Ad Measurement and Revenue Attribution 2021

Identity Crisis Adds to Long-Standing Challenges

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
Analyst
Andrew Lipsman
Principal Analyst
Lauren Ruhlen
Researcher
Audrey Schomer