An Introduction to Incrementality:
Meet the ‘Would Have Seen’

By: Thi Thumasathit, Head of Product – Campaigns in Product and Design (Sydney)
Today’s brands have a wide range of digital marketing channels available including display, paid search (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), social, email, SMS, calendaring, push notifications via apps, and retargeting. With so many different touch points, it seems difficult — if not next to impossible — to accurately measure the effectiveness of any one vendor or platform in the midst of a brand’s digital marketing mix.

In the past, brands have tried first click attribution, last click attribution, weighted attribution, and even machine learning attribution to distribute the success of a customer transaction across the digital marketing mix. The most demanding, highly analytic marketers are now converging on one methodology to measure the effectiveness of digital marketing platforms: Incrementality.

Incrementality is a cutting-edge form of split testing that can scientifically measure the effectiveness of a digital marketing platform with a high degree of accuracy.

Incrementality enables brands to make apples-to-apples comparisons between:
– Users who were actually exposed to the brand’s digital marketing campaigns via a platform, versus
– Users who would have been exposed to the brand’s digital marketing campaigns via a platform, but weren’t. (Statistically speaking, this is the control group or the holdout group.) In short, let’s call these consumers The Would Have Seen (WHS).

“The Would Have Seen are truly identical to users who were exposed to a brand’s ad… except, at the very last millisecond, they weren’t shown the brand’s ad.”

It’s extremely important to distinguish the WHS from consumers who simply didn’t see a brand’s campaign because they didn’t fit with the brand’s target or the brand’s bid didn’t win the auction for that user.

The WHS:
– Are not explicitly excluded by the brand; and
Are part of the brand’s target audience; and
– Received a winning bid from the brand on the platform; BUT
– Were randomly selected to be part of The WHS and not shown the brand’s ad.

In other words, the WHS are truly identical to users who were exposed to a brand’s ad — they were the ideal audience members, they were deemed equally valuable to show an ad to — except, at the very last millisecond, they weren’t shown the brand’s ad. For all intents and purposes, they would have seen an ad — but they didn’t, due to Incrementality.

Once a WHS, Always a WHS

Within an Incrementality study, once a user is deemed a member of the WHS, they’re always a member. WHS are excluded from all future opportunities to see any of the brand’s ad via the platform. This allows brands to observe and accurately measure how their behavior differs from users who are exposed on a given platform.

The WHS are at the heart of Rokt’s Incrementality solution – ensuring unbiased measurement and the highest degree of accuracy. Learn more about Rokt Incrementatlity here.

In Part 2 of this post, we’ll discuss what brands can measure via Incrementality.

Rokt