Measurement Insights

Demystifying the Marketing Measurement Landscape

According to a 2021 Forrester study¹, less than a third of marketing decision-makers are using advanced statistical measurement methods to measure marketing success. Companies who are not embracing this approach will quickly find themselves falling behind their competitors who are accelerating their measurement transformation.    

It can be incredibly challenging to determine which measurement tool is right for your business when the list of acronyms and features feels never-ending and overly complicated. While they all have their particular nuances, these tools can be broadly grouped together into three main buckets. Below we outline what these tools are, the benefits and drawbacks to each, and a recommendation on which tool could be right for your business. The right solution is one that combines best-in-class technology with a services element, making it actionable for your organization and providing measurable value. 

The Solutions

Group One: MTA (Multi-Touch Attribution) 

What does that mean?  

  • The main input to a multi-touch attribution tool is usually cookie-based data at the customer level. This data is used to evaluate the impact of each customer touchpoint in driving conversions. Some tools use more simple rules-based equations to distribute credit across touchpoints, while others use more complex statistical methods. In either case, the result is an understanding of which channels, tactics, campaigns, or even keywords are driving the highest levels of conversions from your digital media. While there are MTA tools that also attempt to measure traditional channels like Direct Mail and Television, this can be challenging without an accurate understanding of when the interaction with the media occurred. For this reason, most MTA tools today are focused on digital channels only.

What are the benefits and drawbacks? 

  • Benefits: The pixel-based nature of these solutions allow them to be both more granular (e.g., keyword level) and to provide more real-time results. These tools tend to provide a more holistic picture of marketing performance than using web analytics or platform data alone.  
  • Drawbacks: Most versions of this tool allocate credit to every single revenue dollar – meaning they don’t account for your “base,” or the amount of sales you would get without any marketing. Increased privacy regulations are also impacting the ability for these technologies to accurately capture a customer’s path to purchase. Finally, because these tools are very focused on digital behavior, these tools don’t often measure the performance of more traditional channels like Television or Print.  

This type of tool is for you if:  

  • You are currently reliant on platform data alone when making marketing optimization decisions.  
  • Your primary goal is to optimize your strategy within specific channels.  
  • Your budget leans primarily toward Digital channels.


  • C3 Metrics, Claritas, Flashtalking 

Group 2: MMM (Media-Mix Modeling)

What does that mean? 

  • If Group 1: MTA tools are take the “bottoms up” approach to optimization, Media Mix Models can be considered the “tops down” approach. These tools utilize more aggregated inputs like spend data as their main source of information. Many also utilize other macro factors like seasonality, promotions, or even weather as inputs to the tool. They then deploy more advanced algorithmic and/or regression-based techniques (e.g., Bayesian) to create response curves for each channel. The result is an understanding of the incremental impact of marketing on your business, as well as an understanding of how to optimize spend across channels.  

What are the benefits and drawbacks?  

  • Benefits: As a result of utilizing more macro-level inputs, MMM tools provide insight into a term called “base,” or what percentage of your revenue would have occurred without your marketing efforts. This is helpful in understanding what portion of your revenue is truly incremental. MMMs can provide outputs across your full mix, inclusive of both traditional and digital channels. Finally, because MMM tools are not cookie-based, they are more “future proof” from increasing privacy regulations.  
  • Drawbacks: Because they operate at these more macro-levels, MMMs can have difficulty providing reliable granular data. In many cases, MMM tools also provide less frequent / responsive results. 

This type of tool is for you if: 

  • Your primary goal is to determine the optimal budgets & spending across your full channel mix. 
  • You have a varied channel mix inclusive of digital and traditional tactics. 
  • Your budget leans primarily toward Traditional channels.


  • Course5 Intelligence, Leavened, ScanmarQED 

Group 3: UMM (Unified Marketing Measurement)

What does that mean?  

  • This is the most sophisticated type of marketing technology that we’ll go over – these tools are able to combine the best of both worlds from MTA and MMM. The more advanced versions are able to integrate additional attributes that impact marketing performance like margin/profitability and customer value. The goal is to combine a variety of statistical methodologies into one simple, yet comprehensive, KPI for marketing success.  

What are the benefits and drawbacks? 

  • Benefits: By combining the “bottoms up” approach of MTA and the “tops down” approach of MMM, end users are able to receive the benefits from both of these tools while minimizing their drawbacks.  
  • Drawbacks: Like with both MTA and MMM, it is still recommend validating and/or building upon tool insights with in-market testing.  

This type of tool is for you if: 

  • You are currently using an MTA or MMM tool and want to further mature your marketing measurement capabilities.  
  • You are currently using both MTA and MMM tools but are using the results in a siloed fashion across teams or use cases. 
  • Your budget is mixed across Digital and Traditional channels.


Marketing technologies can be extremely valuable, but only when they are implemented and actioned upon. Many businesses have deployed a new technology only to get rid of it a year or two later because it was so difficult to know how to utilize the data. A 2019 Gartner report stated that marketing leaders are only achieving 58% of potential impact from their marketing technology stack.² For this reason, it can be useful to find a partner that adds a services element to their offering. This means having subject matter experts that are on the measurement journey with you and have the sole aim of helping you get the highest possible return on your investment. A services team can help you not only use the outputs of the tool, but also take into consideration other critical factors when building out your activation plan like timing of other major business decisions, promotional nuances, and more.    

Providing our clients with both a best-in-class team and our proprietary MAP platform is what sets Ovative’s measurement offerings apart from others in the market. Kevin Brown, CMO of Sleep Number said, “Great partnerships start with aligned visions and dynamic leadership. Ovative is exceptional because they listen, understand the consumer landscape and have the courage to innovate and challenge the status quo. That is exactly what makes them a perfect partner for us. They built their own platform and were uniquely able to connect our digital to physical consumer touchpoints. Their measurement approach has provided incredible insights that have helped us make better, faster decisions to improve our overall customer experience which shows up in our brand and business performance. Working with Dale and his team has been a game-changer.” 

When it comes to choosing a marketing measurement partner many technologies claim to be the “silver bullet” of marketing measurement. The truth is that all marketing technologies have their limitations, and they can even become a deterrent to success if they aren’t used properly. We recommend looking for a tool that couples the technology side of things with a human element for the best chances of success. 

For help in evaluating your organization for the right tool, request a free demo. Not ready to talk yet? Learn more about Ovative’s Marketing Analytics Platform here. 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!  

1 | Forrester Now Tech: Marketing Measurement And Optimization Solutions, Q2 2021
2 | Gartner: Gartner Says Marketers Utilize Only 58% of their Martech Stack’s Full Potential, Q4 2019

Kati Stewart

Senior Manager, Product

About the Author

Kati is a Senior Manager on the Capability Development team at Ovative, where she serves as the Product Manager for Ovative’s Marketing Analytics Platform (MAP). She has 9 years of project and product management experience, with 5 years of experience specializing in marketing measurement.

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