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The Rise Of ‘TikTokalytics’ Startups

Call it the rise of TikTokalytics.

A group of young attribution and analytics startups, the newest wielding particular talent on TikTok, have inherited the Earth from multi-touch attribution (MTA) companies.

A couple are more experienced startups. There’s the nine-year-old Rockerbox, for example, that pivoted with the times. And Measured, founded by attribution industry vets from Visual IQ and Conversion Logic.

But the two newest and noisiest players in the category, Triple Whale and Northbeam, hit the market at just the right time with a pitch that advertisers and product sellers needed for this moment.

Marketers are reeling from the loss of social platform data at the same time that they’re trying to incorporate a rising star, TikTok, into their always-on media strategies.

“One or two years ago advertisers could trust Facebook Ad Manager numbers and didn’t need attribution tools to make sense of it,” said Rok Hladnik, managing partner of the boutique DTC ecommerce agency Flat Circle. “Now there’s less data and the data is delayed and modeled on Facebook’s side, so it doesn’t make sense.”

Since brands can no longer trust the platform analytics, they’re looking for vendors that can return that trust in the attribution reporting.

Investors are backing the category in a big way this year. Triple Whale raised $24 million in March. Measured picked up $21 million in May. And last month Northbeam announced a $15 million round.

Social savvy
Social isn’t just what these companies measure, it’s how they’ve gained traction in the marketing community. These TikTokalytics startups use social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and TikTok to gain customers. Think: DM’ing potential customers on Twitter. Influencers – who organically evangelize or have side gigs consulting for these startups – have created a very different approach to SaaS business development.

All of those ad buyers and marketers are prominent voices on Twitter and active advertising players on TikTok. It’s a strange and unique fact of this analytics category that the marketers who use the products in turn become evangelists for their vendor tech.

Within this category, there are four key players to watch. Two, Rockerbox and Measured, were built before the rise of TikTok. And Northbeam and Triple Whale emerged after TikTok had risen to prominence, so they’re natives to the platform in a way that older companies just are not.

The old guard

Two more-established players in the category are Measured, which is all of five years old, and Rockerbox, which was founded nine years ago but pivoted to attribution services about four years ago.

The two companies stand out for the breadth of their offerings and data services: incrementality testing, geo-location control group tests, post-purchase surveys, MTA, media mix modeling, etc.

True Classic, a men’s clothing company that sells online, uses a number of analytics vendors, including Measured and Triple Whale, said co-founder and CEO Ryan Bartlett. “But Measured is the one that we really look towards, because they can do incrementality testing and holdout tests.”

Measured is an expensive piece of software, but Bartlett said that without the incrementality ratings pulled from its group testing “you really don’t have any source of truth.” He added that Triple Whale is a cheaper add-on for True Classic, and puts data into a more digestible dashboard with visualization tools.

“Measured is definitely not as sexy of a platform,” he said. It reports numbers, spreadsheet style. That data must be interpreted by a specialist in data science or analytics, or by Measured itself in a more consultative way. But he said Measured’s incrementality results are worth more than “how they group data and make it look better.”

The old guard also markets themselves differently.