How to ensure your campaign uses the best-available targeting data
Columnist Adam Grow discusses the differences between first-, second- and third-party data sources and reveals some strategies for using data to increase campaign performance.
It’s 11:30 a.m., and a reminder notification appears on your desktop. It reads, “Two weeks until campaign launch — ensure data is received by DMP.” The time has come.
A few months ago, you convinced senior management that by utilizing more consumer data, the company could better understand their customers and increase digital marketing performance. You’ve since taken the necessary steps with internal IT resources and a trial relationship with a Data Management Platform (DMP).
Now it’s crunch time to ensure you’re collecting and processing consumer data in a usable format, and hopefully with fewer inaccuracies than the national average of 23 percent. Taking the hint of your notification, you cross your fingers and call your IT contact to see if your customer data is in fact where it needs to be.
In a recent study by the IAB, 45 percent of US marketers reported that the number one obstacle to deploying and deriving value from a data-driven marketing initiative is insufficient availability or functionality of supporting technology.
Yes, it’s clear that first-party data can have a significant impact on campaign performance — but when the technology to collect, cleanse and organize that data becomes the bottleneck, advertisers must be more creative to stay competitive.
Some companies are realizing the potential that second- and third-party data can bring to their marketing efforts. However, the misconception remains that data from within a company’s own walls is inherently more valuable, which isn’t always true.
So how can advertisers determine what data to use, and how to use it, in order to drive the greatest performance from their campaigns? Below are two points taken from our upcoming white paper, “Not All Data is Created Equal,” where we’ll cover the differences between first-, second- and third-party data sources and the key strategies needed to improve campaign performance with data.
The recency of data is a big factor, as consumer behaviors change at a rapid pace. We believe that the more recent the data, the more likely it reflects the consumer’s behavior and ultimately purchase intent.
Given this, the more recent the data, the higher the probability for increased conversions. A path to purchase may last six months or six days, and without “fresh” data to enhance targeting, the efficiency and effectiveness of campaigns can suffer.
On the other hand, data that represents the most recent behavior or interests of a consumer can have a significant impact on performance. With first-party data, recency can be accurately monitored. Advertiser access to their customer purchase files is likely to have a very quick turnaround, which provides a huge benefit.
With second- and third-party data, however, the transparency around how and when the data was collected can be limited. Even when working with a DMP, the activation of data and method of data set optimization can be unclear. Because advertisers must rely on these DMPs or data brokers to ensure accuracy and recency of the data and sources, this can pose a significant challenge.
But what can advertisers do when the recency of data sets is unknown? A simple method would be to test proposed second- or third-party data for recency against campaigns that leverage your existing data of the same category (i.e., demographic, channel and so on) and compare their performance.
The reality is that unless you have the budget and technical resources to develop direct data relationships with publishers and brands that provide verified data sets, obtaining certain third-party data with the help of a partner may be your best strategy. Your DSP (demand-side platform) may even be able to work directly with publishers or brands to collect relevant data sets for you, adding them to a DMP and then optimizing a campaign based on the findings.
In other cases, a DMP might provide access to third-party data sets to get you up and running.
In either scenario, you may never know the exact date second- or third-party data was extracted. But is the ultimate goal to know the dates of data extraction?
We believe it’s increased campaign performance. By testing new data sets for recency and using performance as the benchmark, advertisers are much better equipped to optimize their data-driven marketing efforts, even if they don’t know exact dates the data was created.
Consumers are now spending 58 percent of their digital time on mobile devices. And eMarketer predicts there will be 50.2 million mobile payment users by next year, which is more than 20 percent of the total US adult population!
If advertisers aren’t leveraging mobile data right now, one could question not only the relevancy of their data, but also the company’s approach to digital audience marketing. By taking a few critical first steps, advertisers can leverage the device and purchase behavior data in unique ways.
It’s essential to identify consumers across their devices with the help of your DSP. This can be done in a process called “signal mapping,” where mobile device signals are collected from users as they visit mobile apps and sites on the mobile web.
The devices associated with the visits are recorded and mapped to the desktop devices of the same user. Once the advertiser understands who their target consumer is and where they can engage them across devices, advertisers can then leverage other relevant data to determine what will drive performance and what will not.
But mobile signal data isn’t the only relevant data source for advertisers, and not all data is created equal, regardless of type. Advertisers may find a treasure trove of third-party social data that enhances campaign performance more than internal audience data sets.
As consumer behavior continues to shift, advertisers must continue to explore new data sources to discover what is most relevant to drive performance. Despite this need, the lack of available data — and the technology to effectively use the data — is a real constraint.
Because of this, working with a DMP and DSP that have access to unique data sources and that understand your unique audiences and campaign KPIs should be a key strategy for advertisers this year.
Advertisers do not need to go at this alone. 2016 can be the year of audience data discovery for many advertisers, and with the help of technology data partners who can leverage these discoveries, we only expect campaign performance to increase.