Category: Thought Leadership

Event: Attribution Solutions – How to be a Hero when Attribution Models Fall Short

Let’s Play the Attribution Game

Attribution is an integral component of any successful marketing plan. It’s crucial to understand what’s working (and what’s not), and continuously optimize based on data-driven learnings. As we find more reliable ways to understand what impact a given channel had on producing a conversion, marketers are moving away from last click and fractional models that only tell part of the story. But what happens when even multi-touch attribution doesn’t cut it? And how can brands form a more complete attribution picture between digital and offline channels?

attribution solutions

Join Us!

RSVP here to join MightyHive subject matter experts for a timely conversation about how to bridge gaps left by even robust attribution models. We’ll discuss tracking limitations, how to tackle walled gardens, and new tactics for quantifying success across disparate metrics. You’ll come away with actionable insights that will make you an attribution hero.

Plus, complimentary pizza, cocktails, and gifts will be provided.

Where: MightyHive New York, 43 W. 24th Street, 6th Floor (between 5th and 6th)

When: Thursday, January 17, 6:30-8:30pm

Dress Code: Casual. Wear your networking pants. Bring your business cards. Don’t be shy!

You: An inquisitive mind. An experienced, hands-on-keyboard ad tech enthusiast. Someone interested in connecting with others to geek out about new technology over pizza and drinks instead of binging on Netflix after work.

Us: MightyHive is a new breed of media consultancy that partners with global brands and agencies seeking transformative marketing results in a time of significant disruption. We provide consulting and services in advanced marketing and advertising technologies, media operations, training, data strategy, and analytics. And we’re hiring, big time.

Whether you’re looking for your next career move, you want to expand your skillset, or you just like to chat with like-minded industry folks, we hope you’ll stop by.

AdExchanger: He Said What? AdExchanger’s Most Popular Opinions Of 2018

In AdExchanger’s annual round-up of their 10 most popular opinion columns of 2018, MightyHive grabbed not one, but two spots on the list! As Tilde Herrera explains:

“The very best columns are engaging, on-point and fun to read. Our 10 most popular op-eds of 2018 below delivered on each count.

We have to give a gold star to Martin Kihn (formerly of Gartner and now at Salesforce), author of three of our most-read columns. Not far behind is MightyHive, the consultancy recently acquired by S4 that contributed two of our top columns.”



#6 – What Will Ad Tech Consolidation Look Like?
By: Pete Kim

MightyHive’s CEO gives his take on how the winners of the ad tech game will consolidate around four key strengths – an interesting view from the leader of a company that was itself just acquired.

#10 – The Seventh Deadly Sin Of Digital: Reach And Frequency
By: Ming Wu

Another winner from MightyHive shows how marketers’ quest for reach and frequency can lead them to the dark side.

Read the full list of top opinion columns on AdExchanger.

The Search is on: Search as a Tool for Brand Building


Historically, search engine marketing has been considered a tactic for driving lower-funnel performance, but marketers often overlook search when it comes to brand marketing. Smart marketers know that a well-constructed search campaign can create and support brand building in addition to driving lower-funnel KPIs like clicks and conversions.

Here are some guidelines to help you create a powerful campaign that will work harder for your brand.

Brand vs. Search Generic Campaigns Explained

Search campaigns can typically be categorised as brand (containing brand-specific keywords), or generic (keywords not containing a brand name). While the purpose of a generic campaign is to raise awareness, a brand campaign nudges the user down the funnel towards a conversion.

Brand campaigns
  • Contains brand-specific keywords (e.g., ‘Nike’)
  • Typically lower-funnel, since the search is usually specific to both a brand and a product (or product type)
Generic campaigns
  • Limited to generic, unbranded keywords (e.g., ‘basketball shoes’)
  • Typically upper-funnel, since the prospect is interested in a product or service but has not yet decided on a brand

Bidding on Your Brand Keywords

Users show a high level of organic intent when searching for specific brand names. Despite this, campaigns should not rely solely on organic results and exclude brand search terms. In fact, brand searches provide enhanced opportunities for advertisers, and the benefits can far outweigh the incremental Cost Per Click.

