Riley, EmilyAfter talking about the topic of attribution for several years now, I'm very excited to be publishing a Wave that highlights the key companies in the interactive attribution space. The companies are: Atlas, ClearS, Coremetrics, Theorem, Trueffect, Visual IQ and x+1. You may not have heard of some of these companies, and many of these companies don't even consider themselves competitors. Two signs that we are really at the leading edge of this topic, and have a lot of room to grow. That said, we found some robust solutions out there that are doing a lot to advance marketers' abilities to more accurately measure and buy online media.

We evaluated the current attribution offerings in the market as they relate to the key online marketing channels: display, search, email, affiliate, social, etc. There are a lot of ad networks, agencies and vendors out there who also do a great job of attributing credit within or across these channels, but the vendors selected for the wave illustrated the most functionality and robustness. We looked a a wide variety of criteria when scoring each vendor, but took particular interest in:

  • Depth of Insight: We took a serious look at how accurate the attribution measurement was.Some companies use custom algorithms to get at the heart of the attribution problem. Other companies require the marketer to come up with the various weights or values they want to assign to the first, second, or third interaction in a customer's purchase path.
  • Ease of Use: Most marketers are just starting to understand how to think about attributing credit across marketing touch points, so tools in the market need to be intuitive, instructive, and easy to use. Some companies solve this with well designed dashboards, while others offer a full-service consulting offering.
  • Integration: You might have noticed a few site analytics and ad serving tools in our list. Obviously, a client of Doubleclick would think twice about how much they want to switch to Atlas in order to get their attribution capabilities. A lot of the solutions we reviewed are tied to larger products or services, and must be integrated into a marketer's suite of tools and business process – no small task in this day and age.
  • Strategy: The interactive attribution space is growing rapidly, and so each vendor's strategy for growth and market leadership was a key factor in their score. We assume that competition in this space will only increase, so we looked closely at how well each offering was set up to be successful in the next few years.

I encourage you to review the Wave. I would love to hear your comments: who you see as the next player in the space, and how marketers will shift their measurement practices over time.I also wrote a companion document to the wave that takes a look at the interactive attribution landscape, and identifies some sectors of the industry that may become bigger players in the near term.