A Publisher's Perspective on Cross-Channel Attribution Challenges - eMarketer
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A Publisher's Perspective on Cross-Channel Attribution Challenges


Peter Foster
General Manager, Global Advertising and Brand Solutions
Match Group

As consumers embark on increasingly complex buying journeys that touch multiple channels, marketers continue to struggle with cross-channel attribution. But where do publishers fit in the attribution equation, and can they ease marketers’ pain? Peter Foster, general manager of global advertising and brand solutions at Match Group, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about the role publishers play in cross-channel attribution and discussed the limitations of existing attribution models.

eMarketer: What are marketers’ biggest cross-channel attribution challenges?

Peter Foster: The main challenge from a marketer’s perspective is being able to manage user frequency, performance and conversion on all of the channels where they buy media. Many marketers are still struggling to connect activity between mobile web, desktop and apps, so it’s our job as a publisher with a great deal of insight into our audience to leverage technology that arms marketers with the data they need to make media decisions.

“Marketers need insight on who they’re reaching and how frequently, and publishers have to be able to deliver that insight.”

eMarketer: Can you elaborate on the type of technology you rely on, and how it empowers marketers?

Foster: First and foremost are reporting tools. Marketers need insight on who they’re reaching and how frequently, and publishers have to be able to deliver that insight. Publishers also need to leverage tools that enable marketers to optimize campaigns around the metrics that they provide.

From a publisher’s perspective, regardless of the attribution model that marketers are using, we want to give them the opportunity to understand where their media is going so they can make improvements based on what they’re seeing from a reporting and an attribution perspective.

eMarketer: Are marketers limited by existing attribution models?

Foster: Yes, there are limitations on the technology side. The biggest piece of the puzzle that’s still missing is an identity graph, because marketers still don’t always know whether or not the same consumers are being reached across multiple platforms.

We are lucky because our users are logged in across our properties, including Tinder, Match.com and OkCupid. That’s a key advantage that other multiplatform publishers might not have. There are ways around that issue—for example, there are technologies than can provide an identity thread, feed it into a data management platform and empower marketers, but the problem is that the identity match rate that those solutions provide is still not ideal.

“The closer technology providers get to a unified ID, the better off both marketers and publishers will be.”

eMarketer: How important is offline data when it comes to attribution? Does it complicate attribution even further?

Foster: It’s all part of the same challenge. From our perspective, as long as we understand who marketers want to reach and how effective they are at reaching that audience, then we have the ability to manipulate our media and provide better results. Obviously, marketers buy media from multiple publishers and use both online and offline data to inform their decisions. It’s a feedback—the more we understand how they’re making their decisions, the more helpful we can be.

eMarketer: Do you expect to see innovation in attribution technology in the coming months?

Foster: The closer technology providers get to a unified ID, the better off both marketers and publishers will be. The main innovation that would change the entire ecosystem would be some sort of federated ID that was anonymous, but consistent across all technology platforms.

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