Session two: Why data quality is more important than ever in the age of Coronavirus and a new era of regulation
December 31st is creeping closer and with it the end of the roller coaster year that’s been 2020. The ever-changing trends in consumer behaviors during the Covid-19 crisis has meant brands are reevaluating where their audiences are going, what media they are consuming and where they’re consuming it.
This looks likely to continue throughout next year and perhaps even longer term. The cost of being wrong for a marketer has never been higher and the issue of data quality is very much front and center for brands.
Different strokes for different folks
“There’s a disconnect between marketers and data providers about why you want this data,” says Athletes First Partners’ Jene Elzie.
With third party data you only have the provider’s word that the data is good so how do you address this problem in the absence of a gold standard like Nielson ratings, for example?
Programmatic advertising makes the most extensive use of data on all sides of the equation. The automated buying and selling of ads require massive amounts of data to determine which ones to buy and how much to pay. And if that data is of poor quality, publishers miss out on revenue and advertisers fail to hit the mark.
“Without a universal standard for brands to understand exactly what they are measuring, it’s possible to waste money on measuring unhelpful metrics. So help me understand the data – bring it alive for me.” adds Elzie.
Share This’ Michael Gorman agrees. “Data is not just being used for ad targeting. Brands want insights too.”
“There are left and right brained marketers and both have different uses for their data. I don’t just want to know that I can get that particular audience in front of an ad, I want to understand more about them and their behaviors,” says Elzie. “Especially now during the pandemic when those behaviors and media consumption are changing.”
A cookie-less future and the challenge of identity
The programmatic ecosystem must ensure the ethical use of data and that consumer privacy is fully respected. With Google phasing out third-party cookies and Apple changing how the industry tracks identity, what are the implications going forward in a new era which also includes more regulation like CCPA and GDPR? Will the digital advertising industry become more probabilistic instead of deterministic in its approach to data?
“I’ve been in this industry for a long time and it still drives me mad that people think that something new automatically kills off everything before,” says Eyeota’s Kristina Prokop.
“You can still match data sets for identity purposes; however, the scale of that data isn’t going to grow so much.”
She thinks the new reality will be a combination of multiple solutions because no one solution can answer the question of accuracy and scale.
“We have to remain flexible to adapt to our partners and customers needs. The future will not be one ID solution,” adds Prokop. “The future will not be one ID solution. We will have different requirements for different client bases and geographies that need to be met.”
All the panel agrees that the ad-tech industry is very resourceful in solving problems through innovation and collaboration.
“Cookies have been with us for a long time. As a means of identification, it was widespread, and it was free,” says Gorman. “It was a ‘good enough’ ID tool and this probably prevented a lot of innovation in solving many of the issues we are facing now that it is being withdrawn because of inherent privacy issues.”
“Strong identity services companies are emerging that can offer improved verification tools brands can utilize,” he adds.
Brands must also be sure that data providers have the required permissions from consumers to use their data. Neutronian’s Yarnall says his company’s approach is to work with partners like Eyeota using a methodology which breaks out data quality into five main categories:
While every brand will have their own criteria in evaluating data quality and data partners, Jene Elzie thinks this approach is a useful benchmark.
“There are no set standards after all, and it will always be a ‘push and pull’ exercise for now. Each industry may have alignment internally, for example sports brands, but there isn’t enough alignment within the adtech sector itself. As we move into a more virtual world, we will need more consistency in metrics and standards but in the short term I think it will be a highbred model,” she says.