Forrester Publishes Evaluation of Interactive Attribution Vendors: ClearSaleing, Visual IQ, And Atlas Lead, With [x+1] And Coremetrics Close Behind

I was just looking at the summary of the new Forrester report comparing interactive attribution vendors. My old friends at [x+1] are in the mix, even stacked up against players like Atlas, ClearSaleing, Visual IQ and CoreMetrics – despite the fact that attribution is not mainly what they do. They do it because it needs to be done well in order for them to deliver on their core competency, which is using industry-leading optimization of performance for online media and websites. Attribution is critical to optimizing media and site performance because you need an objective function (a numeric “score”) to optimize or even improve: attribution is how you keep score. Attribution is the process whereby credit for a conversion (a goal action, like a sale, subscription, or lead) is allocated among the many marketing activities and actors selling that product or service.

Historically, 100% of the credit for a sale has been attributed to the last online marketing “touch” before a purchase was made, in more or less this way:
1. All touches (impressions, clicks, conversions) needed to be tracked in the same system to be “attributable”
2. When a goal action occurred, the database was searched for the most recent impression with a click. If one is found, then it got attributed “credit” for the goal action. This is what is sometimes referred to as a “clickthrough conversion”.
3. If the whole attribution window (the time frame for which impressions are considered eligible for attribution) is searched and no click is found, then the most recent impression is found, and assigned (usually partial) credit for the conversion. This is sometimes referred to as a “view-through conversion”.

The new paradigm in attribution, represented by the offerings of the firms reviewed in the referenced Forrester paper, involves the effort to model, understand, and optimize the sequences of marketing activities that touch a prospective customer. Each of these “touches” is seen to have potential influence on the ultimate outcome (conversion vs. non-conversion), and the solutions here are ways of assigning a value to the contribution of each interaction. Some approaches to doing this are built upon models of the buying process, others are more brute force. Some vendors offer this as an approach for marketing mix allocation, others are more focused on banner, search, and site optimization.

If all this sounds fun and interesting to you, then you must be in analytics. Otherwise, the takeaway for you will just be this: better ROI (and better ROI measurement) from online marketing activities.

Practical Marketing Analytics’ Bill Seely interviewed in InteractiveTV Today

Bill is interviewed in Rick Howe’s “Dear iTV Doctor” column published today (Friday October 16, 2009). Check it out at
The topic was how to apply interactive television to engage and activate a TV show’s superfans. Bill talks about the impact of tailoring the design and features of an interactive experience embedded in a TV program to the needs and interests of the hard-core fans of the program.

Rick’s column appears regularly in Tracey Swedlow’s InteractiveTV Today (ITVT) (, the most widely read and trusted news source on the rapidly emerging medium of multiplatform, broadband interactive television (ITV).