Data Quality + Measurement Standards = Happy Customers

In a world where technology is changing faster than brand marketers can keep up, there is a perpetual need for there to be trust in the data marketing technology brands are providing to consumers. As we all know, there are a number of sources for data to support our individual platforms and technologies, but we’d be lying to ourselves if we accepted them all as equal. The truth is, there is lot of bad data out there and in a data-driven decision making world, it costs brands real money. When you combine this with the 4,000 different ways (a slight exaggeration) technology companies and agencies measure the effectiveness of the advertising, it leads to serious frustration and a lack of understanding of how effective ads truly are. Most importantly, there’s no real way to measure the effectiveness of one partner, agency or technology over the other. The advertising publications are littered with content on the subject.

The snowball effect is massive, it leads to gross misspending, lower than expected conversions and lost time invested in making decisions based on inaccurate data. It also doesn’t allow for healthy, level-playing field competition because we’re all playing by different rules. How do we get better if not for a fair fight every so often? Needles to say, we can’t wait for our government or standards boards (the IAB has yet to take a stand on data quality) to tell us what to do, we as technologists need to band together to come to some conclusions about what is acceptable and what isn’t. We’re competing against the two-headed monster of Facebook and Google who together control $150B in advertising spend and they’re winning. This is in part because (after industry backlash) marketers know what they are spending with them and how it’s working. In our business, it’s not clear.

To clarify, I’m not advocating to stricter rules, any overreaction or over-measurement. Quite the opposite frankly. We just need to all start speaking the same language and adhering to the same minimum standard requirements so our customers can make more informed decisions. Viewability is one key metric we should get aligned on, but it’s not the end all be all. There are other ways, like ‘time in view’ and ‘percent on screen’ we should be communicating our value (or lack thereof) to clients. Standardizing and working together will lead to us getting closer to our clients business to ensure we’re drive real, quantitative value. And we’re actually starting to see some of this. Just recently, InMobi and IAS banded together in an effort to provide a better user experience. It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. This approach will lead some a bunch of mini-fiefdoms competing and developing their own standards, metrics, language and level of transparency.

As the world becomes a more uncertain places, brands are looking for more ‘sure bets’ and thankfully the modern ‘growth marketers’ are looking towards our industry to provide them. We’re all positioned to do so, but I’m afraid many of us have fallen short. As marketing budgets grow at their slowest clip in two years, one can foresee this becoming more of an issue we need to address. If we don’t, we run the risk of letting great technology be overshadowed by better marketing and sales people.

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