transaction that takes place likely was influenced fractionally by each exposure. However, since identifiers available to track advertising are inconsistent across media and conversion channels, connecting this behavior is difficult. And when you take into account both online and offline channels, the complexity of this exercise expands exponentially.

Some of the top challenges marketers face, as a result of this measurement gap:

  1. They are forced to measure channels in silos and then stitch results together loosely, resulting in an inaccurate view of results.
  2. They are required to utilize multiple partners with different methodologies to cover all channels, resulting in inconsistent measurement results at a high financial cost.
  3. Additionally, either from the use of a very small sample size/minimal scale and/or a flawed underlying tracking methodologies, missed conversions are common – diluting the perceived effectiveness of the overall results.

What are the 3-5 critical business impact areas of tracking digital media performance in an omni-channel world?

First off, I would not limit this to digital. If you are seeking true, omni-channel measurement you need to include offline channels as well.


as you begin to unify your measurement data, you need to determine if the resources being allocated to your respective media efforts are allocated correctly.

This includes people, products and processes. Most likely, you will realize that in some cases you have unnecessary overlap in efforts. Or, in other cases you may be under-resourced when you realize certain channels are performing better than previously understood.

Third, it will force your business to look at operating in a more unified manner. We all know that one consumer “lives” across multiple screens so we now need to unify our internal systems to measure and optimize this as well. 

Could you tell us 1 or 2 stories about how the insights Barometric delivered to a Client helped course correct the media strategy and impact the final outcomes/ conversion?

We worked with a client who was running digital media across mobile and desktop in parallel with a TV campaign. All advertising was aimed at driving a consistent conversion, to sign up to a subscription service. Prior to working with Barometric, the client was not able to measure all these channels in a unified manner and had no real sense if digital, TV or both was driving the conversion. After measuring all channels and utilizing our ability to auto create control groups, the client learned for this particular campaign that TV had minimal impact on driving conversions.

In another example, we worked with a client running digital, specifically search, and direct mail. They never attempted to connect the results from these two channels in the past as it was not possible until they worked with Barometric. We were able to show them that their direct mail was getting insufficient credit in terms of driving a web sign up. The direct mail piece had a customer URL, however the normal consumer behavior was to simply get the direct piece and Google the name of the business. By understanding the combined results, the client was able to more clearly see how each channel played a significant role in achieving the end goal.

The addition of the physical location visits to your model is interesting. Can you tell us more about how that would play out and how you track attribution there?

Majority of retail transactions still take place in-store and, depending upon the vertical, it is reasonable to assume that physical retail will be around in some form or fashion indefinitely. As such

 it is imperative to be able to connect online and offline activity together, at scale, in order to measure the true effectiveness of your advertising.

Utilizing its proprietary postal founded device graph, Barometric is able to stitch together all digital behavior and then match that with multiple offline data sets (beacons, location enabled apps, etc.) to create a holistic online to offline view of the effectiveness of your advertising dollars.

Your solution says it goes beyond identifying and collecting metrics to also unifying the metrics against media performance. How is this different to what’s happening at present, and specifically different from cross-device tracking & measurement?

In most cases, marketers are utilizing separate, siloed solutions to measure their media spend

(e.g. one platform to measure display advertising campaigns, one platform to measure physical visit and one platform to measure TV). By using multiple unconnected platforms, marketers are then required to stitch all the siloed data together to analyze results, which results in an aesthetic view – at best – of the cross-environment results of their marketing spend.Barometric is able to unify, in one platform, the performance across all digital and non-digital channels. In addition, we layer on top additional metrics tied to this unified data set. For instance, we include reach and frequency analysis, path to purchase reporting and demographic reporting.

Why should a CMO be thinking seriously about this sort of unified tracking solution? What competitive advantage can it deliver?

Put simply, a business needs complete and accurate tracking data (online and offline) in order to begin to understand the effectiveness and efficiency of their advertising dollars.  This unified data set can be used to drive MTA (Multi-Touch Attribution) calculations, fed into targeting platforms to better optimize campaign spend based upon actual conversion data as well as to ensure valuable advertising dollars are not being wasted by spending in underperforming channels or by reaching the same consumer with the same advertising too many times (e.g. inability to measure reach and frequency appropriately). In short, the use cases are many but the value is simple.