Let’s look at an example. Myles, our hypothetical shopper, is interested in getting his wife a new backpack, and he’s heard good things about Herschel. He goes to his search engine of choice, and types “Herschel backpack.”

A budget-savvy advertiser might argue that organic results from Myles’ search are adequate to encourage conversions, and consequently, no further budget should be allocated to bid on brand keywords. However, there are benefits to bidding on brand keywords:

  • Controlling search engine results page (SERP) real estate
  • Leveraging a high Quality Score for brand search terms
  • Brand consistency in multi-channel campaigns

Controlling Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Real Estate

Significant Search Engine Results Page (SERP) real estate is a benefit of combined organic and paid results. SERP placement is best achieved when advertisers bid on their own brand keywords. The investment ensures that prime real estate on the results page (the top positions) is dominated by the searched brand, with less opportunity for competitors to win impressions.

paid search results

Leveraging a High Quality Score for Brand Search Terms

Due to the positive impact of site content relevancy and ad copy on the Quality Score, brand keywords will always win bids over competitors, and will tend to be less expensive due to the high Quality Score.

Despite these benefits, there are some instances in which brand search terms do not require paid investment. For example, if Myles searches “Herschel backpack reviews,” indicating he is in the research phase, a brand keyword bid would be crucial to ensure he doesn’t click on a competitor’s ad. However, if Myles searches “where to buy Herschel backpacks,” his granular search term indicates he is lower in the funnel and well on his way to conversion. Organic results should suffice in this case.

Hot tip: Optimising a brand campaign in this way can be done by negatively targeting lower funnel brand keywords, or by lowering the max CPCs on these high-converting search terms.

Maintaining Brand Equity Through Paid Search

Search is one of the most creatively restrictive mediums for brand messaging. Search forces advertisers to support their brand without the aid of visual cues such as colour palette, logos, or imagery. Without visual identity, the only levers left to pull are the brand name, and the verbal tone & messaging (which is further limited by a strict character count).

When crafting your search campaign, it is imperative to adapt brand messaging to work in a search engine environment. Creating a compelling search ad requires far more thought than cutting existing taglines to fit character limits. Maintaining consistency between keywords and ad copy is crucial. The tone of the ad copy should mirror the tone of the brand and resonate with the correct purchase funnel stage.

Brand Consistency in Multi-Channel Campaigns

Consistency across an integrated brand experience from above-the-line mediums to SEM is important for brand recognition in a competitive environment. If an advertiser is running a holiday promotion, for example, it’s a best practice to mirror that message in search results. This could require sending the user to a promotional landing page instead of the site homepage.

In our backpack example, let’s assume Herschel is running a 20% off holiday promotion, which Myles learns about offline. In this case, if Myles searches for “Herschel backpack promotion,” organic results could lead him to the Herschel homepage, not the holiday deal landing page.

Using paid search, Herschel can push Myles from the middle to lower funnel using consistent promotional messaging and granular sitelinks. Paid search ads that mirror landing page and offline promo messaging give the advertiser more control to show the promotion.

organic vs paid search

Now We’re Talking!

Investing in paid search for brand campaigns can be extremely powerful. Using a strategy that optimises towards your brand KPIs and funnel stage-specific messaging, branded keyword bids can raise brand awareness and push customers from research to conversion. Now it’s time to consider: what can search do for your brand?

MarTech Advisor: The Death of Proxy Metrics – Optimizing Towards Real Business Objectives

Historic proxy metrics like CPC, CTR, and CPA are dying. MightyHive’s Chris Brook argues that proxy metrics are distracting marketers from measuring the true impact of their campaigns. Instead, he argues that marketers should be focused on measuring the success of their campaigns against business outcomes. By measuring against actual outcomes, marketers gain a clearer picture of their audience and the return on their programs.

As digital advertising continues to evolve, it’s evident that the industry needs to set a new bar for media and consumer measurement, and begin to sunset legacy metrics in favor of real business objectives. While breaking decades-old habits is never easy, it is critical that we change our way of thinking, or get left behind.

For marketers looking to measure the true value of their campaigns, Chris outlines three steps that marketers can take to advance their measurement standards.

Read the full article on MarTech Advisor.

