Marketing measurement in a privacy-first world.

The Future of Marketing Attribution

Attribution has been around for decades. Initially, marketing departments used media mix modelling (MMM). The rise of digital media introduced us to first click, last click and other simple attribution models. Fast forward to 2019: the evolution of digital media brought us multi-touch attribution (MTA). Forrester now states the future of marketing attribution will be unified attribution: combining the best of MMM and MTA in a holistic model that captures granularity where it is available.

But the rules are changing. GDPR and ITP 2 preserve privacy but challenge marketers, and now Google announced they will start blocking third-party cookies by default in February 2020. The protection of personal data is a good thing. But it leaves us wondering what the impact on marketing measurement will be.

So can we Still Carry out MTA?

MTA requires user-level data. The data we have access to may change, but the business question is still relevant. After all, marketing departments still want to make media accountable and transparent. There are two solutions to the lack of user-level data: alternative modelling and data partnerships.

Alternative Modelling

For some media channels, such as Display, we can’t carry out MTA if we don’t have access to user-level data. Luckily, we can still include Display in the unified model using MMM. Keep in mind this is no longer the same MMM developed half a century ago. We have been updating and innovating our models in order to ensure we can include all media channels, even if cookies are completely blocked.

Data Partnerships

The leading advertising platforms such as Google and Facebook are putting the privacy of their users first, making it more difficult for advertisers to access user-level data. Instead, they work together with analytics companies to provide shared clients with data that can no longer be traced back to individuals, but still offers valuable information about behavior.

data partnerships: future of marketing attribution

So the future of marketing attribution and measurement lies in developing new modelling techniques and engaging in data partnerships. Decreased reliance on cookies also offers advertisers the opportunity to address some of their other challenges; to zoom out and regain focus on their omnichannel strategy and how they incorporate their sales channels.