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Northbeam

Head West Team
Updated April 24, 2024
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Our Take:

Northbeam is an enterprise level multi-touch attribution (MTA) tool. They have recently added media mix modeling (MMM) capabilities and also offer a creative analysis dashboard. They are more purely focused on attribution than other tools like Triple Whale which also offers attribution but leans more heavily into data aggregation and business intelligence than Northbeam does (we’ve done a full breakdown on Northbeam vs Triple Whale for those interested). We think Northbeam’s tool is great for the right brand. If your brand is doing over $40M in revenue and is advertising in many different channels (5+) especially those that are more top-of-funnel / less click based (podcasts, TV, etc.), then Northbeam could be a great tool for you. We don’t think Northbeam makes sense for smaller brands who either don’t need a third-party attribution tool or will be better served by cheaper and more intuitive alternatives (Triple Whale).

Best for: $40M+ annual revenue brands 

Northbeam

Northbeam is an enterprise level multi-touch attribution (MTA) tool that also offers media mix modeling (MMM) and creative analysis features.

Northbeam Overview:

Northbeam’s co-founder, Dan Huang, had firsthand experience trying to measure the impact of advertising across multiple channels, including TV, Meta, and Google, when working at the direct-to-consumer company MTailor. He saw the challenge of accurately attributing revenue and making informed budget allocation decisions across these different channels. This inspired him, along with co-founder Austin Harrison, to start Northbeam, which uses machine learning-based attribution to help businesses better understand the causal relationships between their marketing spend and overall revenue, and optimize their budget allocation across multiple channels. They raised a $15M Series A led by Silversmith Capital Partners.

What does Northbeam do?

Northbeam is primarily a multi-touch attribution (MTA) tool. They have since expanded to add other features like Media Mix Modeling (MMM) and incrementality testing. They are pretty squarely focused on helping heads of growth and data teams make better media budget allocation decisions. With Northbeam’s tools you will be able to better understand the overlap between your advertising channels as well as the effectiveness of individual channels and campaigns.

Why use a third-party attribution tool?

It’s important to first consider whether you even need a third-party attribution tool at all. The advertising platforms have many more engineers and data scientists than the third-party attribution companies do, and some think it’s pure hubris to think that third-party attribution tools could ever give you better answers than the in-platform data. It’s a compelling argument, but we think there are benefits to a third-party tool.

First, with in-platform pixels you only see what happens with their channel and your website. For example, if a customer sees a Tik Tok ad and an Instagram ad and then purchases, both channels will take credit for the sale. The reality is that both channels contributed to the sale but in different ways. Neither Meta or TikTok will show you that the customer saw both ads. With a third-party attribution you will have that data.

Second, third-party attribution is able to tie ad clicks to customer orders. This way you can see ad performance for new vs returning customers. You can calculate metrics like nCPA (new customer CPA) that wouldn’t be possible in-platform. These metrics can be insightful in helping to make budget allocation decisions and better understand the true performance of your business.

Finally, third-party attribution tools will have the ability to show longer attribution windows (essentially for the entire time the attribution software was installed). This compares to a 2-day attribution window for Tik-Tok, a 7-day window for Meta, and a 90-day window for Google. By extending the attribution window, you can better understand purchase journeys with more consideration time.

Why use Northbeam 👍?

Northbeam has invested heavily into building out one of the most accurate third-party attribution tools on the market. As with all attribution tools, the answers they give will never be 100% accurate, but the important aspect is that Northbeam’s tools will be more directionally accurate than others.

Northbeam offers 6 different attribution models, but their core proprietary model will take your sales and attribute a percentage of each sale to your advertising channels. So for any given order it might attribute 0.6 of the credit to Meta, 0.3 of the credit to TikTok, and 0.1 of the credit to email. Using this methodology the orders that Northbeam gives credit for will never sum to more than the orders that you see in Shopify or whatever eCommerce platform you use. 

Why not use Northbeam 👎?

