Measurement Insights

Building Confidence in Attribution with Incrementality

Most attribution tools show display retargeting driving a $10+ return on ad spend. As a result, digital marketers invest millions of dollars annually on users who just left their website. Retargeting may receive millions in attributed credit, but what if 95% of those customers would have purchased without the display media? Through incrementality testing, we’re able to turn the “what if” question into a “here’s how” statement, adding a layer of precision and confidence that’s critical to understanding the true value of return-on-investment.

Marketers are aware of this limitation, but few have addressed it head-on. At Ovative, we partner with our clients to test the incremental value each channel has at the enterprise level. Brands that win are those that stop trying to maximize attributed revenue, and instead determine which channels are driving the most incremental enterprise revenue – then scale those channels accordingly. 

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered. Here’s what we recommend for getting starting with incrementality testing …

  1. Top down buy-in on the idea of incrementality is a key first step. Attributed revenue will remain the focus until media performance is no longer goaled on this incomplete metric.
  2. Prioritize which channels have the most imminent need to test incrementality (channels with highest investment is a great start).
  3. Leverage incrementality results to right-size media investment in each channel tested.
  4. Retest incrementality to account for seasonality and diminishing levels of return.

Brands spend millions of dollars annually on media channels that drive high volumes of attributed revenue, yet incremental revenue is notably lower. Those non-incremental dollars should be reallocated to other media channels that drive new customers, or assist in bottom-line savings. Organizations should not goal their media to an attribution source, but rather refocus on the purpose of their marketing investments – to drive consumer awareness and ultimately purchases that would not have occurred otherwise.

Ovative is committed to testing the incremental value of media investments and leveraging these learnings to properly balance attributed revenue when calculating Enterprise Marketing Return. Utilizing a unified metric that accounts for incrementality significantly increases confidence in the profitability and scalability of your digital media investments. 

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we help brands move the needle. We are curious. We value your brand. We want to see you succeed. Connect with us to learn more!


Danny Shay

Manager, Measurement

About the Author

Danny is a Manager on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative. He has more than four years of experience spanning various roles in paid media management, advanced measurement, and client services. His diverse background has provided a unique perspective on the need to remain rooted in advanced analytics while persistently ensuring insights markedly transform our client’s marketing programs.

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