Being in the industry for about 10+ years, I feel improving attribution has been talked about for years, yet minimal progress has been made. This was evident in hearing some of the soundbytes in last week’s IAB Performance Committee meeting.


In a recent IAB survey, 47% of media buyers are still conducting last-touch-attribution using cookie-based data.


Some contributions to this are:

  • Lack of education by buyers on what attribution is

  • What other attribution options there are

  • Resources on implementation of tags across media buys


With mobile, social, and apps gaining more popularity, marketers want to know which of these channels are contributing to their conversions. Though these additional channels pose more complexity, all is not lost. Marketers can combine tons of attribution data to better tell their story and drive business goals.


A few of these data sources include:

  • Modeled Sales data (Datalogix, IRI)

  • Mobile App data (SDKs)

  • Location data (Beacon)

  • Actual Sales data (POS systems)

  • Addressable TV (Comscore Rentrak)

  • People data through a CRM


Though there are a wealth of data sources for marketers to leverage, it goes back to the aforementioned implementation challenges of an attribution model. Marketers do not know where to start when thinking about selecting a multi-touch attribution model (MTA). This is where the IAB has stepped in to help marketers.

They released a great 1-sheeter that provides an overview of what MTA is and the different approaches marketers can think about when choosing a model. While the IAB recognizes more needs to be done to move marketers away from last-touch-attribution and onto something "better," this is a great first step. "Better" is what the IAB wants to address in the remaining part of 2016, with the help of the the marketing community.

There isn't a one size fits all model for all campaigns, but universal best practices can still be developed. One thing discussed last week was diving into individual industry verticals and providing recommendations on which model can best suit a marketer’s business needs. The other big discussion point was getting accreditation for MTA with so many options out there, but that also raised the question if the IAB, MRC, and others should be the ones to do so.

As more consumers are moving between devices, the entire industry (Agencies, Brads, DSPs, DMPs, CMPs, Ad Tech etc) needs to work together on standardizing some best approaches and methodologies. It is the “one team, one dream” approach that will improve the outlook of attribution for all.