As we wind down from RampUp 2016, the annual adtech summit hosted by LiveRamp, we’re reflecting on the technology, ideas and opinions that converged at the dynamic industry event. If you missed the summit, or you’re reflecting, here’s a rundown from one panel, Data as an Asset, which had a manifold of perspectives, including those of our very own David Dowhan.
Data as An Asset
Panelists and Moderator
- Moderator: Mike Driscoll, chief executive officer, Metamarkets
- Alan Gellman, chief marketing officer, Esurance
- Diego Panama, managing director of strategic partnerships, LiveRamp
- Craig Teich, executive vice president of sales and business develop, Connexity
- David Dowhan, president, TruSignal
A Passion for Data
Driscoll opened by noting data’s unassailable importance to both vendors and brands in the adtech ecosystem. But data is recognized, defined and utilized in remarkably different ways across organizations. First-party, second-party, third-party, offline and online data are all forms leveraged by organizations. While all panelists united decisively on the definition of first-party data, that which the marketer generates and owns, their industry commentary diverged from there.
Teich broke the data landscape out in terms of “observed”, “inferred” and “declared” data. Any of these, he referenced, can be owned by different parties and can be translated into audiences for targeting. Inferred data refers to information you derive about a customer because of a specific behavior. Declared data is the information a consumer volunteers.
Dowhan explained “observed” data with the example of a user visiting a brand’s website. The marketer observes a high level of interest and retargets the user. Dowhan said, however, that an affinity for one type of data isn’t advantageous because different data serves different purposes.
Avoiding Data Voids
In the retargeting example, the marketer has no additional data points on the user. If a website visit meant a user would invariably convert, Dowhan continued, all retargeting campaigns would have a 100% conversion rate. Dowhan advised that offline data, with attributes like demographics, financial information and past purchase behavior, could be complimentary in this scenario. For example, if the objective was an improved conversion rate, offline data could be used to identify and suppress non-converters and increase conversions.
Gellman emphasized that marketers should first aggregate first-party data and then asses the need for additional data in order to fill in any gaps.
First-party data has the most predictive power, Gellman pressed. Teich confirmed that high-quality first-party data can make third-party data even more powerful because it can be used as a tool to expand predictive insights to prospects. Furthermore, Dowhan said, first-party data fuels powerful predictive analytics.
When first-party data is synthesized with third-party data, a predictive model can be extended beyond the brand’s existing customer base, said Dowhan. Third-party data, Dowhan noted, can make other data sources more powerful. Data, along with predictive analytics, is also being used to make decisions beyond “Who should I target?”.
Where’s the Rub?
Driscoll shifted the conversation to compartmentalized data powerhouses like Facebook and Google, asking if they benefited or harmed marketers in the long run. Gellman advocated the benefit of these sizable data sets, but critiqued their disparate accessibility. These walled gardens pose a major disadvantage to marketers because a marketer cannot reach the same audience or access the same insights across platforms.
Panama suggested the industry was working to improve connectivity by being more people based. Dowhan agreed that people-based audiences are critical to improving marketers’ ability to reach the same audience across platforms and devices. He asserted that walled gardens should be more transparent, sharing data insights with marketers, and work to make data more portable across the ecosystem.
As the panel wound down, Gellman referred to data was an asset that, when used incorrectly, could also be a burden. Dowhan added that marketers need analytical capabilities to build on data. “Data is only an asset if you can organize it and make it actionable,” he stated.
If you’re curious about some of the different types of data that were discussed, you can check out these TruSignal blogs to learn more: