The truth about TV Attribution that the advertising industry doesn’t want you to know.

the original TV Attribution
the original TV Attribution

There is a specific buzzword floating around right now among the advertising and marketing industry.  Like Big Data and Paradigm Shifts and Hyperlocal and Gluten-Free, we think we know what these things mean, but do we really?

The word of the day is Attribution.  Specifically, media-related Attribution: TV Attribution + Radio Attribution.  The act of attributing, or placing cause-and-effect status, on two single actions (e.g. viewing an ad and acting on that ad.)

How did we get here?

Way back when, before we had to define and buzz-name it, it could be found in the daytime and late-night television commercials that would urge you to “Call within the next seven minutes and mention code WTF123 to receive a special offer.”  It was Direct Response and it was a beast all of its own.  This was the first iteration of TV Attribution.

But then things got complicated.  The World Wide Web and all of its cookies allowed us to track a user’s purchase funnel from start to finish.  Literally A to Z.  Amazing stuff.

But what happens if we think the purchase funnel started outside of the internet?  What if it started with a radio ad or (gasp!) with a newspaper?  Well, the industry decided to slap a little correlation on there and call it Attribution.  Not amazing stuff.

If everyone else is doing it…

A lot of folks out there right now do not understand the difference between correlation and causation, and this is eliciting mass confusion and an over-inflated, misused buzzword.  Companies are attempting to capitalize on this phenomenon by telling big stories and not properly citing their sources.  They are overlaying statistics like traditional media spend and user web presence to find a pattern in the data.

We aren’t even mad; this isn’t even the problem. GaleForce is doing this too.

The only difference is that we are not calling it Attribution.  Because we do not know for sure – beyond a shadow of a doubt, without any hesitation – that the reason your client’s web traffic increased is because you spent more money on TV last month.  No one knows that.

It’s just a correlation.

But it’s a mighty smart one.

correlation is not causation in TV attribution

Use it for what it is

Don’t listen to anyone who tries to sell you on the fact that TV Attribution (or Radio Attribution) is something you can proliferate quickly and without effort.   Only a handful of companies are attempting to learn this information and capture it soundly.  The rest are just trying to sell you a gluten-filled muffin at a gluten-free price.  Watch what you eat and always question the source.

Contact us today to learn more about GaleForceMedia, our newest web-based buying and planning tool.