Measured CEO: Cross-Channel Attribution Via Incrementality Measurement
D2C companies like Peloton are increasingly turning to incrementality measurement for attribution. Measured CEO Trevor Testwuide on why that's the case.
“While multi-touch attribution (MTA) was supposed to end the struggle to prove campaign value, all it has proven is that it’s extremely expensive, time-consuming, and nearly impossible for fast-growing brands deploying significant walled-garden media.”
When Trevor Testwuide and his co-founder Madan Bharadwaj set out to launch Measured in 2017, their mission was to “inform the true causal influence of media tactics” for DTC retailers. Specifically, they wanted to address certain gaps in other forms of attribution:
Advertisers want to know how their walled-garden media is driving consumer behavior.
Advertisers want insights to be reliable to inform high-value decisions, not guesswork.
Since then, brands including, Peloton, Rosetta Stone, FabFitFun, Soft Surroundings, and Drizly have used the platform to grow their businesses. Measured helps them by informing media’s incremental contribution through experiments in an always-on way to inform media investment decisions.
We spoke with Trevor Testwuide, Measured CEO and co-founder, to learn more about their company and the progress they’re making in the world of marketing attribution and measurement. He and Madan — and many on their team — have been in the cross-channel measurement and attribution space for nearly a decade. Prior to Measured, he co-founded Conversion Logic.
As of August 2019, Measured remains self-funded and has not taken outside investment. Their clients primarily consist of retail, ecommerce, and DTC brands spending more than $5 million in media per year. They integrate with more than 200 partners in ecommerce, CRM, media, and adtech.
Where does multi-touch attribution (MTA) fall short, and what advantages does incremental measurement give?
“Multi-touch attribution (MTA) was and conceptually is a very powerful, granular, tactical optimization tool,” says Trevor. “The challenge is that the majority of the media mix that we see with fast-growing brands cannot be measured with MTA. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, retargeting, catalogue — MTA can’t measure those things. I can’t map Facebook to Google Ads to Pinterest to a conversion.”
With all media analytics, the end goal is to understand the marginal contribution of each media tactic. What is the marginal lift per unit of investment?
But over the last five years, MTA has become increasingly difficult for marketers, particularly in D2C brands. Consumer data is increasingly hidden inside walled gardens where MTA is unable to measure and map across platforms. Rather, MTA works well for open, exchange-based media. Which these days, represents a small percentage of the overall media mix for most DTC brands.
Measuring incremental contribution, on the other hand, is a way of conducting controlled experimentation to inform the incremental contribution of each type of media or platform in a conversion.
With Measured, says Trevor, they’ve designed separate experiments for Facebook, for catalogs, for retargeting, etc. to inform the role each of those plays in a path to conversion.
“Think of them like best-in-class A/B tests to inform the lift of that media.”
ClickZ: Tell us about your background and how you came to co-found Measured?
Trevor Testwuide: Madan and I — and many on our team — have lived in this category of cross-channel measurement since the early innings of algorithmic multi-touch attribution.
I met Madan in 2011 when I joined Visual IQ. Madan was Head of Product, and he was our brain. I was on the customer side, and we ended up working very closely together there. That was the first phase of algorithmic multi-touch attribution — the technology was so nascent back then, and we really got to know our clients.
I then left Visual IQ at the beginning of 2014 and founded a company called Conversion Logic, which had a lot of success.
Then at the beginning of 2017, I left Conversion Logic to team back up with my good friend Madan who’d been independent consulting for a couple years with a lot of D2C brands like GrubHub.
In those couple years, MTA had started getting more difficult in terms of data collection with walled gardens and sensitivity around identity. Madan had realized that moving forward, the smartest path to informing cross-channel investment decisions was really smart experimentation.
He was convinced that was the direction cross-channel investment was going. He started building out some of those experiments, and at the beginning of 2017 we teamed up to take this new methodology to market.
We incorporated the business in March of 2017. Our first client was Johnny Was, a fast-growing women’s bohemian retailer, who signed a contract right in March 2017.
Now we’re two and a half years later, and we have a portfolio of great D2C and consumer brands.
CZ: Briefly describe Measured – what’s your elevator pitch?
TT: Measured helps inform the incrementality of paid media for acquisition marketers to drive cross-channel investment decisions.
