The ad industry is heading away from mass reach to smarter reach, says NCSolutions’ CRO Lance Brothers. In a townhall interview with Jon Watts at February’s Beet Retreat in San Juan, Brothers explained how his company is helping advertisers and ad sellers navigate the shift. It starts with helping the industry understand what attribution means in action.

“We’re a provider of data. What we see is an interesting confusion in the market around what attribution means. People think it means something different for them – conflating the notion of ROI and incrementality with attribution,” he says.

What Brothers advises is that advertisers map out everything that happened along the way to conversion or a sale, but keep in mind that it’s all correlative. The tendency is to isolate measurements and measure by independent variables, but focusing on causality is key to understanding what to do next time and what to optimize.

“Digital has been there for a long time, and TV is starting to get there,” Brother says. “That’s the set up for the notion of the confusion.”

In discussion with advertisers, Brothers says that there’s a common theme of wanting to shift away from demographic-based, mass reach ad buying toward finding the right audience. “The right audience is an option to attack. The right buyer is worth the added price as part of the CPM,” he says. The two best indicators that a buy is right is targeting previous customers and people who fall into the same category as previous buyers.

“Getting away from mass reach to the right buyer to drive success in causality is where things are tending to move,” Brothers says.

With more ways to reach people, Brothers says that the common goal will be figuring out what creative and what platform prompted the sale – that’s attribution.

“That’s going to be very, very important,” he says.

This video was produced at the Beet Retreat San Juan 2020 sponsored by 605, DISH Media, NBCU, Roundel & Tubi. For more videos from the series, please visit this landing page.