Third-party attribution won’t really be useful for certain types of businesses. If your business falls in any of these categories, then third-party attribution won’t benefit you much:

  • Sub $10M in annual revenue
  • Short consideration window (3-5 days) - impulse purchase products
  • Single advertising channel or 1-3 advertising channels 
  • Mostly organic traffic

For these brands we think in-platform metrics will be fine in helping drive decision making. A tool like Northbeam will likely be overkill for these brands. 

Another potential downside to Northbeam is that their primary attribution methodology will not follow the in-platform methodology. This means you will have to get comfortable with Northbeam’s methodology, and there will be a learning curve especially compared to tools like Triple Whale which will more closely follow the in-platform attribution methodology.

Northbeam Features:

MTA

The multi-touch attribution model is the core of Northbeam’s offering. Northbeam uses a script that’s installed on the DNS records of your site. From an outside perspective it would be hard to distinguish Northbeam from a company's own data team. The data is tracked as close to the source as possible.

Northbeam integrates with all the largest advertising platforms including:

  • Meta (Facebook)
  • Google
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok
  • X (Twitter)
  • Bing
  • Mntn (TV)
  • Amazon Ads
  • Klaviyo 

MMM

Northbeam recently released its own Media Mix Modeling (MMM) tool. With it you can model different budget scenarios and have Northbeam model a projected impact on each channel. The tool will help visualize cost curves, budget scenarios, and forecasts to give marketing leaders actionable data to make decisions. You also get a real time view of the models accuracy so that you can trust the decisions you are making.

Creative Analytics

The core of Northbeam’s creative analytics are their creative cards which show each individual creative and the high level performance metrics for that creative (e.g,. ROAS, CPM, CTR, Thumbstop, and CVR). These cards can also be filtered and sorted to help you identify patterns in top performing creatives. Northbeam also has a tool that identifies when assets are close to reaching the point of creative fatigue so that you know when it’s time to rotate in new creatives.

Northbeam pricing 💰:

Northbeam’s pricing isn’t cheap and reflects their focus on mid-size and enterprise clients. Their least expensive plan starts at $1k per month.

Northbeam’s pricing is based on pageviews, so pricing will scale up as pageviews scale up. This is an important consideration for high AOV product companies. For these companies, a page view based pricing model like Northbeams might be less expensive than a revenue based model like Triple Whale. Inversely for low ticket items, Triple Whale pricing might be cheaper than Northbeam’s page view based pricing model.

Northbeam has three paid pricing tiers: Starter, Professional, and Enterprise.

The Starter plan starts at $1,000 per month. This plan includes multi-touch attribution, 4x daily data refreshes, and the Shopify and ad platform integrations.

The Professional plan starts at $2,500 per month and includes everything in the Starter plan in addition to the Creative Analytics features, export API access, up to 3 domains, and support for any eCommerce platform (e.g., headless Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento, custom etc.). This plan also includes an optional hourly data refresh.

The Enterprise plan pricing is not disclosed. The Enterprise plan includes everything in the Professional plan in addition to high volume data processing capabilities, unlimited top level domains, and up to 18 reviews with a media strategist per year.

Northbeam Alternatives:

Multi Touch Attribution (MTA)

Triple Whale

Rockerbox

ThoughtMetric

Hyros

Cometly

Free the Pixel (Socioh)

Lifetime Value (LTV) Analysis

Lifetimely

Creative Performance Analysis

Motion

Business Intelligence (Dashboarding & stitching together multiple data sources)

Source Medium

Peel

Daasity

Glew

RetentionX

Polar

Google Analytics

Looker

Tydo

Northbeam FAQs:

Is Northbeam only for Shopify?

No - Northbeam works with Shopify as well as any other eCommerce platform including BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento, and fully custom builds.

Who owns Northbeam?

Northbeam is an independent company with financing from Silversmith capital partners.

How much is Northbeam?

Northbeam pricing starts at $1,000 per month and scales up from there based on the plan you choose and the number of pageviews your website gets per month.

Is Northbeam Soc 2 compliant?

Yes, Northbeam is certified Soc 2 Type 2 compliant.

Is Northbeam GDPR compliant?

Yes, Northbeam is GDPR compliant.

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