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Cross-channel advertising attribution: New insights into Multiplatform TV


In an era when advertising budgets are under greater scrutiny, marketers must be able understand the effectiveness and performance of the ads they place.

A new study by Accenture, commissioned by ABC, has uncovered a number of compelling insights that can help marketers do just that.

Our focus was the impact of video advertising, given its prominent role in many advertising budgets. As part of our analysis, we concentrated on two key categories: Multiplatform TV, which encompasses television-type programming consumed in various ways; and Digital which, for the purpose of this study, includes search, display, and short-form video.

We analyzed our proprietary, robust Accenture database of $12 billion in anonymized marketing spend over a three-year period across more than 20 leading national brands representing six industry categories, and tracked the impact of this spend on key metrics, including sales and brand health.

These findings reveal important insights about the approaches marketers use to evaluate ad performance—and how ongoing advancements in analytics tools have made possible increasingly sophisticated ways of gauging the return on ad investments.

Key Insights

Four important insights emerged from our research:

Key Finding #1:

Multiplatform TV advertising has a significant halo effect on search, display, and short-form video advertising within integrated campaigns. On average, 18% of the Return on Investment (ROI) that’s typically attributed to these three channels actually should be credited to Multiplatform TV.

Impact of Multiplatform TV halo on average ROI by Digital channel

Key Finding Graphic

Key Finding #2:

While the average ROI from search, display, and short-form video is high at initial spend levels relative to Multiplatform TV, marginal returns for Digital diminish rapidly as spend increases. In fact, the inflection point happens sooner than what we initially expected.

Spend vs. sales response curves by media channel, factoring in Multiplatform TV halo

Key Finding Graphic

Key Finding #3:

Multiplatform TV advertising has a measurable, long-term impact on driving incremental sales. The combined impact of Years 2 and 3 is equivalent to 1.3x the impact measured in Year 1.

Impact on incremental sales over three year period

after a reallocation of 2% Multiplatform TV budget to Digital

Key Finding Graphic

Key Finding #4:

Advertising within long-form digital video (a subset of Multiplatform TV) outperforms most types of digital advertising, including short-form video. Long-form digital video ROI outperforms short-form video by a factor of more than 1.5x.

ROI comparison by digital advertising channel

expressed as a multiple of short-form video ROI

Key Finding Graphic

Five Key Actions

These findings suggest that by adopting a new holistic approach to performance attribution measurement, marketers could enhance their ad investment yield—in many cases, substantially. As part of this approach, marketers should:

Key Action Icon
Factor the Multiplatform TV halo effect into short-term media planning to optimize the ROI from search, display, and short-form video.
Understand the cumulative three-year impact on total ROI when considering shifting Multiplatform TV spend to search, display, and short-form video.
Key Action Icon
Key Action Icon
Use long-form digital video to increase ROI on video advertising investments and align with the changing nature of consumer video consumption.
Strike the appropriate balance among search, display, and short-form video relative to Multiplatform TV to recognize the advantages Multiplatform TV provides related to absorbing incremental investment.
Key Action Icon
Key Action Icon
Consider category market trends and characteristics, as well as specific sales and brand objectives, to determine the most effective allocation of ad spend across all marketing channels.

Marketers who approach attribution in this way, supported by more sophisticated analytics, can accurately understand each channel’s performance and the full impact that reallocating budgets can have on performance. Such knowledge can be instrumental in putting ad dollars to work where they can have the greatest impact on what ultimately matters: strengthening brand health and bringing more customers and revenue through the door.


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