What’s the difference between attribution vs incrementality?

Trevor Testwuide, Expert in Business Strategy and Marketing Measurement

Published 03/24/2022

As marketers, we use the word attribution in many ways. Attribution quite simply is applying appropriate, or earned credit to the marketing touch-point that led to a conversion. Typically, attribution is attempted through one or more methods such as first-touch, last-touch, and multi-touch attribution (MTA).

Incrementality measurement solves for the attribution problem, however the methodology goes about the task in a very different way from MTA. To measure incrementality, audiences are randomly segmented into test and control cohorts. The difference in conversion rates between the two cohorts effectively gives us incrementality and an accurate read on the marginal incremental contribution of that media channel.

Incrementality in marketing is especially needed for channels where ad impressions are difficult to map and measure such as walled garden social channels including Facebook, Snap and Pinterest, or even TV and direct mail. For most channels or platforms, MTA cannot measure views or impressions, so you’re essentially just measuring clicks. Incrementality measurement accounts for the impressions and clicks within each of the platforms under test and therefore gives marketers a more accurate view of the true contribution of their media across their entire portfolio.

Want to learn more about incrementality measurement? Read the Incrementality Measurement Guide for DTC Marketers.


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See how incrementality-powered media mix modeling solves the attribution problem.