Advertisers are struggling to get their voices heard amongst the crowded digital landscape. At the same time, publishers are competing for the interest of users to gather audience data which would result in targeting them with applicable ads.

“First-party data is superior”

Three types of audience data exist: first, second and third-party. Marketers often presume that the only audience data they need is their own first-party data – whether this is collected from their own CRM data, transactional or location data.

However, this results in restriction. By just focusing on first-party, you will only be able to understand your target audience in the scope of their websites alone and no further. Alongside this, first-party lacks scale, resulting in marketers having to perform lookalike modelling to gain scale, leading to a loss of data quality during the process. The inclusion of high-quality third-party data allows marketers to achieve scale in their data.

“I do not need to worry about data. Purchasing inventory programmatically is all I need to focus on”

The ad buying process that was once a menial task has been automated by programmatic buying. This allows media buyers to buy ads in a fraction of a second – 150 milliseconds is the average time taken from the start of real-time bidding to the time an ad is served when the page loads.

The fallacy is that you achieve uplift quickly once you use programmatic, but even machine learning plateaus quickly. Audience data is required to assist you in understanding your target audiences so you know where to purchase your ads and how to deliver the right message to the right user at the right time.

“Cookies mean no privacy”

Cookies in a large part are anonymised and aggregated and do not gather personally identifiable information on their own, such as phone number, home address, email address and so on.

Contrary to popular belief, cookies are vital to the ecosystem as they enable personalised content for users, enhancing user experiences. Brands can discover more about their user’s favourite content by tracking cookies so that the same ad does not appear again and again. As a marketer using audience data, you need to ensure your data vendor guarantees transparency throughout the data gathering process.

An important piece of information to find out is whether your data provider partners with publishers instead of purchasing data directly from them. Publishers are also taking steps to collect information openly, ahead of you visiting a website, there is normally a pop-up seeking your consent to collect cookies and you have the option to opt out.

“As a marketer, it is good to have masses of data at my fingertips”

Marketers are swamped with customer data; the majority of this data is helpful in understanding target audiences – but only if you have resources to amass, process and house your data. Thus, it is important for marketers to ask themselves: “which data will is most applicable to my campaign?”

Maurice Levey, CEO at Publicis, made an interesting point at Business Insider’s Ignition 2015 conference, when he explained how data is only useful when you extract the real value out of it. He compared the mass of data to an oil field – “owning the oil field is not as important as owning the refinery because what will make the big money is in refining the oil. The same goes with data and making sure you extract the real value out of the data.”

“My digital advertising budget will cover targeting”

Just because you have a budget set for digital advertising, that does not equate to targeting. A solid data strategy put in place for your campaign will enable you to hone into your exact target user. Although setting aside that budget for digital is a step in the right direction, marketers should also work out what percentage of their ad spend will be focused on actual targeting.

“It is essential I collect every bit of data as a publisher”

As a publisher, you will quickly realise that an attempt to capture every fragment of data about your visitors is simply not viable. Not only does it take hundreds of hours to set-up, it also takes a long time to analyse an almost infinite amount of data sets.

Enthusiasm and budgets will diminish way before any profits are accumulated from the extra collected data. A more practical approach is to use a marketplace to trial out the data you are collecting; this will provide publishers with a platform to review their data in the context of competitors and the regional marketplace. Start by defining the data segments needed to capture for the open market, private sales and your internal knowledge base.


By Kevin Tan, CEO at Eyeota

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