Ad Measurement and Revenue Attribution 2021

Identity Crisis Adds to Long-Standing Challenges

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About This Report
Attributing revenues to marketing touchpoints is one of marketers’ most challenging yet vital tasks. Read on to learn how marketers are approaching the journey to holistic attribution.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Attributing revenues to marketing touchpoints is one of marketers’ biggest challenges. Holistic approaches to attribution help marketers plan media budgets, optimize within channels, and drive incremental outcomes for their business in the most cost-effective way. But putting such approaches into place can be unwieldy—and it’s getting harder.

How will the “identity crisis” affect ad measurement and advertisers’ ability to attribute revenues to marketing touchpoints?

Major changes are coming to how advertisers and others in the ecosystem can identify users across channels and devices. The loss of third-party cookies and changes to Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) will affect ad addressability, but also measurement and attribution. Advertisers are taking steps in response, including more emphasis on first-party data, data collaborations, and modeling-based approaches.

What other problems still exist in cross-platform measurement, and how are advertisers confronting these challenges?

A host of long-standing problems in measurement and attribution still plague marketers, including a lack of standards, issues with basic data accuracy and infrastructure, a lack of organizational alignment, and the difficulty of understanding and validating attribution models.

What should marketers be doing in 2021 to prepare for post-cookie attribution methods?

Past best practices will continue to serve marketers well as they deal with identity-related disruptions. This starts with a serious audit of the data advertisers currently rely on, as well as understanding what data will be lost to them in the future. Implementing a data strategy is a must, along with getting the organization aligned with business outcomes that matter and having channel-level key performance indicators (KPIs) that roll up to those outcomes.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report investigates how marketers and their partners are approaching ad measurement and revenue attribution, and explores best practices for addressing both lingering and new problems facing attribution strategies.

KEY STAT: We estimate that 84.2% of US companies with at least 100 employees will use digital attribution models of some kind in 2021, with 65.3% using multichannel attribution models.

Here’s what’s in the full report

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34expert perspectives

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    Table of Contents

    1. Executive Summary
    2. Revenue Attribution in 2021
    3. The Identity Crisis Brings New Challenges
    4. Best Practices for This Year
    1. The Future of Measurement and Attribution
    2. Key Takeaways
    3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    4. Read Next
    1. Sources
    2. Media Gallery

    Charts in This Report

    Interviewed for This Report

    Rick Bruner
    Central Control
    Founder and CEO
    Interviewed January 19, 2021
    Jane Clarke
    Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement
    CEO and Managing Director
    Interviewed January 15, 2021
    Shailin Dhar
    Method Media Intelligence
    Founder and CEO
    Interviewed January 19, 2021
    Allyson Dietz
    Neustar
    Director, Product Marketing
    Interviewed January 15, 2021
    Stephen DiMarco
    Kantar
    Chief Digital Officer
    Interviewed January 21, 2021
    Paul Donato
    Advertising Research Foundation
    Chief Research Officer
    Interviewed January 8, 2021
    Angelina Eng
    Interactive Advertising Bureau
    Vice President, Measurement and Attribution
    Interviewed January 22, 2021
    Chris Feo
    Tapad
    Chief Revenue Officer
    Interviewed January 22, 2021
    Lauren T. Fisher
    Advertiser Perceptions
    Executive Vice President, Business Intelligence
    Interviewed January 15, 2021
    Justin Fromm
    Advertiser Perceptions
    Executive Vice President, Business Intelligence
    Interviewed January 15, 2021
    Marc Goldberg
    Method Media Intelligence
    Chief Revenue Officer
    Interviewed January 19, 2021
    John Goulding
    MiQ
    Head of Strategy, US
    Interviewed January 26, 2021
    Sharon Harris
    Jellyfish
    CMO
    Interviewed January 25, 2021
    Anne Hunter
    DISQO
    Vice President, Product Marketing
    Interviewed January 20, 2021
    George Ivie
    Media Rating Council
    CEO and Executive Director
    Interviewed January 25, 2021
    Harry Kargman
    Kargo
    Founder and CEO
    Interviewed January 5, 2021
    Raghu Kodige
    Alphonso
    Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer
    Interviewed January 21, 2021
    Amanda Martin
    Goodway Group
    Vice President, Enterprise Partnerships
    Interviewed January 19, 2021
    Shane McAndrew
    Mindshare
    Chief Data Strategy Officer
    Interviewed January 26, 2021
    Mike Menkes
    Analytic Partners
    Senior Vice President
    Interviewed January 20, 2021
    Satya Menon
    Kantar
    Executive Vice President, Analytic Practice
    Interviewed January 21, 2021
    Charles Mi
    Adara
    Chief Technology Officer
    Interviewed December 22, 2020
    Ian Monaghan
    Adobe Advertising Cloud
    Manager, Product Marketing
    Interviewed January 22, 2021
    Sean Muller
    iSpot.tv
    Founder and CEO
    Interviewed January 8, 2021
    Scott Nuernberger
    Merkle
    Senior Vice President, Analytic Solutions
    Interviewed January 14, 2021
    Marco Parente
    Kantar
    Senior Vice President, Product Management
    Interviewed January 21, 2021
    Ron Pinelli
    Media Rating Council
    Senior Vice President, Digital Research and Standards
    Interviewed January 25, 2021
    Lance Porigow
    The Shipyard
    Executive Vice President, Head of Ecommerce Growth
    Interviewed January 21, 2021
    Andrew Richardson
    Tinuiti
    Senior Vice President, Analytics and Marketing Science
    Interviewed January 20, 2021
    Loch Rose
    Epsilon
    Chief Analytics Officer
    Interviewed January 21, 2021
    Jim Spaeth
    Sequent Partners
    Partner
    Interviewed January 11, 2021
    Greg Stuart
    MMA Global
    CEO and President
    Interviewed January 14, 2021
    Alice Sylvester
    Sequent Partners
    Partner
    Interviewed January 11, 2021
    Gabe Ubatuba
    Adobe Advertising Cloud
    Manager, Advertising Measurement and Strategy
    Interviewed January 22, 2021

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    authors

    Nicole Perrin

    Contributors

    Ross Benes
    Senior Analyst
    Andrew Lipsman
    Principal Analyst
    Lauren Ruhlen
    Researcher
    Audrey Schomer
    Senior Analyst