Digiday Summit Tackles Attribution

May 24, 2022

Earlier this month a few Cicerones re-entered the world of in-person industry conferences and attended the Digiday Programmatic Summit in Palm Springs. Here are their big takeaways.

One thing you couldn’t deny while attending Digiday’s Programmatic Summit was that measurement and attribution are on everyone’s mind. But how to move forward was not as clear cut. 

The great attribution dilemma

Where people agree: last-touch attribution is not the right solution, and it hasn’t been for some time. It is, however, the most direct way to showcase the worth of a specific channel. And if you’re trying to report on results or justify your budget, you don’t want to deal with squishy number crunching. 

That’s where things get complicated. The most comforting numbers only tell a piece of the story and will never actually showcase if your media is moving the needle on overall business goals. To do this, you need to incorporate patience and trust in the process to see if a campaign is ‘working’ based on how the business is impacted over time (not always an easy ask).

Over the course of the summit, the topic of measurement and attribution came up in many ways, and multiple solutions began to surface.

  • Direct response campaigns are suffering the most. Since the marketers’ dollars are tied so closely to results, they are replacing last-click models with channel-specific success metrics which may or may not necessarily be the right indicators to define if a channel or plan is working to achieve the goals.
  • New metrics methodologies, such as attention rates, are starting to emerge. With many of these not yet widespread, it will definitely take some time for most people to adopt them, let alone agree upon what ‘great’ looks like. 
  • Deterministic metrics vs. probabilistic metrics is a moving target. Views are shifting when it comes to showing actual impact, taking into account more holistic attribution models, lift studies, foot traffic results, etc. 

So, what now?

At the end of the day, we as marketers need to redefine how our go-to market strategies determine measurement and success upfront. Agency partners need to educate their clients on the shifting landscape and how measurement and attribution will change in upcoming campaigns. This includes defining which metrics matter, making sure those metrics do not conflict with one another, and then having patience to let the channels deliver against the strategies. Optimizations can always occur, but we need to resist knee-jerk reactions to make decisions solely on baseline metrics and instead focus on changes that align to our overall goals.