Anyone who likes to cook knows a great dish requires high quality ingredients. There’s really not much to do if you started with a bad cut of beef. In digital advertising we’ve seen this realization playing out over the past year. Media impressions are the main ingredient of every ad campaign, and viewability (and fraud monitoring) have become the new measures of quality. But while media is of course critically important, this singular focus overlooks the other quality-sensitive ingredient of most programmatic ad campaigns: audience data. And, what you know (or don’t know) about the quality of that data can have a major impact on your marketing.
While this would appear to be a no brainer, everyone in the advertising industry has been laser-focused on the hot-button topic of impression quality. The irony is if you don’t take the same quality approach to the data that powers your audience targeting, then the media impressions become less important — because your ads won’t be in front of the right people, anyway.
Marketers and agencies focused solely on branding-based objectives may read this and say, “Of course we validate data quality, the only question is whether to use Nielsen or comScore.” The issue is this limits the concept of data quality to traditional, offline demographic measures.
How many CMOs only care about branding? I’m guessing the number is pretty close to zero. Every brand has a consumer journey that ultimately leads to an offline or online event. The journey starts with branding but quickly moves through engagement, acquisition and ultimately to loyalty. In the world of digital media this journey can be highly nuanced and completed customized for each consumer, but key ingredients to that recipe are the consumer interest and intent data that go far beyond traditional demographics.
In the world of the omnichannel consumer journey it becomes increasingly important to think about data quality in ways similar to how you think about media quality. There are dozens of third-party vendors that offer audience data. So how can a marketer choose the right ones? There are three factors to consider: sourcing, compliance, and performance.
The first priority is to understand your supply chain and have confidence in the sources of data in the supply chain. Don’t take it for granted. Your data management platform (DMP) is the first link in the chain, and it’s critical to work with a trusted platform provider that vets all of the data providers on your behalf. It can be tempting to assess a DMP purely on the breadth of data vendors it incorporates, but that doesn’t tell you anything about quality. Ask your DMP provider which data vendors they integrate and why, and what qualifications must each vendor must meet in order to be included in the data marketplace.
The second priority is to know good data comes from vendors who respect consumer privacy. Unlike media impressions where low quality results in wasted media spend, a quality problem in data can become a liability for your brand. Only work with vendors who are properly anonymizing data, not misusing personally identifiable information (PII) and behave in a transparent manner. Data that doesn’t take consumer rights into account is not quality data.
Third, keep in mind the ultimate measure of data is not validation, but performance. Good data is that which helps you more effectively drive engagement and acquisition. To help predict performance be sure to first test third-party data by indexing it against your existing CRM customers or other audiences engaged with your brand. More advanced analyses, such as clustering models, can further help you understand how to use audience data to better tailor messaging and creatives to specific audiences.
None of this should imply, by the way, that viewability and media quality aren’t important. They are hugely important. But the next time you’re cooking up a great ad campaign, do yourself a favor and make sure your data is high quality too. With great data comes great responsibility, so use it wisely.
Founded in 2005, Amobee is an advertising platform that understands how people consume content. Our goal is to optimize outcomes for advertisers and media companies, while providing a better consumer experience. Through our platform, we help customers further their audience development, optimize their cross channel performance across all TV, connected TV, and digital media, and drive new customer growth through detailed analytics and reporting. Amobee is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tremor International, a collection of brands built to unite creativity, data and technology across the open internet.
If you’re curious to learn more, watch the on-demand demo or take a deep dive into our Research & Insights section where you can find recent webinars on-demand, media plan insights & activation templates, and more data-driven content. If you’re ready to take the next step into a sustainable, consumer-first advertising future, contact us today.
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