In a probabilistic setting, where matches are being made using statistical algorithms, expanding reach can mean sacrificing accuracy.
In general, though, marketers have “to get smarter [and] ask questions about accuracy,” or they’re going to “force the wrong behavior with vendors,” Tawakol said. “Think about what your vendor is going to do in the cross-device space if the next time you meet with them you say, ‘Well, this other vendor has slightly higher reach.”
If marketers demand reach, that’s what the vendors are going to provide them with.
“Well, I’m going to start a device ID graph company tomorrow and say everyone on the planet is connected – maximum reach,” Tawakol joked. “It’s ridiculous.”
That said, reach and accuracy don’t necessarily have to sit on opposite ends of the seesaw if vendors use a combination of deterministic and probabilistic methods, Tawakol said.
‘We all want to use deterministic, but there is nowhere near enough matches to do that,” he said. “We need to do more of a data science approach that takes what you know and scores it probabilistically.”
But what about Facebook and Google? They’ve got serious deterministic mojo, obviously, but the rest of the industry isn’t licked.
“Their scale and reach at this point is unbeatable and the amount of verified registration data they have is top notch, but they don’t have full coverage for cross-device yet,” said Jennifer Lum, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Adelphic. “[And] they have work to do in TV and on the mobile web.”
None of the debate around consumer identity matters, though, if brands don’t consider what they’re going to do once they’ve created the cross-device match.
“All of the companies we work with have varying levels of fantastic first-party data and access to third-party data and, increasingly, we’re helping brands work together to generate significant second-party data,” said Matt Asay, VP of mobile at Adobe. “But, stepping back from that, the most important thing for any brand is not, I’m sorry, which ad you show the person – it’s the overall experience that consumer has with that brand.”