9Dialogues Provides an Inside Look at the NinthDecimal Culture and the Amazing People Behind Its Success
In this installment of “9Dialogues”, we speak with Ryan Kanterman, VP of Measurement, about how he’s seen the company grow and why marketers are ready for more advanced forms of attribution.
What is your role at NinthDecimal?
I oversee NinthDecimal’s measurement division. My team and I help clients understand how their campaigns have impacted people to visit real-world locations, and whether those visits are directly caused by advertising. In addition, I spend a lot of time educating the market on the importance of foot traffic measurement and how it can help marketers measure and optimize their campaigns.
You’ve been here for almost nine years. How have you seen this company grow and change in that time?
It has definitely been a roller coaster since I joined in 2008! When I first started, we were a Wi-Fi advertising company that ran the advertising layer on top of Wi-Fi login portals, pretty much sticking to 300×250 ads, and, if you were lucky, 728x90s.
Once smartphones became more popular, we started expanding outside of the walls of Wi-Fi venues to gather and use smartphone location signals to understand audiences. Eventually, we shifted the entire business to this emerging technology, building our proprietary Location Graph which connected where people went in the real world to their smartphones and other devices, which we could tie to an individual person.
Fast-forward again on this journey of JiWire to NinthDecimal, and we realized that the data we were working with was so massive and so powerful that we could use it for more than just media, so we made the data portable, allowing marketers to buy audiences programmatically and through DSPs. It also allowed us to open our proprietary measurement solution (LCI™) to measure across the entire media ecosystem. We’ve now certified over 220 publishers and partners for attribution across the industry.
Most recently, we’ve been building our omnichannel capabilities and can measure media across mobile app, mobile web, desktop, and even more traditional media like TV and Out of Home. I see this as one of the really exciting opportunities for us as we establish ourselves as the industry standard for offline attribution.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for marketers in relation to attribution?
Because it’s a fairly new space, I think there’s a lack of education in the market. There are multiple players in this space and a lot of noise and clutter which makes it challenging for advertisers to differentiate between attribution options.
One of the things I like to focus on is the importance of statistical rigor in an attribution methodology. Every time we are vetted against other measurement solutions in the foot traffic space, we have emerged victorious because when you look under the hood, we are doing quite complex things that allow us to understand the actual impact of advertising, while others can’t really assign causality and can only provide observational metrics.
How can marketers identify statistical rigor in a measurement solution?
Start by looking at the reporting. There are vendors out there who don’t report on confidence interval or show confidence intervals that are lower than 95%; in a lot of cases it’s sub 70% which is literally meaningless.
We often speak with analytics teams who want to get under the hood to make sure we’re using things like AdStock decay, which reduces the value of a visit as time passes, historical visitation patterns in control/exposed matching, and the removal of outliers like employees. These are all things we account for in our methodology.
We believe all of this is really important when evaluating solutions. But our clients come to us with varying levels of knowledge about statistics and attribution, so we have to make sure we’re able to prove the value whether we’re talking to a media-buying team, analytics team, client team responsible for brand engagement, or even finance team. This can be a challenge, but as a company and team we’re well positioned to have these different conversations.
What is your favorite part about working at NinthDecimal?
I have continuously been excited about working for this company because as time goes on, we are consistently evolving. We’ve been ahead of the game in market innovation and, most importantly, we do things with integrity, which I’ve found is sometimes rare in our industry. We don’t release new products or solutions until they are fully baked and we comprehend their implications to both our clients and the market at large. Because of this, we have been held in high regard since the beginning of this company, which again is rare in the media landscape. I’m proud to be part of the NinthDecimal family and I look forward to the future!