Location intelligence company NinthDecimal is rolling out what it calls “the industry’s first multi-touch attribution (MTA) solution for foot traffic measurement.” The approach takes a more holistic look at different consumer touchpoints and how they impact offline store visitation.
NinthDecimal President David Staas says the company already has “200 customers running live with 500 different campaigns” and that there has been a very positive response from both brands and agencies. Staas characterizes the MTA approach as “a fundamental rethinking of foot-traffic measurement.”
Next-gen location analytics. The company sees MTA as the next evolution of campaign measurement and analytics. It differs from “traditional” multi-touch approaches in its relative simplicity (quick set-up) and offline measurement capability.
NinthDecimal also says it’s the only multi-touch offering among the company’s location-intelligence/location analytics competitive peers, which include Foursquare/Placed, PlaceIQ, GroundTruth, Factual, Blis, Cuebiq, ThinkNear, Ubimo and others.
For the past several years, mobile-location data has increasingly been used to measure the impact of a single digital channel or sometimes two channels on offline consumer actions and incremental store visits. It has brought new audience insights and new visibility to the efficacy of media, by connecting the digital and physical worlds. Yet there’s always been a quasi- last-touch attribution problem with online-to-offline analytics focused on the impact of a single channel or campaign. NinthDecimal is bringing a broader lens and attribution framework to digital and soon to cross-channel (traditional and digital media) measurement.
Multiple touchpoints weighted. According to the company, “the MTA approach fractionally applies credit for visitation across every relevant customer touchpoint… Brands can use 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 metrics like revenues and customer growth.”
In traditional location analytics, there’s a control and exposed methodology and a trailing attribution window (example: did those exposed to the (mobile, video, OOH) campaign show up in a store within 30 days?). Brands and agencies can then understand incremental lift and optimize campaigns that are driving foot traffic and sometimes in-store sales.
Many more variables in the mix. The MTA approach looks “back” at various categories of data — audiences, creatives, publishers and media touchpoints — before the store visit. Media exposures are weighted and millions of impressions and audience datapoints are aggregated. NinthDecimal and its customers can then see which publishers, media and creatives are having an offline impact overall and on which audiences. Although imperfect it maps more closely to the actual customer journey than most current attribution methodologies.
NinthDecimal says it gets data from a wide range of sources and says it sees 270 million devices monthly. Through direct and data partner relationships it can measure TV, search, social, display, video, OOH and print media. It also says it now has more than 200 audience attributes that marketers can target and optimize against.
Why we should care. Most digital marketers are still using a first or last-touch attribution methodology, let alone more sophisticated location analytics. Most enterprises have wanted multi-touch attribution for a long time. But multi-touch has been complex to set up and is often unreliable because it’s based on abstract formulas that may or may not reflect actual consumer behavior. The combination of MTA and store visitation data potentially solves some of these challenges for brands, retailers and others who ultimately care most about mapping and optimizing media against real-world business outcomes.
Update: After publication of this story, Foursquare contacted us and said it has a similar multi-touch attribution capability, introduced last year. “With our MTA approach, we’re able to provide a more complete view of omni-channel measurement across TV, digital, search, OOH and, social simultaneously,” explained a company spokesperson.