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Tracking the “Untrackable” - How Can a Marketer Evaluate Non-Attributable Inventories?

We recently got four industry thought leaders together for a roundtable discussion.

The participants were: Natalia Vasilyeva -, Shamanth Rao - RocketShip HQ, Julia Rast - XAXIS, and Maor Sadra - INCRMNTAL

We summarized the content of the roundtable in this blog post , but if you prefer the video or audio version, you can check out the roundtable Video or Podcast


What are the new “Untrackable” mediums attracting marketers ?

In Game Advertising has finally become a reality at scale, much thanks to eSports, game streaming, cross platform games and advancement in technology.
Gaming has become both an interactive medium as well as consumable content.
Over 10 million people connected to see Marshmello in concert within Fortnite. League of Legends events regularly attract tens of millions of online spectators.
And rather than only rely on sponsors, advancement in technology now allows marketers to programmatically place 3d rendered ads within games, localized and targeted, just like in other digital mediums. 

OTT (Over-the-top) platforms and services took us by storm in the last years. Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Now, FUBO, ESPN, Acorn, DAZN, STARZ, Showtime and a few dozen more. Some showing ads, some don’t, but with the availability of high speed internet and 5G - video accounts for over 80% of global traffic

Podcasts killed the radio store ? over 50% of people with a smartphone have listened to a podcast during 2019. That’s an enormous increase for a medium that did not exist 10 years ago. 
Platforms and media companies jumped on this opportunity and are already offering Advertisers with opportunities for a dynamic placement of an audio ad served as an intro, outro or during “hooks” in the middle of a podcast episode.

What is common to all of these mediums today is that while they may have only attracted the very technically savvy consumers in the past - all 3 are widely spread by now, attracting millions of consumers globally.


What is the value in Brand Awareness ?

As marketers, we need to remember that we’re not advertising in a vacuum. Customers have a choice. Customers have more available options and access to a global network of reviews, comments and comparisons once they have intent to convert. 

If we remember this, we may also remember that a customer goes through 4 steps in their funnel towards conversion: Awareness, Intent, Desire and Action. 

All of marketing is multi-touch - whether you are marketing an app or a car - the user funnel starts at the awareness level, and continues after the conversion point with them becoming potential brand ambassadors spreading the word to their network of family and friends.


How are brands tracking non attributable today ?

During the roundtable we all agreed that even “trackable” inventories have their own issues today. Over attribution, cannibalization, differences in methods amongst various platforms and a lack of transparency. 
Trackable inventories often lead to a vicious cycle where the marketer is utilizing paid media to attract users that were already likely to convert.
Tracking the untrackable requires a vigorous cycle of hypothesis, testing, reporting, analyzing and again - hypothesis, test, report, analyze….

Marketing is not an event, but a process. Marketers should always challenge themselves and the results by creating a new hypothesis and searching for ways to attract new customers.
The goal of a marketer is to reach incremental value - attracting potential customers and leading to growth by continuously exploring new opportunities.

Many B2C companies differentiate and divide their “brand” vs. “performance” budget, or even go as far as creating separate teams - as if the two have no influence over one another. 
We all agreed that to increase efficiency and productivity - both should be a lot closed and more aligned with one another.


What other ways are being used to measure the untrackable ?

There are several methods marketers use to measure results for untrackable inventories:

  • Baseline reporting

This approach tries to assign a conclusive value to untrackable inventories by comparing conversion data before vs. after the activity.
This method is extremely limited, as it does not allow a marketer to differentiate various mediums performance as well as insinuates that the marketer should make no-changes to any other activity to have a clear “baseline”.
While this method is limited and rather grainy in nature - it does act as a good proxy to indicate performance - especially if the impact is large enough.

  • Media Mix Model

This approach requires a lot of historical data, including external factors such as major events, information about competition and so on to try and predict the most appropriate mix of media amongst various channels to produce a desired outcome.
Media Mix Model is an iterative process where marketers come up with a hypothesis, a marketing strategy and track as many KPIs as possible to reach an actionable conclusion that could be used for future reference. 

  • Incrementality Measurement

The nature of this approach is to continuously track sales uplift across any activity, as well as the impact of paid activity over other paid activity. Incrementality measurement allows a marketer to truly understand the value of their campaigns, vendors to the level of creatives and even bid changes.
This approach requires machine learning and use of algorithms where the right set of parameters are aggregated over a time series into hyper-parameters to provide digestible results acting as insights to the marketer.


How is the deprecation of IDFA and the death of the Cookie related to untrackable ?

The digital industry has been relying on identifiers to match impressions and click data to conversion data. 
Removing cookies and IDFAs pose a huge disruption to the industry. Many marketers have been using attribution data to make marketing decisions - even though this leads to catastrophic outcomes many times. 
This move forces marketers to think more holistically and act as marketers - creating an hypothesis, testing, reporting, and analyzing to improve their marketing activities efficiency on an on-going basis.
Marketing has never been an exact science, but the reliance on identifiers and the utilization of attribution data for measurement caused many markets to believe that this was the case.

Eventually, the move towards more privacy is good for both consumers and marketers.  



INCRMNTAL offers an incrementality measurement platform, allowing Advertisers to unlock the value of their marketing spend. Measuring the effectiveness of digital and “untrackable” activity, providing actionable insights for you to get the most out of your spend.

If you want to learn more, book a demo today!

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