Contact us to learn how MightyHive can help you take control of your data and measurement strategy.

What’s in a Name? The Importance of Campaign Naming Conventions


A digital marketer’s world is filled with fire drills, deadlines, and distractions. Between budgets, launch dates, and optimizations, campaign naming conventions might be pretty low on your list of priorities. But investing time up front to build a consistent campaign naming convention will pay off over the long run and allow you to:

  • Understand campaign goals and details at a glance using just the campaign name
  • Resolve insights across campaigns, channels, creative formats, and funnel stages
  • Easily pull together reporting data that spans multiple ad servers and DSPs
  • Immediately bring insights and optimizations back to related campaigns, line items, placements, and creatives

Developing a formal campaign naming convention is similar to laying a foundation for a tower. Without a solid foundation, you’ll end up with a short tower that doesn’t let you see very far. With a strong foundation, you’ll be able to build a taller tower, and then keep on adding to it, allowing you see more and see farther than your peers who didn’t plan as well.

This post will walk you through the process of developing a campaign naming convention and taxonomy that can be applied to campaigns in your ad server(s), DSP(s), and reporting & attribution platforms.

Developing a formal campaign naming convention is similar to laying a foundation for a tower. Without a solid foundation, you’ll end up with a short tower that doesn’t let you see very far.

Understand your Key Reporting Metrics

Key reporting metrics are perhaps the most important consideration before, during, and at the conclusion of your media campaigns. What needs to be reported on across teams, products, and services? How will campaign results need to be broken down? What are the metrics that will help gauge effectiveness and optimize for the future?

There are a number of important potential reporting variables to think about:

  • Products
  • Categories/Sub Categories
  • Brands
  • Targeting/Audience
  • Funnel Stage
  • Geography (e.g., ZIP, DMA, state)
  • Objective
  • Publisher
  • Quarter/Month/Year

Think about the variables you (and your clients) will want to report on before you start crafting your naming convention; you’ll want to account for all major variables so that you can report on them in a consistent manner once your campaigns start running, regardless of the reporting platform.

What is the Campaign Goal? How Will Customers Convert?

Take the time to research and ask questions to help you gain a deep understanding of your (or your advertiser’s) marketing funnel. More importantly, make sure you are very clear on the goals for each campaign. This will inform your campaign structure and naming conventions, which will help you build clean, actionable reporting.

Visualize the funnel. How are you trying to guide consumers through the purchase funnel? When in doubt, draw it out!

Format and Consistency

The care you put into developing campaign naming conventions and taxonomies won’t be of much use unless your naming convention format is used with 100% consistency.

1. Pick a Standard Delimiter

Pick a standard delimiter (e.g., underscore, dash, or pipe) to mark where one variable ends and the next begins. This is a must. Do not just use a blank space. A standard delimiter will make reporting and data filterable, regex-friendly, and therefore machine-readable.

Here are some examples of what delimiters look like in practice:

  • Underscore-delimited: these_are_my_variables
  • Dash-delimited: these-are-my-variables
  • Pipe-delimited: these|are|my|variables

Lastly, make sure to note blank spaces with a character different from your delimiter (but don’t ever use actual blank spaces!). For example, a pipe-delimited campaign name for a pet supplies advertiser might use underscores to represent blank spaces like this: cats|cat_food|awareness|paid_social|q4_2018.

Because many analytics platforms and databases are case-sensitive, your campaign names should be all lower case. This avoids the inconsistencies that tend to emerge when using terms like “site-retargeting,” which might also get typed as “Site-retargeting” or “Site-Retargeting.” Any inconsistency in capitalization might cause some platforms to interpret multiple different values when in fact there is only supposed to be one value.

However, note that going 100% lower case means that your campaign names can’t use any terms or acronyms that rely on capital letters for their meaning.

2. Use a Data Dictionary

Use values consistently. Put together a ‘data dictionary’ before you start building out naming structures. This will ensure everyone is naming variables in a consistent way (e.g., pick ‘PaidSocial’ or ‘Paid-Social’; everyone should use the same convention). Abbreviations or acronyms should also be agreed upon by all participating parties.

