You Need Griffin (Alien Intelligence) to Make Marketing Attribution Modeling Work!

Of late, I have wasted a lot of time reading fancy literature on Marketing attribution modeling - which btw has been a hot topic for quite some time.

Even these two very insightful write-ups (Crutchfiled: An Attribution Nightmare & Attribution: What Do We Really Know?) did not deter me from wasting my time. And then I saw MIB3 yesterday. Seriously. Did you see Griffin? The alien character who has the unique ability to foresee the infinite potential outcomes that are dependent on the actions taken in any given scenario. You have to be really naive to even think we could build a Griffin in any foreseable future on earth.

But that's exactly what the digital marketing industry thinks its going to be able to do. Super sci-fi stuff! After all, we have the big data now!! I think it's headed the time travel way for next several years.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm not going to waste anymore time following this sci-fi thing. I'll trust our good old black box control tests. Web data is truly dirty and unconnected - you can optimize yourself to death if you trusted these algorithmic attribution models.

Trivia - Even Griffin failed to predict Boris' arrival, who snatches him on a motorcycle.

Updated on 6/7/12: Here's an excellent explanation of why most attribution models are wrong; if you agree that correlation and causality are two very different things - and determining causality or building causal model for the extremely complex multi-channel ad world requires alien intelligence (I do!) - then the only option left is controlled testing.