Problems Of Attribution, With Manu Mathew

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Our guest this week, Manu Mathew, got in on the ground floor of multi-touch attribution (MTA) when he founded Visual IQ. The MTA company rose with the programmatic tide before being acquired by Nielsen in 2017. The category showed huge promise early on, but was clotheslined in 2018 when Google stopped allowing its DoubleClick ID to be linked to ad server log files.

In this episode, Mathew, who served as Visual IQ’s CEO, describes the original vision for Visual IQ and how the MTA category appeared ready to seize the holy grail of marketing: fractional attribution of credit across all digital media impressions, linked directly to user-level transactions. The competitive set grew to include a large handful of well-funded companies, including Clearsaleing, Adometry and Convertro.

“We wrote this machine learning algorithm and were the first to market with an algorithmic based attribution model,” he recalls. “We were the first to… help advertisers understand the true cost of acquiring new users.”

The turning point for the business came when it won three major accounts, including AT&T and Vanguard, back to back. From there, it raised a funding round and grew to more than 250 clients and 350 employees globally.

Also in this episode: Mathew discusses Ad-Lib.io, where he is currently president of the Americas. The company offers creative workflow and optimization tools that rely on a mix of collaboration tools and machine learning.

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