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How to Normalize Attribution

22 Jun 2023

The Mars Agency’s Kandi Arrington and Ethan Goodman tackle some of the most common questions that brands are asking about retail media strategy and activation.

QUESTION: How do you compare results across retailer media networks when attribution windows vary so much?

Ethan Goodman: It’s a difficult task, which is why there’s such a big push right now to establish industry-wide measurement practices. The IAB is doing some really great work in this area, and we’re excited to be part of the effort.

For now, the only option is to work with your internal teams and agency partners to normalize the data as best as possible. The Mars Agency’s analytics and data science team has spent a lot of time helping us right-size the data we’ve gotten across retail media networks that have been using different attribution windows.

As the industry increasingly calls for standardization, however, networks are starting to comply. Most are now defaulting to a 14-day attribution window. Some promise to get that down to seven days, 3 days, or even 1 day; others will give you the 14-day window but also want you to consider the 30-day view because that length makes more sense for categories with longer purchase cycles.

Kandi Arrington: We also recommend going beyond program-level attribution to do an occasional gut check to make sure you’re winning over the right shoppers by mapping out your base sales. Look at what you typically turn in a week, find the spike from your program, and then check to see what happens post-campaign: Do the numbers come all the way back down, or do they stay up a little bit?

Beyond the program evaluation, you should be monitoring lifetime value. Check your category-level loyalty rates quarterly or even just annually. You could be getting attribution “wins” but also consistently losing those shoppers in the long term. And that would suggest you have a bigger brand problem that typical retail media measurement isn’t going to uncover.

As we’ve been saying, this emphasizes the need to be looking at your total business — not just the individual activation pieces.

Get more insights from previous Fast FAQs

What metrics should brands be using to measure retail media performance?

Are there any best practices for measuring iROAS?

In terms of collaborative joint value planning, what retailer is best in class?
What percentage of your overall marketing spend should be allocated to retail media?

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