300×250 300 x 250, medium-rectangle
north-america north america, na, NorthAm
run-of-site ros, RunOfSite, run of site
q4_2018 q4, 2018q4, 4Q_2018

3. Arrange your Variables Hierarchically

Arrange variables hierarchically, from broadest to most narrow variables or dimensions. This will be unique to each advertiser. For example, if you find that the brand is the most all-encompassing variable, and product, date, or promotion are more specific, the broad variable should come first. The human brain breaks down problems from big to small, left to right. This structure allows anyone to easily understand your campaign goal just by looking at the name.

Here’s a simplified example of what it looks like to have variables descend from broadest on the left to narrowest on the right:

Once you’ve settled on a hierarchy, it needs to stay locked in. Variables should always be in same order within campaign or placement names. Changes in the order of variables will break reporting.

When you put everything together, here’s a more realistic example of how a campaign naming convention for a pet food advertiser might look like:

Clean Data In, Clean Data Out

Once you have a plan in place, you’re ready to start naming your campaigns! By being consistent with your setup, you can easily interpret campaign goals at a glance, and anyone should be able to make ad-hoc analyses simply by filtering for variables like creative size, funnel stage, campaign objective, etc.

This approach easily solves issues caused by reporting across multiple DSPs and platforms. The example below shows a complex setup, and in this instance all teams associated with this account can report across all DSPs and platforms seamlessly, delivering comprehensive and actionable reporting and attribution.

Apples to Apples FTW!

Intelligent, strictly-applied naming conventions will let you report on, generate insights for, and optimize your campaigns quickly and easily, even across multiple DSPs and reporting platforms. Consistency lets you instantly filter and pivot across variables.

With clean, apples to apples data, you can quickly identify both weak and strong points within your campaigns (e.g., pause a certain creative size because it’s performing poorly across multiple campaigns and placements, or put more budget towards a certain geo because it is generating a lot of conversions), leading to faster optimization and stronger performance.

Video: Five Factors to Consider When Going In-House

Watch “The Spectrum of Control” (page opens in a new window)

At AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O in New York, MightyHive CEO Pete Kim took the stage to offer guidance to marketers looking to go in-house. His presentation addressed five factors marketers should consider when evaluating where they fall on the Spectrum of Control—a framework for in-housing—along with actionable next steps.

A Fundamental Shift

Pete highlights the fundamental shift that we are seeing in consumer viewership and media consumption habits where attention is a commodity:

“Consumers today can watch anything they want, listen to anything they want, read anything they want, consume any media that they want, at the touch of a button. Perfectly integrated, perfectly synchronized across every device that they own.”

– Pete Kim, CEO, MightyHive

As Pete attests, consumers expect more out of their screen time and by extension, their ads. This presents new challenges for advertisers who are battling low consumer sentiment around ads in general.

In order to create more meaningful, personalized, targeted ads that meet rising consumer expectations, advertisers must be smarter about how they deploy their vast amounts of data. This requires enhanced and unified control over media planning, data, and analytics. For many companies, however, bringing everything in-house is neither  a realistic or necessary solution.

Control is Not Binary

Most brands feel that in-housing is an all-or-nothing insurmountable hurdle, but Pete proposes that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, there are various levels of control advertisers can have for in-housing to accommodate their available resources and technical expertise.

in-house spectrum of control

These options range on a sliding scale from completely outsourced, which gives advertisers little transparency but also requires fewer brand resources, to fully in-housed, which offers full control but requires deep technical expertise or training and headcount resources.

Five Factors to Consider When Going In-House

Next, Pete introduces five points marketers must consider to assess where they belong on the Spectrum of Control:

in-house factors to consider

Depending on the combination of factors that apply to a specific advertiser, this framework is how marketers can determine the right combination of in-housing and outsourcing for their brand.

Where to Start

Pete then provides a tangible roadmap for marketers once they have evaluated where they fall on the Spectrum of Control.

“When done correctly, this can well and truly revolutionize our industry, address many of the huge issues we face every day, and ultimately will help the businesses that will win tomorrow figure out how to talk to their customers today.”

– Pete Kim, CEO, MightyHive

Watch Pete Kim’s full “Spectrum of Control” session for actionable steps to get started with in-housing.

