In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, one of the biggest challenges faced by eCommerce advertisers is figuring out the inconsistencies between actual sales and the data provided by advertising platforms. This discrepancy has become a growing concern, as platform reporting often inflates numbers due to the lack of standardized attribution methods, leading marketers to question the true value of their ad spend.
Attribution has been the main method of measurement for digital marketing over the past 20 years, however, with 3rd party cookies being restricted, attribution starts relying on advertising platforms’ own 1st party data. And only when summarizing the conversion data by platform, do most marketers realize that attribution doesn't equal contribution.
Many retail marketers have learned this the hard way, turning off ad spend due to budget constraints has often left marketers scratching their heads when sales remained consistent. This isn’t the fault of attribution, as attribution simply reports if users were “touched” in their path to a purchase, and as written previously: attribution doesn’t equal contribution.
Measuring retail marketing performance goes beyond the simplistic approach of last-touch attribution. The user funnel involves multiple touchpoints, and relying solely on the last interaction creates a skewed view of the advertising performance. Retail marketers need to acknowledge the intricacies of the customer journey and the various influences that contribute to a purchase decision.
Incrementality has been the weapon of choice for sophisticated marketing measurement, however, the most common method up to recently was relying on GeoLift experiments.
Pausing advertising across a channel in a specific region, to create a sort of a “hold out” group and understand the impact of performance when shutting down spends.
What this method failed to acknowledge is that Advertising is not the only reason consumers buy products.
Promotions, discounts, shopping days, new products, email newsletters, payday, and a dozen or more variables influence consumers behavior.
Almost every eCommerce advertiser out there offers a Christmas sale, or a Black Friday / Cyber Monday deal. Announcing these sale days will often cause a surge in sales.
However, Advertising attribution will ride this wave, claiming a surge in conversions, and often sending Advertisers a misconception about how much sales were generated from Ad spend vs. how many came through the promotions.
INCRMNTAL’s mission was to measure advertising while considering marketing. Sounds obvious, but it really wasn’t.
Rather than attribute a user, INCRMNTAL is measuring campaigns contribution, especially when changes happen: Increasing a budget, starting a new campaign, starting a new channel, or even measuring the incrementality of promotions, sales, and shopping days.
INCRMNTAL helps advertisers make informed decisions based on a more realistic understanding of their marketing performance.
The diagram below reflects the marketing performance trends of an eCommerce advertiser since before using INCRMNTAL, and during the months later.
During the first few months, the customer focused on reducing the spends for campaigns and channels that were found to be of low or no efficiency. Following was a period of consistent gradual growth in spend as well as marketing performance.
The discrepancies between sales and platform data are a puzzle that retail marketers must solve to navigate the complex world of digital advertising. Embracing the fact that while attribution has benefits, attribution does not equal contribution is important.
Marketing measurement should include more than only Advertising spends, as there are dozens of factors influencing performance.
INCRMNTAL stands as a beacon of light, providing a reliable measurement platform and empowering retail advertisers to make data-driven decisions in an ever-changing landscape.