Mar 2, 2021

The Evolution of Ad Measurement & Attribution

A World Beyond Cookies Addressable advertising, which relies on the ability to identify audiences in order to serve them the right message at the right time, is the default in the digital world. However, as the media landscape becomes increasingly privacy-focused, crowded, and complex, marketers have entered an age of uncertainty and are under more…


A World Beyond Cookies

Addressable advertising, which relies on the ability to identify audiences in order to serve them the right message at the right time, is the default in the digital world. However, as the media landscape becomes increasingly privacy-focused, crowded, and complex, marketers have entered an age of uncertainty and are under more pressure to prove ROI. The industry is facing an “identity crisis”. With more roadblocks to targeting and campaign measurement, dramatic shifts are already underway. Google announced that it is delaying its plans to phase out third-party cookies in the Chrome browser until 2023, a year or so later than originally planned. Apple will only allow access to consented users’ IDFAs (Identity for Advertisers). These shifts are forcing advertisers to rethink their media strategy and pivot the ways they target audiences and track ad exposure, as they navigate the new opt-in, consent-driven ad landscape.

We’ve Come a Long Way

Models for marketing attribution have been used for many decades, but as the needs of customers have changed and companies have undergone digital transformations, marketing attribution has evolved. The roots of marketing mix models (MMMs) can be traced back to the 1950s. This approach gained popularity into the 1980s (partially due to lack of viable alternatives). Today, however, these older attribution models lag behind in a digital world. The transition to digital has provided marketers with new tools and technology to revitalize marketing attribution models, making it possible to track each step of the customer journey.

Cross-platform, cross-device measurement has long been a holy grail for advertisers, with brands increasingly focusing on return on investment (ROI)/return on ad spend (ROAS). The ability to understand how consumers are interacting within the purchase funnel is essential to prove the value of your ad spend. Return on ad spend is a key indicator for the success of a campaign because it helps determine the efficiency of every dollar spent across specific channels, or the campaign as a whole. ROAS combined with attribution and incremental lift analyses, provide marketers with the intelligence to effectively optimize their campaigns.

To accurately calculate ROAS, advertisers need to know exactly how many buyers converted or took action as a direct result of their campaign. As campaigns become more complex in today’s multichannel world, accurate campaign measurement and attribution has become a major struggle for advertisers and agencies, and, unfortunately, many lack the time and resources to do so. Not to mention, a list of long-standing measurement and attribution problems that plague marketers, including a lack of standardized metrics and definitions across traditional and digital TV and video, issues with basic data accuracy and infrastructure, a lack of organizational alignment, and the difficulty of understanding and validating attribution models.

Given the increased focus on consumer data privacy and diminishing returns from spending on performance channels like search and social, advertisers are rethinking media channels, audience targeting tactics, and campaign measurement. The ability to track a customer journey and measure ad impact is incredibly powerful, especially for today’s agile marketers that are laser-focused on managing and optimizing their spend with flexibility in a changing environment. As brands seize pandemic recovery opportunities, connecting the dots between investment and quantifiable results is essential to make informed ad spending decisions to maximize campaign outcomes. For this reason, CTV has become a top choice for performance marketing as it solves certain industry measurement challenges—providing scale, precision, recency, and relevance capabilities while driving strong returns.

CTV is the Place to Be

As advertisers follow their audiences, the ability to target a consumer with precision and rapidly increasing scale will see CTV capture an even bigger share of media budgets this year. While television has traditionally been used as an awareness channel due to measurement limitations, CTV’s digital capabilities allow advertisers to attribute performance metrics to their campaigns and capture buyer journeys across touchpoints to see which common paths lead to conversions. CTV drives ad performance and eliminates any guesswork—allowing for automation, in-depth targeting, and maximum efficiency. CTV is not a set-it-and-forget-it platform, it allows real-time analytics which fuels campaign optimization and eliminates waste. The pandemic forced marketers to become nimble and flexible with their media plans and extra conscious regarding ad budgets. As a result, marketers are now demanding data-driven advertising and automation capabilities more than ever before. CTV allows advertisers to drive incremental lift and create a lasting impact among key audiences and get the maximum value out of their ad budget—unlocking the full potential of this targetable, measurable channel.

The ad space is experiencing a transformational period, introducing techniques and tactics that will lay the groundwork for future practices. Our VP of Business Development and Strategy, Ben Brenner, explains “There has been significant growth of streaming content during the pandemic, with an increased focus on streaming wars. Simultaneously, there’s been a behind-the-scenes battle as companies vie to become major players in the ad industry that supports these OTT streamers. The product(s) that will emerge victorious won’t have the sleekest dashboards or the biggest brand names attached. Instead, they’ll be the products that work for sophisticated advertisers—the ones who don’t just ask who their ad reached but also ask what happened after their ad reached them. Marketers are becoming smarter as they explore the space—and with that comes innovation. Long gone are the days where VCR% and a domain list were sufficient from a measurement standpoint.”

As advertiser needs have evolved, campaign metrics have too. Advertisers who focus on the wrong metrics, however, run the risk of missing out on more actionable insights and opportunities. For example, CTR has long been a popular metric but CTR isn’t the best option for measuring real, engaged audiences. Instead, advertisers should focus on viewability, which offers placement and measurement on high-quality, trustworthy publishers. This is just one example of how available campaign data has improved and evolved to better meet campaign goals.

The Digital Remedy Solution

It’s no secret that advertisers and agencies are strapped for time and resources. Our Flip OTT solution optimizes campaigns in real time—pinpointing exactly where conversions and revenue are coming from—to effectively connect the dots along the consumer journey, maximize ROI, and drive future marketing decisions. Flip tracks performance in real time tying CTV ad impressions to physical consumer actions, providing key campaign metrics in a holistic, easy-to-digest dashboard, which allows clients to determine what channels and variables are working and what needs to be pivoted.

How Digital Remedy is Evolving

Working in the digital ad space, we understand that change is inevitable. Our team is constantly auditing our partnerships, vetting new vendors, and monitoring industry trends. During our 20+ years in the digital space, we’ve introduced and upgraded our products to address ever-changing industry needs in order to continuously provide our clients with the competitive advantage needed to stay one step ahead of the game and uncover previously unattainable insights.

“Advances in OTT product offerings will continue. Our Flip solution will soon be able to track brand lift and incremental sales lift in real time, in addition to direct traffic and sales driven from campaigns, which is becoming more common across other products. I expect that measurement will cease to be the last step in the process. Measurement is a means to an end, and that end is an advertising product in the OTT space that actually works for any KPI. That means optimization—being able to drive higher ROAS, incremental or brand lift, or lower CPA as the campaign runs, which is where Flip excels.”

– Ben Brenner, VP, Business Development and Strategy

Click here to discover Flip, our OTT/CTV attribution platform, and to stay updated on the latest industry trends and insights, follow us on LinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.