Figuring out how to get the most out of data remains a thorn in the side of many marketers.
One reason is that not all data is created equal, and it can’t always be leveraged across platforms. As a result, marketers often return to old practices and approaches, never quite happy with the results but not sure about how to do better. The truth is, while online environments for delivering messages to consumers have evolved at Mach speed, data management practices haven’t kept pace.
So what are the opportunities to improve? Here is what CMOs should demand from their data to make sure they’re maximizing the value of every ad dollar spent in 2019.
1. Confirmation That The Data Was Collected Ethically
Conversation around privacy reached a fever pitch this year. Don’t be surprised to see the same level of unprecedented scrutiny from consumers and regulators alike as we head into 2019. In fact, California has already begun legislating.
When buying audiences in 2019, demand to know how data is being collected and from where. That should be table stakes for any engagement you consider. First-party and publisher data that is collected ethically and with respect for privacy will keep you ahead of whatever changes are bound to come—and avoid headaches when the hammer inevitably drops on more unscrupulous collection practices.
2. Ability To Analyze And Optimize The Data
Unfortunately, there is no data silver bullet. The value you extract from the data sets you use will always come from your ability to conduct extensive analysis. Data that you can’t dive into holds little value in competitive markets where optimization is the true difference between make or break. In the old days, this meant paying extra during a digital campaign to have your campaign “optimized” with no clear understanding as to what was actually being changed or why. This typically resulted in questionable improvements and zero takeaways that could be leveraged to increase success of future campaigns.
When buying data, make sure you have the access and tools you need to extract actionable insights that help you make smart decisions before, during, and after a campaign. This means being able to drill all the way down to the “people” level of your data.
Again, not all data sets are created equal. Look for data that allows you to capture a persistent identifier to understand who you’re targeting with the ability to determine shared attributes with other lookalikes in your audience–even in the middle of a campaign.
3. Attribution Insights That Help You Measure Campaign Effectiveness
The old adage that marketers waste half of their budget but they don’t know which half still applies to some campaigns today. The right data should help you understand precisely where ad dollars are being optimized so you can channel more in that direction. After all, if you can’t use the data you have to define and measure that audience’s impact on a campaign’s success, then you really aren’t learning anything from one campaign to the next.
Additionally, if you’re dealing with household or some form of demographic data, you’re already hamstringing your efforts. A people-based approach through probabilistic modeling, transparency, and deterministic connections with known users is a better approach to attribution.
Finally, look for partners that can help fill in your capabilities gaps. Effective, targeted marketing relies on expertise in several disciplines, and it’s not always available in-house. Pair these capabilities with the right data, and you’re on your way to better campaigns in 2019.