Adexchanger recently published a timely article “Breaking through the Attribution Canopy” on the Attribution marketplace (view it on Encore’s facebook page). Overall they did a good job of highlighting the conflicts of interest that are inherent when your media vendor is also your trusted source of insights. They also touched on the emergence of new solutions that are designed to address the needs of the larger market. Along with other industry executives, I was quoted in the interview.
During the interview, we discussed a lot of issues surrounding media attribution and optimization. But as with any interview, only a few of my comments were published. To provide some context and clarify our POV, here are the key takeaways:
- We are glad to see that Attribution has (finally) reached a tipping point. Brands, agencies, DSPs and media platforms are scrambling to leverage machine-based insights to optimize media spend. Continuing to rely on last-touch KPIs for is simply a lazy and irresponsible approach to measuring media.
- We believe measurement, analysis and optimization decisions should be driven by the advertiser, its agency or an independent solution provider, not its media vendor. Even if the fox is friendly, it shouldn’t be in the hen house.
- We also believe data should be easily ported, integrated and made available for analysis, regardless of who sells the media or who serves the ads. Openness, transparency and portability are not only ideological values; they also make business sense.
- The growing concentration of power of leading media and technology vendors should be on everyone’s radar as a threat to transparency and openness. If you look at the markets for programmatic display, video advertising, search, social marketing, mobile advertising* and ad serving, the dominant players are making it difficult and expensive to independently analyze their data in the context of other media. The path to marketing and advertising success does not end in a walled garden.
- To date, advanced insights (e.g. algorithmic attribution and data-driven optimization tools) have been reserved for the largest advertisers who can afford six-figure price tags. As the article points out, there is a large unmet need beyond the top 200 advertisers. To address the needs of the thousands of middle market advertisers, a new model (no pun intended) is needed. Heavy, expensive and service-intensive solutions cannot scale across the broader market. The next phase of adoption will be won by light and agile solutions that are affordable and easy to implement.
- To deliver modeled insights at scale, the solution must be automated, efficient, flexible and customizable for each advertiser. It should also be affordable. On this point, we wholeheartedly agree with Forrester’s Tina Moffett “I think one advantage [attribution start-ups] do have is they were able to see the market needs and where the gaps were … and where existing players were falling short.”
For these reasons, we are very excited about the prospects for innovators who are able to address unmet needs for the large and growing middle market.
*For more on my quote that Google gets half of all mobile ad dollars, please see the emarketer report published earlier this year.
As always, thanks for reading and feel free to share comments or contact me if you have any questions.