Did you know 67% of marketers think they’ll have first-party data solved within 18 months? Request a copy of our upcoming report about how enterprise brands are activating their first-party data to see how you measure up.

Event: Programmatic Innovators Circle

On Monday, October 15, MightyHive participated in the inaugural Programmatic Innovators Circle dinner at The Grill in New York City to address the challenges and opportunities presented by in-housing. According to an IAB report, “Nearly two-thirds of brands purchasing ads through programmatic means have fully or partially moved the function in-house.” However, in addition to noting the many benefits of in-housing, the IAB report also pinpoints the challenges of doing so: “the programmatic in-housing transition typically requires at least a one-year commitment, complex coordination of partner contracts, staff training, and more.”

The Programmatic Innovators Circle is a supportive coalition of savvy marketers designed to address the unique challenges and opportunities of bringing programmatic in-house. Co-chaired and driven by senior marketing leaders, this invitation-only group met over dinner to seek advice, share best practices, and discuss strategies around in-housing. The group’s goal is to create a network to help marketers:

  • Learn strategies and tactics to empower their teams and unlock the full potential of in-housing
  • Stay on the cutting edge of the industry through regular knowledge-sharing and updates from subject matter experts
  • Discuss team structure and skills needed to successfully transition to in-housing
  • Benefit from resources shared by marketers at different stages of the in-housing process

“With the Programmatic Innovators Circle, we’re creating a network of marketers who are transforming their organizations, becoming more data-driven, and building transparency into their relationships across the advertising ecosystem. It’s about creating a safe space to have conversations about the opportunities and challenges of setting up a team, and a way for marketers to stay relevant by driving their own learning agenda.”

– Leah Kim, CMO, MightyHive

Senior marketers from verticals including insurance, CPG, durables, auto, F&B, and others gathered to share insights and learn from one another. In-housing has gained popularity in recent years as marketers are under pressure to take ownership of their data and digital strategy. With major brands such as Anheuser-Busch InBevGlaxoSmithKline, and Bayer going public with their plans to bring programmatic in-house, communities like the Programmatic Innovators Circle can provide a clear roadmap to in-housing success.

Watch MightyHive CEO Pete Kim’s “Spectrum of Control” presentation to learn five ways you can get started with in-housing. Also, be sure to sign-up to receive a copy of our upcoming report about how enterprise brands are activating their first-party data.

Marketers Looking To Go In-House Must Evaluate Where They Fall on the Spectrum of Control

“Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight – you have to make an in-housing plan based on your goals and go step by step.”

– Pete Kim, CEO, MightyHive

In-Housing: From Trend to Solution

The ANA recently conducted a survey of their members asking about their in-housing plans. The results were compiled into a report, which revealed that 78% of marketers have some kind of in-house agency. Just five years ago, only 58% of marketers had these insourced resources. Research suggests that these numbers may be low, as many brands are hesitant to reveal their strategy by disclosing their plans.

There has been a trend towards increasing in-house capabilities over the last five years as marketers look to take more ownership of their data and digital strategy. With brands like GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, and Uber announcing that they are taking programmatic in-house, it’s a trend that’s quickly gaining widespread adoption. With greater transparency, control, and cost efficiencies on the table, in-housing is an appealing solution for enterprise marketers who are under pressure to deliver results while simultaneously reducing costs.

in-house adoption graph

Source: “The Continued Rise of the In-House Agency.” ANA, 2018.

Driving Value With In-Housing

While there are benefits to be gained from in-housing, there are also considerations that marketers should evaluate when thinking about moving forward with an in-housing strategy. Taking any of your media or marketing in-house is not a binary decision, there is a full spectrum comprised of different levels of control.


Source: “The Continued Rise of the In-House Agency.” ANA, 2018.

The Spectrum of Control

As MightyHive CEO, Pete Kim, presented on stage at AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O in October, there is not a one size fits all approach for digital transformation. Individual organizations need to evaluate their capabilities to determine the right mix of in-housing and outsourcing that aligns with their goals and resources.

in-housing spectrum of control 4 options


There are multiple approaches to successfully and effectively execute any solution along the spectrum. However, each and every solution takes time to execute on — transformation doesn’t (and can’t) happen overnight.

