Features, Blog

APAC Inertia Holding Back Adoption of Third-Party Data

By: Eyeota


When Eyeota first started in 2010, programmatic buying of inventory was just starting to take off, but there was a dire lack of quality third-party audience data. So, the company was born to fill this gap in the market.

Data is at the heart of our business and places us at the forefront of market trends in the digital advertising space, especially with the massive potential for audience data usage in Asia and significant growth in demand of B2B data worldwide. Since the launch of our Global Audience Report in 2015, we have seen healthy increases in the use of audience data regionally year on year. Our most recent figures show a 270% year on year increase in audience data spend for brand campaigns in Asia.

Adoption of audience data, however, is not without its challenges. In Southeast Asia, the use of third-party audience data is nascent and key challenges hinder its growth.

One issue is that while brands are innovating all the time, their ad-buying strategies stay the same. They invest their ad budgets in TV, print and OOH, but more should be funnelled towards digital, because advertisers should follow where their audiences are. Internet users in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, are among the most active in the world, spending more than eight hours each day surfing the web, according to GlobalWebIndex.

However, in terms of digital ad revenue, markets such as Singapore still lag behind many of their more developed, mature counterparts, because they continue to invest in traditional media even though audiences are online. Singapore is a long way behind the global average as internet advertising only represents 15% of its total ad spend compared to 31.5% globally.

There seems to be a general unwillingness to embrace new ways, and advertisers and media buyers are happy to stick with the original media plans they have been using for many years. This is unfortunate because there is so much potential that audience data can unlock. That said, though, most media planners in Asia-Pacific are caught in the middle. They may want to try a new media-buying strategy and shift more budget into digital advertising, or convince their clients to invest more in audience data for targeting their audiences effectively. However, they are unable to do so unless orders come from the top, either from the client-side or from their bosses.

Even the availability of global case studies, where audience data has been proven to help brands increase their ROI from their digital ad spend, can sometimes fail to convince buyers.

Top-down approach & buyer education essential

To drive the deployment of audience data, more in-depth case studies should be established to prove to buyers how tapping such data can play a part in targeting the right online audiences, so their ad spend does not go to waste.

These case studies need to be localized to win the trust of buyers. Industry bodies, such as the IAB, can play a part in spearheading such an approach, as they have begun to do so, and help simplify what audience data entails and how it can be used for targeting online audiences effectively.

For audience data usage to truly take off in Asia, advertisers and media buyers also need to adopt a more experimental attitude towards usage and challenge any preconceptions around third-party data.

The most innovative advertisers are open to testing audience data to identify the best data strategy for their campaign. A case study may provide a nudge in the right direction; but, ultimately, brands need to have a hands-on approach to figure out what works best for them.

Buyer education, hence, also is essential. In the early days of audience data in the US market, there were plenty of data vendors hawking low-quality, unrefined audience data, often obtained through dubious means. These black sheep have ruined the reputation of third-party audience data worldwide.

Data quality is important when it comes to using third-party audience data. For data providers like Eyeota, this means trying to find as accurate a signal or piece of data as possible. Accuracy is critical throughout the data-collection process so marketers can assign the right information to the right individual. Sufficient accurate data and volume are essential also to an advertiser for targeting online ads effectively.

There is also a common industry myth that using first-party special will suffice. However, even a major publisher with plenty of registration data may still lack scale and reach. First-party data quality does not always have enough scale and marketers have to perform lookalike modeling to obtain this, which could result in the loss of data quality in the process.

The addition of high-quality third-party data allows marketers to achieve scale in their data.


A version of this article was first published in Exchange Wire.