Smart Data: How the industry is starting to evolve and adopt better data strategies

Zee Ahmad_pic.jpeg

Zee Ahmad, Director of Programmatic at Axonix

Identifying audiences, gaining actionable insights based on their interactions with advertising is of course a key focus across the industry.

Data is a key instrument in how we go about achieving this. It also binds together other areas such creativity, video and also metrics such as Viewability. For example as important as it is for ads to be viewable, is it not just as important to ensure that the right people are viewing the right ads?

Across both our exchange business and work with our operator partners such as WEVE in the UK, we have seen the conversation around data insights really flourish over the last 12 months.

We are seeing the following emerging trends in terms of how people are questioning data and how it can truly benefit them.

The quality of the data truth sets

Data is often seen as the cure all to marketing, conversations still seem revolve around the notion of combining AI and Big Data to inform marketing strategies. At a topline this makes perfect sense, however it also creates ambiguity and a lack of transparency around how exactly data is harnessed to the benefit of clients.

Without a doubt machine learning and AI enable us to train technology to deliver on a multitude of objectives, however of key consideration should be the raw data that these highly sophisticated algorhythms are modelling and optimising against.

We are seeing more questions around the quality and scale of our mobile operator truth sets and how we leverage this to create our probabilistic (Insights) and Deterministic (Verified) data products. To us this seems like a very positive development in terms of the improving transparency and confidence in how partners approach mobile first data.

Custom data sets and collaboration

One of the really exciting aspects of the last year has undoubtedly been the conversation around collaborating and building customised data sets to offer truly unique targeting strategies. Fusing advertisers insights with reputable data sources evolves the data conversation from generic catch all profiling solutions to tailor made audiences. This forms a unique truth set that can be used to both directly target and model against to build extended reach.

The recent alliance between AOL and Weve via Axonix’s technology also demonstrates an emerging way in which media companies are starting to forge viable partnerships that help differentiate themselves from the likes of Google and Facebook. We expect to see more instances of media owners and data providers embracing more joined up thinking in terms of developing differentiated insights rich products that previously were not available in market.

Data decoupled from supply

The advent of programmatic and the greater flex of the agencies and their trading desks has arguably had a detrimental effect on media revenues. Header bidding in part helps yield through a more unified auction mechanic, but the fact remains that it is becoming harder and harder to make the same revenue from like for like supply.

It used to be the case that programmatic vendors would impress the benefits of their solutions on the basis of minimising data leakage, this made perfect sense however outside of keeping that data for direct sales teams (of course a very valid reason!) little was made of how can we make use of this data in its own right.

Progressive publishers understand this and are starting to appreciate there is commercial value to be placed on the interactions of their user base beyond just the value they generate through reading or viewing a piece of owned and operated content. Through leveraging data market places and other distribution channels publishers are beginning to think like data providers and monetising their data outside of the walled gardens of their own media.

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