In Ad Tech, Every Day Can Feel Like April Fools’ Day

lunghuangupdatedData-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 global partnerships at 84.51°.

On April Fools’ Day, folks from over the world play practical jokes on their friends and families.

But in the digital advertising industry, many are spreading foolishness on a daily basis, whether it is April Fools’ day or not.

So how do smart individuals make sense out of it all when there are so many companies trying to solve the holy grail for marketers? I contend that many are just trying to coax us into investing in or licensing something foolish. A few words to the wise:

Don’t Be Fooled By Companies That Only Use Probabilistic Determinations

In today’s world, there are no quick fixes to solve what many believe is the one of the most vexing problems of our short history. While we all have data scientists, engineers or architects, there are only a few companies in our space that really identify or validate who someone really is from their digital footprints.

We have all seen this in a pitch deck or a sales sheet: “Intuitive and simple probabilistic model to directly quantify the attribution.” While these words sound great, the prospect could be fooled into thinking they actually got what they paid for in this case. And you never hear their willingness to take it further to validate their models. Probabilistic determination is not the end goal. So I am all for finding what is good for now, but without a plan to validate it. This seems like it does come at a cost, but would you rather rely on a fact or a model?

Don’t Be Played The Fool By Not Planning For A Cookieless World

I am not ringing the alarm bells now, but I would imagine that much of the market would shift to a new form of identification in the next two years. We all have a way to work with the current technology, but things do advance. Likely, the majority of the larger advertisers are already in planning or in practice without cookies, but there are two reasons why you’ll see it sooner than later.

First, big companies, such as LiveRamp, Experian, Oracle and Acxiom, are trying to solve this now, and this is just the short list of companies that pitched me on their services in the last hour. There is too much momentum and too many uses of the words ID/match/graph/track to not have new viable product. Dare I say that while the phone book died many years ago, what these companies are doing is creating their own digital books on people, right?

Second, many large-scale companies can already work with their own in-house matching. How they are accomplishing it right now is using their first-party infrastructure to authenticate you and then use their current platform to maintain the validity of who you are to them. While many of the pervasive companies such as Google, AOL, Yahoo or Facebook have a pretty easy way of accomplishing this, it is probably about time that they are receiving some of the value of giving us all free email for as long as they have.

April Fools’ Day does not last forever and neither do your current tech partners. So I hope this has given you something to think about in the coming months. You can be thankful that we have such problems, as it could be worse. You could be working in politics…

Follow Lung Huang (@Lung_Huang), 84.51° (@8451group) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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1 Comment

  1. Agree completely. The most stable match keys are mobile ad ID and home address. And, ultimately, the best way to measure accuracy is by assessing sales lift. If the produce is good, the ad is good and the targeting is accurate, you’ll see sales lift.