Three Ways Advertisers Can Capitalize On Improved TV Attribution

Adam Ortman Generator Media copy

"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.

Today’s column is written by Adam Ortman, VP of growth and innovation at Generator Media + Analytics.

When it comes to advertising, the internet reigns supreme. Digital media accounted for nearly half of global ad spend last year, and it will almost certainly eclipse the 50% mark by the end of 2021. But where do the rest of the ad dollars go?

According to industry forecasts, much of that money will be aimed at traditional TV advertising, according to eMarketer. This fact might sound counterintuitive to brands chasing the attention of niche audiences on TikTok and YouTube, but there’s a good reason for it.

For everything that linear TV lacks when pitted against digital media, it still presents cost efficiencies in terms of reach that no other channel can match. As new, tech-enabled attribution approaches continue to be tested and refined, it’s getting easier to quantify the value that TV advertising provides.

Getting More for Less

I’ve spent the last 18 months helping teams vet and test nearly 20 attribution providers. For the most part, these tests have focused on offline to online attribution, and the data is extremely rich.

Thanks to the ongoing evolution in modeling and advanced analytics, it’s now possible to reasonably attribute on-site activity back to a specific ad spot on linear TV. That attribution data at the spot level provides a foundation for more granular analysis, including linking sales and certain website actions to particular networks, creative elements, dayparts and consumer programming.

The result? Advertisers get the insights digital media provides – including large amounts of data and a great deal of media accountability – with the efficiency of reach that only linear TV can offer. And the attribution tools at their disposal are only going to get better.

With that in mind, here are three ways advertisers can begin to maximize the data they’re pulling from TV attribution.

Know what you’re measuring

TV can provide a great deal of impact across a broad consumer base, so it’s worth measuring – especially if you’re looking to connect a linear TV buy to online activity (or even retail sales in some cases). You could study any number of metrics, including bounce rates, abandoned visits, interaction rates, time on-site and pages viewed per session. These are all good indicators of engagement and awareness. When looking to assess the true impact of an ad buy, the focal point should be the sale or lead metric – your bottom line.

Keep the big picture in mind 

Unfortunately for advertisers, modern consumer purchase journeys are anything but linear. If you’re running campaigns on multiple media channels, it’s difficult to accurately attribute consumer activities to any specific channel. You want to take the full picture of your marketing funnel into consideration, and this will generally look a little different for every brand. Metrics like sales cycle length, product cost and others (especially the media mix in question) will always influence the level of attribution and transparency that’s possible.

Choose the right model for your goals

There’s more than one attribution model you can use to credit sales to specific channels. For example, the last interaction model gives all credit for a sale to the last touch point the customer visited before purchasing. The linear attribution model spreads credit evenly among all touch points a customer interacted with on the path to purchase, and the position-based attribution model gives more weight to both the first and last touch points, spreading the rest of the credit among those in the middle.

Any of these can be useful, but it’s important that marketers choose models based on their brand’s unique conversion funnel. Some brands may find that a linear attribution model suits their needs, while others may need to take a more customized approach that allows them to collect different data and also incorporates aspects of various models.

However you decide to proceed, take your time when choosing an attribution model. Test extensively, prioritize the metrics that matter most to your bottom line and look for one that best aligns with the campaign you’re running. There is no right attribution approach, but there is one that’s right for you.

Follow Generator Media (@GeneratorMedia) and AdExchanger (@AdExchanger) on Twitter.

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