Measuring Incrementality: Evaluating the True Impact of Paid Media Campaigns

Paid media campaigns are a huge investment—both in hard dollars and human effort. So, when you’re pouring budget into Google, Facebook, programmatic display, and more, you’d better believe measuring your returns is crucial. But are you going about it the right way?

Too many businesses still evaluate paid performance based on vanity metrics like impressions, clicks, and last-click conversions. While those indicators have their place, they only paint part of the picture and don’t account for intrinsic brand awareness, view-through activities, and multi-channel journeys. They fail to measure what truly matters: incremental value.

Incrementality tackles the question “What additional value did this specific paid media campaign drive that wouldn’t have happened organically?” It isolates the unique conversions and revenue directly attributable to your advertising efforts after controlling for extraneous variables like seasonality.

This more robust measurement approach better reflects the complexities of today’s consumer paths which often zigzag across multiple paid and owned channels before eventually converting. By walling off your paid impacts, you can make smarter optimization decisions and invest with true ROI accountability.

Of course, elevating to an incrementality mindset is easier said than done. Calculating and attributing incremental lift across channels, campaigns, creatives, audiences, and more requires advanced measurement methodologies. From ghost ads and holdout tests to marketing mix modeling and multi-touch attribution, specialized expertise is a must.

That’s where partnering with a certified analytics pro experienced in incrementality evaluation becomes invaluable. These measurement pros have the technical skills and tools to layer on incrementality measurement frameworks that consider your business’s unique nuances and rapidly evolving market dynamics.

They’ll work closely with your team to design a customized measurement approach combining various data sources, identity resolution, advanced reporting, and more. This custom solution provides the insights to definitively gauge the distinct value your paid media investments are driving—plus optimizations to amplify that incrementality further.

Having this elevated vantage point allows you to confidently prune underperforming campaigns, invest more into your biggest paid performance drivers, and ultimately double down on the channels proven to move the needle most for your business.

Especially for omnichannel brands striving to create cohesive, gap-free customer experiences, an incrementality mindset is crucial for mapping touchpoints and budgeting to fine-tune your integrated media strategies. You gain a comprehensive view into how your cross-channel efforts are contributing to the bigger picture.

At the end of the day, incrementality separates the pretenders from the true performers when it comes to paid media measurement and ROI. It’s about isolating the impact, identifying the gaps, and optimizing for more of those coveted gains that legitimately move your top and bottom lines forward.