Old Data Is Holding Back Mobile Marketing

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 Taylor West, general manager, North America, at Zeotap.

As the Eagles and Patriots compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy this weekend, a slew of advertisers will be fighting for customers’ attention.

Advertisers need to know what plays to draw up because, just like the players, consumers are always on the move making decisions in real time. But mobile advertisers may be poised to lose.

Although mobile search and browsing is a strong indicator of purchase intent, data recency – a key indicator of campaign effectiveness – is often elusive. If you want to reach someone in the moment with this data, it needs to be made available quickly.

Unfortunately, often for thirdparty data, it’s rarely the case. While retargeting and hyperlocation companies might be able to use immediate signals, it can often take days for demand-side platforms (DSPs) to fully ingest mobile intent data into their systems and make it available to advertisers. In extreme cases where ingestion is manually done by engineers on the back end, DSPs may not make global segments available for general use for an inordinate amount of time.

That’s not good enough. DSPs must make the proper investments to process partner data more quickly.

Longer Buying Cycles Versus Immediate Gratification

There are some verticals, such as auto, that have longer buying cycles and aren’t as affected by these delays. The average auto browser takes time to research and ponder such a high-ticket purchase.

However, clients in the travel or seasonal retail sectors, for example, need to reach people in near real time, or at least within hours of recognizing their intent. If a Pats fan wants to buy a Tom Brady jersey in time for the Super Bowl or even airline tickets to Minneapolis for the game, the ad must be served quickly after the AFC Championship game, in the moments when the NFL app user is most excited about the game.

The average Super Bowl attendee is a very attractive target for advertisers. Not only do they buy the jersey and book the flight, but they must get a hotel and book services like Uber rides. They will also eat, drink and possibly check out the after-parties. It’s a wealth of opportunity for mobile advertisers, but they need the data that weekend for those touchdown opportunities.

Inside The Data Provider-DSP Transfer

The moment a partner creates a new segment based off mobile search or browsing data and sends it to a DSP, it may appear in their system within hours under ideal circumstances, when the entire ingestion process is automated. However, the data may not sync all at once and can take up to seven days to complete before campaigns can use the segment. An agency may be able to set a campaign to target this data set, but struggle to deliver early on.

Now, if the process for ingesting data and creating segments on the DSP side is manual, it can play out far worse. For global segments meant to be made available for any advertiser plugged into a DSP, it’s not unheard of for these to be added once a month or even quarterly. This frequency can vary, but intent data that is delayed to this degree can be virtually unusable in many circumstances.

Motivate To Automate

It’s an industrywide problem: How quickly can we get the data? Google, Facebook and Amazon own their own data, as do end-to-end tech stacks, so their recency challenges are not nearly as pronounced.

If people search for a Philadelphia Eagles jersey on a Google property, it takes much less time for them to be available for advertisers in AdWords. Since it’s Google’s data, which it also processes and makes available on its platform, the lag time is reduced significantly. It’s not reliant on any third party for data sourcing or delivery.

If the rest of the industry wants to be able to use valuable third-party data the moment users are showing an interest, there needs to be a new sense of urgency to address this problem. The onus is on the DSPs to ensure their systems are ingesting the data from their partners as quickly as possible. They need near-real-time connections and that only comes through automation. Manually constructed segments can lose their value if the buying moment has passed. Even the automation that exists today could be improved upon and expedited.

While it may take additional resources and time on the part of DSPs, they need to commit to make greater investments to speed up the process and make the data actionable. In the short term it may mean costs increase, but we all benefit in the end by having more valuable data when it’s needed most – now.

Follow Zeotap (@zeotap) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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