Its approach is rooted in innovative, always-on A/B experimentation, which is proven to be the most effective and accurate methodology for determining incremental contribution.
Measured is powered by a privacy-compliant and quality-controlled marketing data platform provided as a service.
CZ: In plain English, explain what Measured does (as you would to someone not immersed in the space).
TT: Measured looks at how advertising dollars are spent across various online and offline channels and analyzes which strategies have the biggest impact on sales, so marketers can make better decisions about where to focus their budgets.
There are a lot of outlets for advertisers to prospect for new customers–Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Podcast, Catalog, TV, etc.–and some will get better results than others. Measured identifies which outlets are most effective.
CZ: What is the biggest problem Measured solves for customers?
TT: Measured helps its customers spend their marketing dollars most effectively to drive performance for their business.
CZ: How many competitors are in your space?
TT: It’s hard to say exactly. We’ve seen a couple competitors starting to work specifically on incrementality, but there are several more doing more traditional attribution such as media mix modeling and multi-touch attribution.
CZ: Briefly explain the technology that underpins your solution
TT: Measured uses sophisticated experimental design to inform media’s true incremental contribution to your business. We design experiments to run always-on A/B testing on various ad campaigns to determine which ones have the most impact on sales or other metrics important to our customers.
CZ: Why do customers choose you over your competitors? What do you do that they don’t?
TT: Most of our customers have tried the more “traditional” forms of attribution: media mix modeling or multi-touch attribution. MMM is a long-range strategic planning tool but not a good tactical — daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly — decisioning tool. It’s also quite expensive. MTA has become ineffective because of data restrictions and blind spots.
CZ: Before and after: What impact would your technology or solution have if a company were to implement it tomorrow?
TT: A new client could onboard and start using our product within 3-4 weeks. Within 6-8 weeks, they would have a clear sense of the true incremental contribution of their prospecting tactics and the ability to compare them in an apples-to-apples way to inform cross-channel investment decisions.
CZ: What are some examples of real world brand success stories?
Our focus is on D2C companies, ecommerce, and retail in a first-party capacity. We work with clients including Peloton, Drizly, FabFitFun, Johnny Was, and Soft Surroundings.
If you spoke with the CEO of Johnny Was, who we’ve worked with for 2.5 years, he would tell you that we helped him double his online business in 18 months by growing his paid media in a profitable way. We helped him line up and be able to compare incremental net profit per dollar investment of catalog vs. Facebook vs. Pinterest, for example.
So as he’s acquiring new customers, he’s doing it in a profitable way against that first purchase — so the first purchase is either break-even or better. With that methodology and framework set up, he can scale in his top-performing prospecting tactics.
Soft Surroundings would tell you that we helped them right-side their retargeting investment. It’s common that we see D2C brands over-invested in retargeting. After using Measured to analyze its retargeting strategy, Soft Surroundings saved $40,000 over three months with no impact to their bottom line. By cutting that retargeting spend, they brought their overall customer acquisition cost down by 20%.
CZ: What are you focusing on for the next year?
TT: Helping our clients grow most effectively through incrementality measurement and smarter media investment decisioning.
Winning with and for our customers!
Continuing to innovate and build on our best in class product.
Adding more great brands.
CZ: What challenges do you see in the industry and what are you doing to prepare?
TT: Media tracking driving measurement capabilities continues to evolve and we will adapt with best-in-class experimentation as it changes.
CZ: Who do you look to for example and insight?
TT: Salesforce is our role model for best-in-class, scalable, B2B SaaS products complemented by excellent enablement services.
CZ: In the world of attribution and measurement, what things should marketers be focusing on, learning about, etc in the next 3-6 or 12 months?
TT: Marketers need to be keenly aware of understanding incrementality. That’s what we’re all trying to get to in advanced media measurement. There are tools like us out there that can help you get a keen sense for it.
Another trend we’re observing is that media mixes are getting more comprehensive. It used to be that you’d see most all of the D2C budget just concentrated on Facebook and Google. Now we’re seeing D2C portfolios that are quite a bit more comprehensive, pushing into more prospecting tactics that they weren’t considering before. We’re seeing more podcasts, TV, social influencer, and other social channels.
And with a more comprehensive media mix, you need even more comprehensive measurement behind it — reporting as well. Brands will be looking to get all of their media performance unified in one cross-channel reporting view.