Be Mine: Data-Driven Valentine’s Day Wishes

lunghuangnew“Data-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 Lung Huang, vice president of digital advertising, global partnerships, at dunnhumby.

Now that we’re done hearing every industry pundit give their New Year’s resolution or big predictions for 2014, it’s time to dish out some well-earned love.

What better way to do that than to give virtual valentines?

You Are Super!

My first valentine goes to those few people without any true knowledge of the potential of data-driven marketing.

Yes, they are the ones still predicting that this is all just a fad. We all know who they are and how they scoff, claiming that data-driven marketing is nothing more than a shiny new way of off-loading remnant inventory.

Their childlike innocence is something to be revered, even in the face of stats like the one from Gartner revealing that 64% of organizations have invested or plan to invest in big data. That number is up from 58% in 2012, so for these hold-outs, it is going to be a rude awakening in 2019 when they finally accept that this is really happening.

Why do they get a valentine? Because they make my job a lot easier when they rely on antiquated methods and just market to men aged 25 to 54.

I Heart You

The second valentine has to go to those advertisers and media companies who embrace more than just demographics. It is not anything new, but these are pretty significant shifts in thinking. In the last quarter of 2013, we had a major announcement that Procter & Gamble is partnering with TiVo Research and Analytics and comScore to enable more effective planning, tracking and measurement of ad spending.

Another recipient for some electronic heart-shaped candy has to be CBS, which announced that it would use Rentrak’s audience measurement services to marry consumer purchase behavior with viewer data. Ongoing use of these services is great news for the industry and consumers alike.

Friends Forever!

Data, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

While many buzzkills love to warn that data growth must slow down, I believe we will see double-digit increases for the next five years.

In 2014, according to a Cisco report, the daily rate of data produced on the Internet alone will be 2.3 exabytes or nearly 2.5 billion gigabytes – or an even more accurate number of 2.4 trillion OHMYGODABYTES. This would require more than 77 million iPhone 5s (the 32 GB model) to store the traffic usage that passes through the Internet in a single day. Or, if you are an Android user, that’s just one SD card.

What are some of the drivers – besides everyone on the planet? It really is all of us. Facebook, for example, reports that it now has 1.2 billion active users, with 874 million actively using Facebook mobile products. A staggering 80% of its usage is outside the US and Canada.

LinkedIn reports that two new users joined every second in 2013. Fun fact: 25% of the page views each user’s page receives are from co-workers. (Stop looking at my profile, Simon Hay.)

Twitter says there are about 500 million tweets every day, and within every minute there are more than 700 YouTube videos shared on Twitter. I would not be shocked if half of them featured cats.

So while the wishful media narrative may be that people are choosing to disconnect more, this is not the case and should never be taken seriously.

I think the only way to really explain this in a sound bite (or soundbyte) is to quote @bigdataborat:  “Data is the new oil and we are the dead dinosaurs.”

You Are PURR-fect!

How can we neglect to give some love to all the ad-tech companies that went public last year and proved that this market is legit?

Criteo, RocketFuel, Yume, Tremor Video and Twitter, you’re all dreamy, even if Wall Street doesn’t have a clue how to value you. I’m sure RocketFuel, with its 58% margin, and Criteo, making 40 cents on every dollar spent, are crying all the way to the bank.

Let’s Be Friends!

While we are all chasing down our business targets or strategic goals in our own unique way, let’s not forget why we are doing this. Sure, disrupting the established media industry is fun; some might say it is more than fun.

At the end of the day, we all are in the same boat. We want advertising and marketing to go from strength to strength in terms of effectiveness and value. If we can stop just one RFP from asking for a broad demographic segment, a deadline of yesterday and a “totally unique campaign” using the same old metrics, we’ll all have earned our Valentine’s Day love.

Follow Lung Huang (@Lung_Huang), dunnhumby (@dunnhumby) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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