A Net Neutrality Boon For Marketers: Faster Data Speed

coreyprestonData-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Corey Preston, senior product specialist from Adcade.

Net neutrality rules will give rise to a number of changes in the digital advertising landscape, including new, exciting opportunities for marketers to enrich the way they engage consumers. Those opportunities, however, are endangered by the industry’s reluctance to engage consumers on privacy and embrace strong, simple and publicly facing user data policies.

ISPs and cable providers must now carry all data and content equally and without surcharges, leading to the most impactful benefit for digital marketers: the rapid rise in data throughput speeds. The increase in bandwidth availability will allow for both highly interactive and additive brand experiences without loading screens or crashes.

In the immediate term, this means that digital ads will have the ability to become “app-like” in functionality, extending far beyond a simple video and gallery. By app-like experiences, I mean that the functionality list of a digital campaign will contain complexity similarly found in a feature list of an app found in the app store.

Furthermore, now that the file weight of a campaign’s imagery assets and associated code packages becomes less of an issue, these app-like experiences can begin to truly evolve the user experience. This will become self evident as designers engender units with more sophisticated user interfaces, resulting in better overall performance.

For marketers there are very real opportunities and pitfalls that come with net neutrality. Among the pitfalls is falling further into the advertising industry’s foxhole mentality over consumer privacy.

Privacy Is Everyone’s Job

For an industry whose livelihood is to communicate value propositions, the advertising community does a poor job of explaining privacy to the public. Regardless of what side of the equation you are on – creative, big data, brand or the publisher side – everyone has a stake in educating consumers on privacy. Moreover, 88% of consumers want to have the conversation about their own privacy. But as long as the conversation remains one-sided, we’ll continue to encounter resistance.

Were you to ask a person on the street what brands know about them, they might assume everything. It’s a skewed view of privacy, when in reality, a particular user may appear as a cookie ID comprised of a collection of alphanumeric characters like this: A9A3BECE0563982D.

There are multiple points of view on whether or not trading privacy for functionality is a good or bad thing. I’d maintain that it is a good thing, with an asterisk.

Dawn Of Change

With the rise in bandwidth speeds from new net neutrality rules, the intricacy of digital campaigns will rise proportionally. The opportunities associated with this rise will come from the ability to transmit large data sets quickly and reliably. Specifically, marketers will begin to execute campaigns with “multidimensional metrics.” This can be considered a sequel or evolution of the typical CTR or engagement rate metrics. They will provide additional context by coupling metrics, such as geolocation or heart rate, back to engagement rates. These new metric types will help convey more actionable data about a user’s state of mind when interacting with the advertiser’s brand.

As an example, marketers will have visibility into which parts of a video ad most excited users. Prior to this, it could only be assumed by correlating quartiles with clicks to the landing page. This process would become turnkey by conveying data from a device like FitBit back to the ad-viewing device. Advertising technology vendors can then bundle the biometric values, such as heartbeats per minute, into the metric’s HTTP request already being sent.

Additionally the decrease in both size and cost of sensors of all kinds will mean that more raw data than ever will be available to track a campaign’s ROI. Overlaying GPS data with the previous example could reveal whether the user was stationary or mobile when viewing the video ad. This would allow us to validate whether the elevated heart rate was environmental or the result of effective marketing communication.

By adding in some imagination and extrapolating that methodology out into performance optimization, the investment becomes even more compelling. For example, marketers will be able to correlate a user’s activity level and locational trajectory, such as walking or stationary, with interaction rates. From that, it could be reasonably inferred that an individual walking on the street is much less likely to interact with a brand’s ad unit. Subsequently it will be possible to target away from those individuals to improve interaction rates.

To that end, it is rightfully up to the consumers to decide how much data they want to share with technology and advertising companies. It is our job to genuinely and enthusiastically explain how and why we’re so excited to have their participation.

Follow Adcade (@Adcade) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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