The Terms to Know For Successful Multitouch Attribution

Once you’ve gone through the effort of implementing a multitouch attribution (MTA) solution, you might be surprised to find adoption hampered by a lack of alignment between internal and agency teams on where and how the concepts behind MTA-related terminology and KPIs should be implemented. This can lead to a longer-than-anticipated period of education for brand marketer and agency groups to get on the same page early in the adoption process.

Maybe you struggle with the concept of base propensity or feel like your brand doesn’t fit the approach. Or perhaps your agency teams are frustrated by the KPIs that come with MTA, when many of the familiar automated DSP optimization tools are built to maximize performance on last-touch attribution, click rates, engagement or video completion rates.

If you and your agency teams are struggling with the concept of multitouch attribution, the incremental value of marketing dollars, or how the statistical model works to assess and assign credit, it’s time to take a step back, define your terms and dig into specific questions using real numbers.

Some people are perfectly happy knowing just the theory behind attribution, but tactical and activation-focused teams often benefit from using their media and campaign data to dig into attribution concepts. Incorporating incremental conversions, fractional conversions, incrementality percentage and cost per incremental conversion into existing campaign and channel reports helps media buyers contextualize the new terms.

So without further ado, here are the terms you need to know to kick-start the MTA adoption process, based on our consultative experience with clients:

Base propensity: This refers to a customer’s inherent likelihood to purchase, independent of marketing exposure. In the Neustar MTA statistical regression model, for example, historical search, site visitation and past conversion behaviors are measured and incorporated into the Neustar MTA statistical regression model. Then they’re used to calculate the incremental lift in conversions after a customer is exposed to marketing, in order to assign only the incremental conversion credit to media. This differs from other MTA providers who ignore base propensity and assign all conversion credit to media.

Total Conversions: All the conversions collected from whichever platform or platforms brand marketers use to track conversions.

Non-Addressable Factors: Offline media or non-media influences that impact a customer’s likelihood to purchase are non-addressable. For example, seasonality, competition, pricing and weather.

Unattributed Conversions: 
Within the Neustar MTA model, conversions that cannot be attributed to a media touch are not assigned credit since these converters were not impacted by media.

Fractional Attribution: Fractional conversions are all conversions that can be linked to a media touch. No credit is assigned to the existing base propensity of a customer. Total conversions are equal to the sum of fractional and unattributed conversions. Using fractional attribution to measure the performance of marketing will lead to incorrect and inefficient ROI and media allocations, as base propensity and non-addressable factors differ by customer and by conversion and can’t be averaged across all conversions.

Incremental Attribution: The Neustar MTA model identifies the impact of media on a customer’s conversion journey and assigns credit only to those conversions that were truly influenced by marketing. As such, incremental attribution within the Neustar MTA model refers to all marketing-contributed conversions.

Base Conversions: In contrast to incremental conversions, base conversions are those that were linked—but not attributed—to a media touch. These are conversions that would have happened without marketing exposure. Base conversions are equal to fractional conversions minus incremental conversions.

Incrementality percentage: This is the percentage of media-touched conversions that are considered incremental. In other words, they wouldn’t have occurred without marketing exposure. The incrementality percentage is equal to incremental conversions divided by fractional conversions.

Time spent digging into reporting, defining terms and showing how the MTA model assigns credit using your actual data will build a strong foundation for adoption. It also encourages teams across brands and agencies to dig into the data on their own by giving them the confidence to understand the true value of multitouch attribution tools like the Neustar MTA solution.

Once teams understand the value of multitouch attribution and common KPIs, they are ready to use these tools to plan, allocate, activate, optimize and reallocate marketing budgets with the end goal of increasing the returns on their marketing investments.


This article originally appeared on the Neustar blog.