As Data Worlds Collide, Marketing Opportunities – And Challenges – Set To Explode

noah-jessopData-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 Noah Jessop, head of data at Liquid.

We are currently in a state of “data hyperinflation,” where the rate of data being generated and used is exploding year over year. This phenomenon goes beyond segments and cookies, and new classes of vendors will pop up to fill the space.

Despite the flood of data, marketers are moving closer to understanding every touch point that leads to a valuable new customer. Several important data worlds are emerging and evolving fast to get us there. At the same time, data management platforms (DMPs) will adapt to make sense of specific data types and push them into existing platforms for activation and execution – all in the search for the best returns.

Take location data, for example. Simply knowing the latitude and longitude coordinates of where a user is located doesn’t tell you much about them, other than maybe they are located in downtown San Francisco, for example. If you parse the data log, however, you might be able to see that this person is in a gym – and that they stood in another fitness location just last week.

Suddenly, two data points derived from the geo framework suggest that this user is actually an active, fitness-conscious person. Applying this insight is the next step.

People You Haven’t Met Yet

The traditional view of a DMP was to store information about existing customers in lieu of managing a database. But what about storing information about people you buy ads against? If marketers buy dozens of ads against a particular cookie – and they never click – maybe they just aren’t worth the time anymore. If someone has already been to a web page, maybe they should get a new message, such as an invitation to come back.

Stay tuned for the “pre-customer database,” a central place to store all of the information a company generates before someone becomes an actual customer with a direct relationship. For CPG companies, this relationship may never turn into a digital one, so data vendors in this space could hold some of those brands’ most important online information – a treasure chest of potential hot leads.

Data Relating To Direct Media Management

How can marketers remove a nonclicker from campaigns unless they tie their media performance directly into the buying process?

Another set of data folks typically handles this task. This group drills down on the user level to start answering a lot of important questions about marketing spend and resulting revenue, such as how much customers are costing by source. What’s each customer’s lifetime value per channel? What’s the downstream conversion rate for each creative?

Other simple optimizations aren’t far behind, such as automatically retargeting people who click on ads.

When all the data across media spend channels is assembled, the evergreen question is, what should we look at internally and how to make sense of it all? Reporting and tracking is another challenge entirely – there’s no standardization yet. Expect a lot of innovation or direct integrations into existing business intelligence systems.

Data Relating To Cross-Vendor Information

So now that we have these core questions, new concerns emerge. For instance, how many impressions are people seeing across different media partners?

For example, I heard anecdotally of one data vendor that conducted a study for a customer who wanted to run their media with an impression cap of two views per user. To their dismay, they discovered that when they looked across the six different media-buying platforms, each user was seeing the same ad six times. Each vendor had stayed at the cap of two impressions, but there was no communication or coordination between them.

A next-gen DMP or DMP alternative will help answer these kinds of questions.

Data Related To Cross-Device Understanding

All of these questions run into a further stumbling point: mobile. A lot of hard work has been done to gather and dissect important data, but now each user has three different browsers – home, work and mobile – and possibly even more devices at large.

Facebook has the luxury of single sign-on data since many people log into the Facebook platform on each of their devices, giving the social giant a complete view into which browsers, devices and cookies are connected to each person. But what about everyone else who wants to understand users but doesn’t want Facebook as their sole demand partner?

A myriad of device graph and cross-device DMPs have sprung up, either storing this information on behalf of publishers or building their own probabilistic mappings. Independent firms are already getting consolidated into larger marketing platforms – a trend that will only become more prevalent moving forward.

Follow Noah Jessop (@njess), Liquid (@liquidPCH) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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