What are the pros and cons of incrementality testing versus MMM or MTA?

Nick Stoltz, Expert in Cross-Channel Measurement Strategy and Adoption

Published 02/02/2022

Incrementality Testing, like MMM (Marketing Mix Modeling or Media Mix Modeling), benefits from controlling for the broad set of media and non-media factors that impact the consumer decision making process. Like MTA (Multi Touch Attribution), Incrementality Testing can measure the effects of media at a very granular (campaign/audience/ad set) level but without relying on the challenges associated with user level path building and data collection/reconciliation issues.

Furthermore a properly developed design of experiments that encompasses a broad range of marketing channels can inform tactical marketing optimization where MMM forecasting stops without the limitations and drawbacks of MTA.

MMM is a top down (aggregate marketing data) and very artistic statistical exercise where one or more models (e.g. econometric, multi-linear regression) are leveraged to extract key information and insights by deriving information from multiple sources of marketing, economic, weather and financial data. MMM is also a high-touch consultative approach that is very manual with little to no automated data inputs, whereas MTA and Incrementality, when deployed properly, is a very automated approach leveraging preconfigured connectors that extract the required marketing data on regular cadence. (It’s important to note that MTA can take 6 months or more to deploy, whereas Incrementality can be up and running with reporting in 4-6 weeks.) See this article for more on why always-on automated experimentation is the future of marketing measurement.

As a result, in most cases MMM insights are delivered on a quarterly basis, whereas Incrementality and MTA results are reported daily. MMM lends itself to big strategic media portfolio considerations and long-term planning cycles while incrementality and MTA outputs can be used to make very tactical near-term shifts in budget allocation.

Incrementality Testing vs MMM vs MTA

Full Media Portfolio PlanningYesYesNo
Tactical Media OptimizationYesNoYes
Digital Ad OptimizationYesNoYes
Reporting Refresh FrequencyDailyQuarterlyDaily
Measures Clicks & ImpressionsYesYesNo
Offline Marketing MeasurementYesYesNo
Scenario Planning/ForecastingYesYesYes
Design of Experiments MethodologyYesNoNo

Measured provides cross-channel reporting and incrementality testing capabilities. Learn more here.

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