A Brief Overview of Media Measurement

What You Need to Know to Start Evaluating Your Impact

Media measurement evaluates the effectiveness of marketing investment across multiple platforms in driving activity around a brand—and ultimately return on investment (ROI) or return on ad spend (ROAS).

You may not realize that media measurement has been around since the radio broadcasts of the 1930s. According to Brent Merritt of Metric Communications, the need for financial support from advertisers during the Great Depression lead to radio broadcasters creating methods to gauge the size of their audience.

This need to measure audiences by size has persisted through modern day online advertising, as likes and views have dominated the media measurement conversation.

Now, you don’t hear much about the size of the audience. It is more about quality than quantity and with that foot traffic to physical stores is a key metric even in this digital era. With so much data available on consumer behavior and preferences, both online and offline, brands have no excuse about building deeper relationships with their target audiences.

If you feel overwhelmed with how to start adding attribution to your marketing strategy, I’ve put together some basics you need to know to get started.



Attribution is basically the measure of cause-to-effect, tracking how certain user actions lead to a desired goal. In a marketing campaign, this might look like a social media post driving a customer into a store, a billboard that drives eCommerce sales or an online search ad that drives visits to a store and then back to online for the final purchase.

If you want to prove that your marketing is working and identify more effective and efficient campaigns then attribution is critical to your overall marketing strategy.


Online vs. Offline Attribution

Online attribution is the digital marketer’s bread and butter, looking through the data to see which emails, social media posts, or banner ads lead to online sales.

Offline attribution is a specific area of attribution driven more by geographic locations than by digital pageviews. This lends insight to localized needs and key locations to expand a brand’s market share.

Footfall attribution falls under the offline umbrella, focusing particular attention on in-person foot traffic (or visits) to physical store locations through online-to-offline attribution. This measurement is especially important for certain industries that are still reliant on offline purchases at brick and mortar locations. Footfall attribution is also a way to evaluate how competitors may be seeing their fair share of market activity and allow a marketer to strategize to steal share from those competitors or learn how to better engage with customers.


How Media is Measured

Media measurement companies use a few different methods to evaluate attribution.

Lift analysis compares customers who saw a specific ad prior to performing an action with customers who acted without seeing the ad first. This helps marketers assess how the campaign itself made a difference in behavior.

Dwell time measures how long customers spent at a location before performing, or not performing, a certain action. Dwell filters make sure that people passing by and employees aren’t included in the footfall analysis by keeping the time measured within certain parameters. This is important to make sure the data is accurate.


Knowing Where Your Data Comes From

With all marketing now having data dependence and the tidal wave of regulation pending in the United States around privacy standards for consumer data, it is very important that marketers evaluate their data vendors carefully.

As audiences become more aware of how companies use their data, customers are now demanding a certain amount of privacy. First-party, privacy-compliant, and opt-in data are all terms you should be aware of when looking at media measurement companies and how they acquire data.

In addition, beware of biased sources. A number of media measurement companies are partnered with or owned by media companies that want media measurement companies to sell their product to their clients. Look for impartial or agnostic measurement tools in order to stay above the fray and incorporate unbiased reporting for your media investments.

If you’d like to learn more about adding media measurement into your marketing strategies, reach out today to speak with a Freckle sales representative.