9Dialogues Featuring Mark Dixon



9Dialogues speaks with Mark Dixon, Chief Product Officer of NinthDecimal. In this installment, we take a dive into the topic of multi-touch attribution (MTA) including the many advantages of using MTA. We are going to talk with Mark about three key topics surrounding MTA: What is it?, Why all the buzz around it?, and why NinthDecimal has added it to its measurement product.

“Most people are not using multi-touch attribution, which means that they are not leveraging the full might of their budgets, and worse, they are optimizing based on the wrong metric,” [Sanjay Gupta, chief customer officer of TIAA]. “You can get lulled into this false confidence that you’re doing things at a very sophisticated level when you’re actually not.” AdAge, 2019

9Dialogues

Thanks again for joining us, Mark. So, what is MTA?

Mark

Thanks for having me, MTA is increasingly becoming an important industry topic. It’s one of several attribution approaches for understanding how marketing is performing. Attribution does this by taking a desired outcome like a visit, a sale or app download and applies that back to my marketing tactics. What makes MTA unique, and the preferred method for most marketers, is that it gives fractional credit for that outcome across all your customer touchpoints.

9Dialogues

Very interesting, can you give me an example of how it might work?

Mark

Sure. For example, let’s say that I see three ads before I visit that particular brand’s store location. MTA applies partial credit for that visit to each of those ads that I saw before I visited. In this instance one ad could get 33.33% of the visit, another 33.33% and the last one 33.33%. As a marketer this helps me determine what is driving the biggest impact.

9Dialogues

So how would a marketer put MTA to use?

Mark

Take for example a marketer who is running a campaign with multiple publishers or maybe they are running a variety of audience tactics and multiple creative messages at the same time. With MTA they can allocate their desired outcomes across each of these dimensions.
Or apply MTA in a way where they may have all these different elements associated with the same campaign. This allows marketers to understand if audience A or audience B works better and all of these other complex intersections of dimensions such as audience A with creative 4 on publisher 3.

9Dialogues

It sounds like MTA works much different than single-touch attribution…

Mark

Absolutely! As outlined in the example below, MTA assigns fractional credit for a visit to publishers A, B and C (figure 1). By assigning a value to all of the touchpoints, MTA helps marketers see the entire impact of their marketing investments including which publishers, creatives and dimensions are influencing a visit.

Figure 1. MTA

In order to understand the full impact of MTA, it’s important to compare how it works versus first generation attribution methodologies like first-touch and last-touch. In figure 2, last-touch attribution gives a 100% credit for the visit to publisher C, while first-touch gives 100% credit to publisher A for the visit. Both approaches do not account for ad exposures created by publisher B even though the user was exposed to publisher B twice.

Figure 2. First-touch & Last-touch


9Dialogues

How do marketers benefit from using MTA?

Mark

Great question! By establishing a much more accurate representation of true performance, MTA provides a better foundation for optimization, so in essence you are not just measuring for past performance, but you are measuring to optimize future marketing strategies. From an industry perspective it’s a major breakthrough. The ability to create a comprehensive account of all the touchpoints that impact a conversion give marketers a new level of insight they’ve never had before. That’s something for every marketer to excited about. Not only does it allow for the most accurate measurement of performance but also allows for optimization to help drive the overall direction of your marketing strategies.

9Dialogues

Is multi-platform measurement and MTA the same thing?

Mark

No. While the two are frequently confused to be the same thing, they are very different. Multi-platform simply refers to measurement that is inclusive of advertising exposures across multiple media platform such as television, digital desktop, mobile, and out-of-home (OOH) for example. In contrast, MTA not only accommodates different channels/ platforms, it assigns partial credit to all qualified touchpoints.

9Dialogues

How is NinthDecimal applying MTA?

Mark

We apply MTA to store visits to provide marketers the best guidance on performance for optimization purposes. As the first to introduce MTA for foot traffic measurement, our approach has been fueling the adoption of foot traffic attribution as core to measuring marketing effectiveness. As I mentioned earlier, brands can use these MTA-based insights to optimize across audience segments, creatives and other aspects of their marketing or content to have the greatest impact on real business metrices like revenues and customer growth.

9Dialogues

What other business KPIs can marketers map MTA to?

Mark

MTA can accommodate conversions like purchase occurrences and even purchase amount.

9Dialogues

Is MTA more complex to set up from a technology standpoint than other attribution methodologies?

Mark

That’s one of the great benefits, there is absolutely no additional complexity in the setup of a campaign to utilize MTA, as it is all handled in the backend with the methodology and calculations.

About 9Dialogues

The 9Dialogues blog series features NinthDecimal team members, partners and clients who are having a positive impact on the growth of the industry. They share their story about working in marketing and advertising and provide insights into trends and innovation that are driving change. From measuring the impact of marketing strategies to driving true business growth, you’ll get every perspective from 9Dialogues.

About Mark

Mark Dixon - Chief Product Officer, NinthDecimalAs Chief Product Officer, brings over 15 years of experience in technology and organizational leadership. His teams have consistently delivered market-leading products, which have received accolades from the Mobile World Congress, the International Design Excellence Awards, Forrester, and more. He previously served as Vice President of Product Management at NearbyNow, which was acquired by NinthDecimal.

Prior to NearbyNow, he was the Vice President of Product Management at SugarSync where he drove the delivery of an award-winning product that synchronizes a user’s data across all of their devices. Earlier in his career, Mark worked at Loudcloud, M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratories, A.T. Kearney, and I.B.M.

Mark holds a B.S. from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.