Reaching incrementality is the holy grail of marketing. Incrementality in advertising is a term representing the sales happening as a result of advertising activities, specifically, the results that would not have happened if it was not for the advertising activities.

If incrementality is hard to understand – measured incrementality is even harder.

Measured Incrementality is the process of determining if sales happened due to certain advertising activities such as campaigns, creative changes, or the launch of a new ad channel.

As long as an Advertiser is active with only one advertising campaign in one channel – measured incrementality would be as simple as pausing the campaign for one day, and measuring the significant sales results of a day without advertising to the day with advertising.

However, measuring incrementality requires more sophistication. Brands are typically operating multiple campaigns across several ad channels and at times – even several mediums. Simultaneously. Differentiating the sales results amongst the campaigns, channels, and mediums, is like trying to identify and attribute the water spilled from your bottle in a swimming pool.

Given the complexity of the problem – many marketers used attribution technology as a replacement for measurement during the past years. Attribution and tracking allowed advertisers to create a direct link between the impressions and clicks users saw and engaged with, and the actions they took on the advertisers’ website or app.

What is the best marketing attribution platform that we can use today and what would be the benefits in using them?

Attribution had several caveats, main ones being the fact that they relied on user-level data available to advertisers in the form of cookies and device IDs, but also – that the last placement/platform/campaign/publisher where users saw or clicked an ad should receive 100% of the credit for having brought the user to the Advertiser.

Marketers making decisions based on attribution data, were figuratively managing a football team, paying only the person scoring the goal.

Redundant spends, waste, bad budget decisions caused marketers to lose faith in attribution as a source of truth when it came to marketing measurement , but it was the deprecation of the device ID and cookie, that caused marketers to seek again for the holy grail of measurement: Measured incrementality.

Incrementality measurement requires no user-level data, as this form of measurement creates a link between the ad spend and the value received. With innovation in technology, specifically, in algorithms and AI, marketers can now enjoy measured incrementality using causal data science. Measuring the impact of incrementality marketing activities such as the launch of a new campaign, new channel, or even the decrease in budget across a specific creative – can all be measured towards incrementality using advanced algorithmic models.

By Manali