Watch Pete Kim’s full “Spectrum of Control” presentation to learn five ways you can get started with in-housing. Also, be sure to sign-up to receive a copy of our upcoming report about how enterprise brands are activating their first-party data.

For those considering in-housing, join MightyHive at the ANA’s inaugural In-House Agency Conference on March 1-15, 2019 in Orlando, Florida where we will be presenting.   


Amazon Attribution Now Lets Brands Connect Media to Purchases


Amazon = Shopping

Since its launch over 20 years ago, retail kingpin has become central to a tectonic shift in how the world shops—it’s also a household name and recently became the world’s second trillion-dollar company. Thanks to the proliferation of Amazon as a platform for shopping, research, and content, it has accumulated a vast amount of data covering every stage of the path to purchase.

emarketer amazon retail ecommerce sales

However, Media Attribution on Amazon Has Been Elusive

Many retailers and consumer brands sell across a variety of channels including owned sites, Amazon, Walmart,, Target, big box chains, and others, with an estimated 5% of final US retail purchases made through Amazon. Despite Amazon’s wealth of consumer intent and purchase data, it has historically been challenging for advertisers to determine how their media contributed towards browsing and ultimately purchase activity on

… Until Now

Enter Amazon Attribution. This new solution, currently in beta, offers marketers a view into how media campaigns contribute to sales on Amazon. This visibility into campaign effectiveness is a key piece of the puzzle, helping marketers understand the impact of their media dollars and supporting the advertiser’s sales goals at large.

A Look at How Real Shoppers Shop (Hint: It’s Complicated)

Let’s explore a real-world example of a consumer’s ever-increasing number of touchpoints and destinations along a path to purchase. Meet our shopper, Mitchell, who frequently visits to get the latest highlights and updates for his hometown heroes: the Lakers. While on, Mitchell sees a display banner for a sweet Nike-brand jersey for the Lakers. Reminded of his Lakers tickets for next week, Mitchell searches for the same Nike jersey on Google. He clicks on the first paid search result, which leads him directly to the product listing on the Nike website.

Now that Mitchell has a baseline for price comparison, he shops around on two or three sporting goods sites before typing directly into his browser. On Amazon, he locates the product (sold by Nike) and reads dozens of customer reviews on the product detail page. He ultimately makes his purchase on Mitchell receives his authentic Nike jersey in time for the game (thanks, Amazon Prime!), and the Lakers pull off a buzzer beater to secure the victory.

media attribution on amazon

Measurement Blind Spots for Retailers

Let’s examine this specific scenario from Nike’s perspective. Up until Mitchell left Nike’s site in favor of Amazon, Nike could capture Mitchell’s onsite activity and attribute the product page visit to their display and search media. However, once on, Mitchell’s activity becomes invisible to Nike and is not attributable to Nike’s paid media efforts. Within Nike’s attribution systems, Mitchell would be considered a non-converter since the final purchase wasn’t recorded on the owned site. The attribution picture would remain incomplete and inaccurate.

Amazon Attribution Closes the Loop

Amazon Attribution gives advertisers the conversion metrics, including Amazon detail page views, purchase rate, and sales, that provide a comprehensive view into how search and display contribute to shopping activity on Amazon. This more complete picture allows advertisers to measure, optimize, and plan their strategies with actionable insights and learnings.

To find out more, reach out to

MediaPost: Brand Data Becoming Pivotal To Digital Advertising

MightyHive Director of Marketing, Myles Younger, outlines why brand data will become a marketer’s greatest asset, alongside the right technology to gain a strategic advantage in your digital advertising strategy. This shift will require a symbiotic relationship between brand data and an integrated technology stack that allows for the free flow of data across products and channels. As Myles explains:

“Brands must take stock of where their proprietary expertise, data, or systems duplicate what a technology platform or a partner can deliver more efficiently and cost-effectively; and conversely what is intrinsic and unique to the brand and is therefore a genuine source of competitive value and differentiation.”

With technology consolidation and the ability to better nurture data activation, brands must begin working to fully own their proprietary data now as a competitive differentiator.

Read the full article on MediaPost.