In light of recent events surrounding Google and Facebook, two tech giants that have been beleaguered by accusations of mishandling consumers’ data, consumers have become aware of the true value of their information, as well as the lengths companies are willing to go to in order to obtain it.
With data being a new form of currency, its value exponentially increases if it’s accurate. Accurate data assures marketers that the data they purchase will help them reach their target customers, but it also gives data providers peace of mind that what they’re selling is crystal clear from the jump.
Accurate data is inherently transparent, and that goes a long way in the age of GDPR, data breaches, and growing consumer uncertainty as to what is fueling Facebook and Google’s never-ending appetite for data.
Before taking a step back and assessing how the data in your arsenal is being collected and quantified, take a look at the best practices for making sure your data is as accurate as possible.
Quality data is accurate data
One of the best practices for ensuring data quality is to define what “quality” means in the context of your companies’ targeting and measurement objectives.
The definition of quality is subjective and can vary across individuals, companies, and even industries, but what is universal is that marketers want “high quality” data that will help them achieve their business goals.
Quality can be defined by “accuracy,” but then again, you run into the problem of what that actually entails. If marketers want to simply know whether the information reflected in the data is correct, they must understand that accuracy is dependent on both targeting and measurement. If a marketer is looking to target women between the ages of 45-65, are you sure you are actually reaching this segment of the population? If not, then your data is both inaccurate and lacking in the quality needed to reach your business and project objectives.
One of the most accurate ways to collect a substantial amount of data is to use mobile location data, which can not only pinpoint specific locations visited by your target audience but is also easy to update in real time (we’ll dive deeper into the importance of real-time data for accuracy later.) Remember, data can only be as accurate as the parameters by which it is bound. Otherwise, it’s just useless information.
Consider getting external help from the right provider
An often overlooked sore point for marketers that collect data in house is the operational and tactical challenges that come with collecting and verifying the data themselves.
In order for location data to be useful, it needs to be accurate in identifying where your target audience spends its time and money. Not every company is equipped with the resources or technology to properly collect, synthesize, and contextualize information like location data, which is why the right external data solutions provider can be a much more efficient solution for ensuring data is as accurate as possible.
Often times, data is scaled up or down in order to reflect an already identified trend, but this can be a problematic “easy fix” that will, at best, jeopardize the validity of the entire data set and, at worst, come off as dishonest.
One of the benefits of location is that marketers can understand what would resonate with the target audience based on previous behavior, eliminating the need to scale the data but rather look at commonly seen touch points. The right solutions provider can help assess the validity of the data and, with proper guidelines that define targeting and measurement objectives, truly be a life-saving business partner instead of another internal stressor.
Use real-time data whenever possible
With all of the technological advancements and cloud-based solutions available to us today, there should be no reason marketers aren’t utilizing the most up-to-date data as possible. A company could have the most solid, externally verified set of data, but it wouldn’t be considered accurate if it was pulled five years ago.
Location allows for marketers to dig deeper and develop quality, personalized data points based on their recent geolocation. Within our new digital landscape, months have become days, and a year is an absolute lifetime. It isn’t always practical to constantly gather new data on a weekly or monthly basis. The gold standard should be to utilize living location data that reflects your audiences’ habits, instead of stagnant data based on one-time purchases and occurrences.
Using location-based data collected in real time from mobile devices shines in this regard and should be a top priority for solution providers that are looking to deliver quality data. Location data is also reflective of the daily habits and patterns of your target audience. In comparison to using self-reported data, which in itself can be inaccurate due yo the very nature of relaying sometimes sensitive information about oneself, location data can construct an accurate map of a customer’s whereabouts while removing the complicating factor of human judgment.
By defining their organizations’ definition of “accuracy,” allocating marketing resources to external solution providers that can provide unique data sets pulled from mobile phones, and ensuring all data is as up to date as possible via location-based approaches, marketers will begin to see an improvement in the quality and transparency of the data they purchase.
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