Are Digital Marketers Drowning in Data?

  |  July 18, 2012   |  Comments

A consumer data discussion with Kirby Winfield, SVP of corporate development at comScore, Inc.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Kirby Winfield, the SVP of corporate development at comScore, Inc., and ask him a few questions about consumer data and data in general.

Tim Nichols: What is the biggest mistake marketers make when purchasing and applying consumer data products?

Kirby Winfield: Not going in with a clear sense of what they're trying to measure, and why. It's easy to get lost in all the data when you don't go into it with an understanding of what your marketing objective is. For example, are you trying to optimize your TRP, or are you trying to lower your cost per lead? The same data can be applied in very different fashion to achieve those distinct objectives. When you have a clear sense of purpose up front, it makes the data a lot more manageable.

TN: What is more critical to the success of a digital ad campaign? Data, creative, or content?

KW: That's like asking which is more important to the success of a Major League Baseball pitcher: velocity, movement, or control? While each may have relatively greater importance in different situations, all of the above are critical. It's important to remember that you can be firing on all cylinders on two out of three, but if you totally whiff on the third your campaign will fail. You can use the best targeting on the most premium of publishers and that will not guarantee a successful campaign if you've gone in with the wrong message, or creative that doesn't engage consumers.

TN: It seems like digital marketers are drowning in data. What's the best way to triage and manage all of the insights and make them actionable?

KW: With the emergence of programmatic ad buying, and the attendant growth in data integration, many marketers can now access everything from planning, attribution, optimization, audience data, and more within the same tool they use for trafficking ads. It's also easier for marketers if they can consolidate their campaign tagging, planning, and evaluation into a single-source, end-to-end solution. Tools like our own comScore vCE, and others provided by vertically integrated advertising "stacks" can provide that and help reduce the complexity.

TN: Viewable impressions are all the rage. What should advertisers and publishers know about the ongoing move toward a new set of metrics for evaluating ad effectiveness?

KW: One of the best things about digital advertising is the huge amount of information available about every impression delivered. But none of these data mean a thing if they're collected on ads that have never appeared in the browser - worse, these unseen ads overstate reach and understate performance, causing a black eye for digital advertising relative to television and other media.

A viewable impression standard solves this problem. It helps make digital more comparable with TV because ads are being delivered with the same "opportunity to see." And, it helps decrease the glut of worthless ad inventory dragging down pricing for premium publishers. When publishers remove unviewable impressions, performance (and thus CPMs) go up. When advertisers hold publishers contractually to a viewable impression standard, they are assured of accurately evaluating and valuing the inventory they purchase. When advertisers buy based on viewable impressions, they will see brand and sales lift increase, because they are no longer being dragged down by ads that didn't have the opportunity to make an impact.

TN: Thanks Kirby!


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Tim  Nichols

Tim Nichols is a founding partner at ExactDrive, a leading Self-Serve Online Advertising Platform with white label, reseller and managed service options available. ExactDrive plans, manages, and optimizes online advertising campaigns with the objective of delivering measurable value and empowering clients to find precisely targeted audiences. ExactDrive has offices in Washington, DC, Austin, TX, Phoenix, AZ, Santa Monca, CA and is headquartered in St Paul, MN.

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