Latest Forrester Wave Marries Marketing Mix Modeling And Multitouch Attribution

tinaLike the measurement industry it tracks, Forrester’s Cross-Channel Attribution Wave has evolved.

Now dubbed the Marketing Measurement and Optimization Solutions Wave, Forrester noted a migration toward more unified measurement in its latest edition, released Tuesday.

“Several tried-and-true approaches to measuring marketing effectiveness served their purpose for a long period of time,” said Tina Moffett, a senior analyst at Forrester and a co-author of the report. “We’re seeing a shift among vendors who are taking a unified approach to marketing performance and providing overall services to support brand clients. There’s a big change-management component to it.”

Vendor consolidation has also played a role in Forrester’s new regime. In the past two years, Google acquired Adometry, AOL snapped up Convertro and Neustar bought MarketShare. And several players have bolted media-mix modeling (MMM) onto digital attribution offerings.

How The Measurers Stack Up

Forrester designated three companies as “Leaders,” the Wave’s highest accolade: Marketing Evolution, Analytic Partners and Neustar/MarketShare.

Although one client Forrester interviewed had a sense that some Neustar/MarketShare products “don’t necessarily talk to each other,” Forrester noted most MarketShare clients report little disruption to their services during the integration process.

Marketing Evolution and Analytic Partners, two companies that may be less familiar to dyed-in-the-wool digital marketers, both offer a services component.

“[Analytic Partners] have a really good sense of how you use marketing analytics to drive marketing decisions,” Moffett said.

AOL’s multitouch attribution tool, Convertro, earned a “Strong Performer” badge, mostly impressing Moffett with its launch of a combined media-mix modeling and MTA offering called the Unified Marketing Activation Platform.

As with Neustar, Forrester noted Convertro’s push to bridge the gap between cross-device identity and traditional marketing analytics received an assist from new parent Verizon’s deterministic logins.

“However, its capabilities don’t yet match its strong vision and strategy: Its heritage as an attribution provider makes it stronger in tactical marketing optimization than strategic marketing planning,” Forrester noted.

Like Convertro, Google/Adometry has made regular appearances in Forrester’s cross-channel attribution wave. It’s worth noting that Google slipped a couple notches to a “Contender” in the category this year from a “Leader” designation in 2014.

One of the biggest evolutions of Adometry’s product was a revamp of its core attribution product to include marketing-mix and TV attribution models within the Google Analytics 360 Suite, according to Forrester.

That said, Forrester claims Google “has yet to provide a comprehensive unified measurement approach or invest in resources that provide deep expertise in non-digital channels.” Google, however, claims interest in deepening its access to third-party data sets, like frequent shopper data.

What about indie attribution provider VisualIQ? Ranked as a “Strong Performer,” VisualIQ’s strength is in digital – specifically, display, online video and paid search.

VisualIQ’s also pretty solid at integrating offline conversion data into larger digital attribution models. But Forrester said Visual IQ “lacks a complete unified marketing impact analytics solution,” and needs more insight into traditional media channels.

MMM Still Matters

Forrester’s inclusion of MMM in its new Wave demonstrates its continued relevance. The tactic is still commonly used by consumer packaged-goods brands to track revenue impact, while digital attribution has been the choice of many web-based marketers.

But it no longer makes sense to treat them separately. MMM told a marketer where it should optimize, based on data in aggregate. Attribution provided campaign-level insight, but didn’t factor in external attributes, like competitive pricing intelligence or macroeconomic factors impacting marketing performance.

“Marketers wanted to understand the best frequency and cadence between their campaigns and the value of each of their tactical campaigns in digital, offline, direct-response, television and radio,” Moffett said. “That really propelled this adoption of a more unified approach.”

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1 Comment

  1. When it comes to Multi-Touch Attribution, there are no substitute for meticulous data cleansing, educated modelling and smart feature engineering, all mixed with a strong dose of business expertise.

    Most suppliers will happily provide the shovel but the hard part is in the mining.

    You can play as much as you like with the maths, but the degree of fog in the data (unconnected dots and bridges which simply can’t be built, esp. between the off/online ecosystems, other than by sometimes making heroic assumptions) that renders the whole one-platform-sorts-it-all approach rather prone to failure.

    Truth #1 – The problem is that “heroic” in this context is more often than not about “let’s not piss-off the client by telling a story they don’t want to hear” and such degree of pragmatism tends to be self-reinforcing once you loop through the wash-rinse-spin cycle several times.

    Truth #2 – If you want to do it properly it’s hard work plus experience. The latter, I’m afraid, can’t be substituted by either cute maths and/or data, although in the balance of probabilities being good at smelling the key data goes a long mileage.