What is Cross-Channel Attribution and Why Is It Difficult?

Trevor Testwuide, Expert in Business Strategy and Marketing Measurement

Published 11/09/2022

The goal of cross-platform or cross-channel attribution is to gain visibility into performance across the entire media mix and reveal how each marketing channel, tactic, or campaign contributes to conversions and sales.

What are the best cross-channel attribution Methods?

Common methods for cross-channel attribution include multi-touch attribution (MTA), media mix modeling (MMM), and incrementality measurement.

Curious about your media spend? You're in the right place.

The Measured platform uses both incrementality testing and MMM to show you the true contribution of your dollars.

Multi-touch attribution collects individual, user-level data for addressable (trackable) media and conversion events to determine the impact each media event has on a customers’ path to conversion. Because MTA requires tracking and connecting all media at the user level, it does not account for non-addressable media, like print, radio, and traditional (linear) TV, which cannot be tracked to individuals.

Media mix modeling collects aggregated data from marketing and non-marketing sources over a multi-year historical period, also factoring in external influences such as seasonality, economic data, weather, and promotions. The data is then used to develop a demand model which quantifies the historical contribution of each marketing and non-marketing input to a business outcome, like sales or conversions.

Using MTA and MMM for cross-channel attribution has proven to be difficult for reasons including:

  • Many platforms like Amazon and Facebook are walled gardens and inaccessible to third-party tracking of impressions.
  • Identity resolution across media platforms is quite low.
  • Cross-device tracking is difficult and match rates are extremely low.
  • Instrumenting a tracking infrastructure by a third-party measurement provider has proved to be fraught with breakage and data leakage.
  • Both are extremely time-consuming to implement and maintain and require experience in data science and analytics.

Incrementality testing is an alternative approach to cross-channel attribution that isn't plagued by all the issues above. Deployed within the publisher platforms themselves, incrementality experiments provide marketers with a true understanding of the incremental contribution of each marketing channel down to the most granular level.

While designing scientifically sound experiments for each channel, campaign and tactic can be a complex process, Measured has you covered. Our proven experiments are meticulously designed for the unique requirements, operations, and data sets of each platform - and they are continuously updated to adapt to new regulations and changes.

With Measured, you can easily run incrementality measurement and testing on 70+ media publisher platforms. Utilizing our API integrations with media platforms, you get a cross-channel view of your marketing mix in less than 24 hours.

Video: Landing a source of truth cross-channel media reporting dashboard