Let’s talk about attribution. How can a mid-level marketer in an enterprise with complex omni-channel marketing put attribution into perspective? If you could share 5 vital things they must know about attribution, what would they be?

It starts with the basic acceptance that you can no longer rely on measuring your marketing efforts in silos and, while it isn’t something that happens overnight, you need to have a plan to begin looking more holistically at all efforts combined.

Second, your ability to perform any form of fractional attribution is only as good as the data that is fed into your calculations. The system or systems you use for tracking need to be able to measure most, if not all, channels in which you deliver advertising.

Third, ensure that you understand the underlying methodologies utilized by any third-party platforms used to capture or analyze data. Do not use any black box solutions that are unwilling to share how they do what they do because you will have a massive blind spot when making decisions on the results obtained.

Forth, perfection isn’t the goal out of the gate. Understand that this is an iterative process and not a ‘set it and forget it’ type exercise. The technologies used and the processes developed to measure your omni-channel marketing need to be able to evolve and be refined to utilize past learnings in order to strive continuously for a more unified and accurate view of your results.

Fifth, remove any political barriers that may skew your results. What do I mean?

Often times it’s the political challenges within an organization that present the biggest barriers to understanding cross-environment advertising effectiveness

For example, if the compensation structure is based upon a respective channel showing success (e.g. search or direct mail) each group will be less receptive to seeing the big picture and more likely fight to show their channel drove the most success.

If a marketer could pick only 5 metrics to measure the heath of their digital marketing program across all media, what should they be?

Not be repetitive, but I would not limit this to solely digital media and instead include all media. For instance, we are able to measure the effectiveness of direct mail and, in a lot of cases, it is the direct mail piece that drove a consumer to search on Google and then make a purchase.If you didn’t track direct mail in this sample, you would be over-allocating credit to search.

1. Conversions. The goal of all marketing is to drive a conversion which, in most cases, is a sale.

2. Effectiveness of media performance to understand which channels played the biggest role in driving my conversions.

3. Efficiency of my media spend with a cross-environment reach and frequency analysis. Am I wasting media dollars hitting the same person 10 times across different media partners and media channels when I believe that the optimal frequency is five?

4. Quality of the media in which I’m serving my ads – from both an IVT (invalid traffic) and a site level perspective – to make sure my media was being served to real people across real sites. There is a lot of fraud in digital, costing marketers billions of dollars.

5. Strength of the conversions attributed to my respective media spends. Specifically, how strong of a match is there between my media and the attributed conversion? Was it a strong, deterministically-matched conversion (e.g. IDFA to IDFA) or a weak match (e.g. IP address to IP address)?  This would allow me to understand which conversion data is best to use to optimize going forward.

If someone were to say to you, “I don’t worry about the analytics, I only track the number of new leads I get,” how would you respond?

In short

without analyzing the underlying data behind your cross-channel marketing efforts you are missing out on lots of chances to help you be more efficient and more effective in your overall efforts

While it’s important to track the conversion (in this example, the lead), unless you are measuring all channels in which you are serving your media, you won’t understand which media had the biggest impact in driving that lead. You will miss the data that tells you that certain media, while not the actual conversion touch point, did play a role in assisting the final conversion. You will miss the data that tells you that you are reaching the same consumer 10 times and wasting media dollars. It’s good to measure the bottom of the funnel, but unless you measure and analyze all of the media and conversion environments with at least some degree of sophistication, you are leaving a lot up to chance and will be at a disadvantage to your competitors who are taking a more thoughtful approach.

Let’s wrap up with a look forward. How do you see omni-channel media metrics evolving over the next 5 years?

While there are certain technical and political hurdles that need to be overcome by each brand, omni-channel measurement and the metrics driven from it are foundational elements that need to be in place in order to drive all the advertising and consumer experience innovation that exist on the surface.

I may be a bit idealistic, but in five years I see all companies having a system and related processes in place to capture, analyze and optimize all consumer touch points. When my children look at their phones, TVs and laptops, they don’t see three different “environments.” Their expectation is that no matter what screen they are looking at, their experience with a particular brand will be consistent. This expectation will continue to solidify as we move forward and those brands that lead in this effort will have a significant advantage over those that lag behind.






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