Neither ad tech nor martech is flawless when it comes to attribution. At a recent roundtable discussion hosted by Which-50, industry experts discussed the possibility of alleviating these flaws through the combination of both disciplines.

An incorporation of martech potentially advances ad tech’s performance-driven attribution, according to Ben Sharp, APAC VP and Managing Director of AdRoll.

“Inside the martech world, you’re actually starting to talk about how much did this interaction with my customer help influence this group of customers to come and buy my product, to engage with my brand further, to register their interest, to receive a followup call in one form or another,” Sharp said.

“I actually think that the ad tech world can benefit a fair amount by the knowledge of how martech players have thought about attribution.”

Sharp said that, ultimately, a merger means the attribution discussion “starts to become much more sophisticated, much more interesting”.

Another suggestion was that a merger could help ad tech present a better business case.

In regard to attribution, the main benefit of a merger would be in “getting back to basics” said Timothy Whitfield, Director, Technical Operations at Group M.

“I think that for too long, ad tech itself has had a problem of hiding behind some numbers that, on the surface, look good — but may not have actually generated real sales,” he said.

“How many more hamburgers do we flip? How many bums in seats for the specific airline? How many credit cards sold? These types of things are very important metrics, and they need to be a lot more tangible,” he said.

Of course, any discussion on attribution becomes much more complex when multiple channels, platforms and customers are considered. To that end, Clement Tsang, Head of Consulting at Cadreon, said that these metrics often don’t “roll up in the business case.”

Tsang said that “for most CEOs, they’re not interested in media traffic and bounce rates. They’re more interested in what is the acquisition target, did we hit it, what are those outcomes?”

The key to achieving those goals, according to Tsang, is people. They are the ones responsible for driving “marketing into an experience”.

For many organisations, that role falls to the marketing leaders.

Head of Marketing at Triad Retail Media, Matt Barnett, said marketers’ attribution priority is about “trying to think about how they can use their data and real-time triggers not only to talk to people via email and personalise their web sites based on their actions, but also extend that into paid media.”

“That’s not only going to make you more successful as a brand, it’s also going to make you more successful as a marketer — because all of the data points are going to join together.”

About the author

Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, which produced The Convergence of AdTech and MarTech white paper on behalf of AdRoll, a Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit member.

Joe Brookes is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit.

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