Atlas Unveils Multi-Channel Conversion Attribution

  |  February 25, 2008   |  Comments

UPDATE: Engagement ROI offering lets marketers assign value to channels and individual sites.

Microsoft's Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group will present a new cross-channel reporting and optimization solution called Engagement ROI at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) annual meeting in Phoenix today. The offering aims to help advertisers divvy up credit for a conversion to a combination of formats and channels, including search, display, rich media and video using a reporting approach Microsoft calls Engagement Mapping. They'll also be able to attribute value to impressions that run across different publisher sites and tweak campaigns while they're still in progress.

Microsoft's Atlas unit plans to begin testing the tool in closed beta with a number of advertiser and agency clients next month. Early participants include Best Western International, Citi Cards, GSD&M, Mindshare Interaction, Monster Worldwide, and Neo@Ogilvy. Advertisers will learn how to adjust campaigns based on how users interact with multiple ad impressions.

"You'll see publishers pulling data in the middle or end of the campaign, looking at the performance... You'll probably see advertisers adjusting their spends," said John Chandler, principal analyst at Atlas.

The tendency for marketers to give sole credit for a conversion to the last ad clicked is a relic going back to the early days of the Web, said Chandler. He noted there was little overlap of ads between sites back then, and some powerful ad venues had yet to find favor with advertisers. "Search wasn't a marketing channel, search was a utility. The notion didn't exist. The world was a simpler place."

A series of studies from the likes of Atlas, Avenue A/Razorfish and Yahoo have attempted to show the link between search and display advertising, in particular the role of display in influencing consumers who eventually convert through search.

Firms including DoubleClick, Mediasmith and Starcom are developing or have developed means for marketers to assign value to various online channels, a practice sometimes called Multiple Attribution Protocol.

This story has been updated to add specific advertisers and agencies involved in the closed beta.

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Enid Burns

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