Wish List – Part I: Regarding The Use Of Data In Digital Ad Targeting

Changing DataThis is the first of a two-part series as we asked buy-siders: “If there was one thing you could change about the use of data in digital ad targeting tomorrow, what would it be?”

Click on a participant’s name or scroll down to view responses:

Andrew Leinicke, Media Director, RBM

“I would change transparency. Were viewers aware of how their data was being used, they would be comfortable with targeted messages. For now, audiences are suspicious of advertising technology. With transparency, however, ad viewers would regard themselves as co-participants in a mutually-beneficial, digital marketplace.

A sincere level of trust could even induce audiences to volunteer information, such as when they are most willing to hear from advertisers. Such a dynamic would allow display advertisers to deliver messages not merely to the right people, but also at the right time.”

Donald Williams, Chief Digital Officer, Horizon Media

“One of the most unfortunate things about the use of data in targeting today is the lack of solution accountability. As an industry, we should acknowledge that data for the purpose of identifying potential consumers is a pre-planning optimization tactic. If and perhaps when it doesn’t seem to work it requires an effective audit in the same way we long for effective cross-channel attribution. We’re walking a fine line with respect to data and targeting and a concern is that our short term success is just that… Short term.

A secondary concern is centered around the providers of data and technology solutions aimed at increasing advertising relevance. There’s a real love for sophisticated approaches right now, but a real lack of global consideration for marketing strategy. You can’t scale something that doesn’t fit within the evolving context if marketing and many providers are in love with the capability of their product versus how it will payoff in a broader context.”

Marcus Pratt, Associate Director, Insights and Technology, Mediasmith

“The use of 3rd-party data in digital advertising can create powerful results, but the data space is far from mature. If given the option, one thing I would ask for tomorrow is an increase in transparency. Just as clients and agencies pushed ad-networks to provide site lists, buyers need to start demanding more information on how and where 3rd-party data is collected. The effectiveness of a targeted campaign leveraging data sources depends on many aspects, but data quality is often an unknown factor.

Many buyers purchase data through DSPs, but little information on the data is available through the DSP beyond the name of the segment. Data partners offer varying degrees of information (typically very little) through their own websites, but rarely is the buyer told where the data was collected for each segment. The point of collection is an important factor in determining quality and value of data, but this is often kept confidential, or revealed only behind closed doors and in hushed tones. Buyers have a right to weigh this in their evaluations.

If buyers are to embrace data buying, sellers should get comfortable with the idea of revealing their sources.”

Neeraj Kochhar, President, Varick Media Management

“Data usage today – at the risk of stating the obvious – is disproportionately skewed towards DR initiatives and, even in that context, is hardly widespread and, at best, exploratory. This is largely the outcome of a fundamental disconnect between the supply and buy side on the “value” of data and associated cost.

The cautious stance on the sell-side is understandable; suppliers are loath to set the bar too low and argue about the lack of adequate transparency into campaign performance. Media agencies, on the other hand, given current DR emphasis and ROI sensitivity, struggle to justify any sizable investments in data.

In addition, if you believe, as we do, that data is the lifeblood of a fragmented digital world, its application should surely extend beyond the DR space alone. The utilization of data for branding efforts raises similar concerns given long-standing beliefs about ”working” and “non-working” media dollars. Will the data investments belong in the “working” category and, regardless, what level of investment, when viewed as a separate line item, will be deemed justifiable?

We believe that broader adoption hinges on marketplace equilibrium and, as such, would like to see pricing models and approaches that reflect marketplace realities and true – vs. perceived – value of data.”

View Part II responses:

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