It wasn’t too long ago that the only concurrence in the digital video industry at large was the actual media itself and the third-party data housed by data management platforms (DMPs) used to target these campaigns.
When all we were concentrating on was online video on a desktop, the cookie was at the center of the data universe. With the growth of mobile advertising and the explosion of OTT, we are dealing with a different landscape and a fragmented data playbook. So how do you make sense of it all?
Defining data types
Data — cookies, IFAs, IPs, device graphs, etc. aside — let’s look at what kind of data is available and who owns it.
- First-party data is defined as data that your company has collected directly from your audience made up of customers, site visitors, and viewers. “First-party” refers to the party that collected the data firsthand to use for retargeting.
- Second-party data is essentially someone else’s first-party data. Second-party data isn’t usually commoditized — but that looks like it will change soon as well. However, you can often work out an arrangement with trusted partners who are willing to share or sell their customer data.
- Third–party data is any information collected by an entity that does not have a direct relationship with the user on whom the data is being collected. Third-party data is generated on a variety of websites and platforms and is then aggregated together by a DMP. The data may also be sold to publishers that either don’t have their own first-party data or to bolster their first-party data with complementary audience information.
- Publisher first-party data refers to the information collected by publishers about their site’s visitors, subscribers, or customers. This data can include behaviors, actions, viewership preferences, or interests demonstrated across their properties. First-party data is usually much more accurate than third-party data.
DMPs aggregate pools of consumer data, looking at everything from demos to behaviors to purchase intent. In the cookieless environments of mobile and OTT advertising, data enablement changes drastically — which can intimidate buyers trying to determine how to best reach their target audience or KPI. So what should a buyer do?
You should first define your campaign goals (e.g., will you focus on reaching new customers, increasing revenues from existing customers, or both?), and then partner with a provider that can help you execute at scale. A valuable partner should offer recommendations on how to best use the data at your fingertips to maximize reach, minimize waste, and find your target audience at scale.
Yours, mine, or theirs? It is important to realize that there is no right answer or secret sauce in terms of data deployment. There are a lot of levers to pull to make sure that the right data (or combination of data) is being used for your campaign and desired audience/outcomes.
Should you use first-party advertiser data? This is great if you are only interested in reaching current or lapsed customers, but it may leave you with a small audience to work with and miss all the other people that may be in-market for your product or service who are not on your radar yet.
For example: If you are a car dealership and you want to market to customers nearing the end of their lease term, you may miss out on the opportunity to conquest other brand lessees as their leases term with first-party data alone.
Should you use third-party data? While valuable and scalable, you are excluding your own data and the data a publisher may have available.
Should you use first-party publisher data? It may be more accurate and impactful than third-party data, but it is very fragmented across publishers and media platforms. If you’re buying from one (or a few publishers directly), then this is easily managed. When executing an audience-based buy across multiple supply sources, however, this can be very cumbersome.
All screens, all streams
As video has evolved from desktop/mobile online video to over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) applications, the data landscape has changed as well. The cookie used to be king in the desktop environment, but now data comes in many forms.
The sheer amount or third-party data available for the OTT/CTV environments is not at the level seen for desktop (cookie-based), but it is growing and we are seeing an arms race as DMPs and other companies try to push for the crown.
A rising tide raises all ships — so while there may not be an apples-to-apples comparison in the data you can apply, there is sufficient data available to meet most campaign needs. Can you use your first-party data across screens? Yes. Again, at the end of the day a valuable demand-side vendor can help take your campaign goals and objectives and recommend the right data activation plan.
This landscape will change in the coming years with the advent of GDPR in the EU, California’s data privacy law (going into effect in 2020), and many more to come. The goal is to put the control of data back in the hands of the individuals it belongs to — the consumer.
The data landscape will change and perhaps become more scarce, but the ways in which it is deployed should still be familiar. It is important to work with partners that are ahead of the data privacy curve and prepared for the future.
While there are multiple rabbit holes we can go down in regards to data activation, the takeaways here are fairly simple. At a very high level, you should have a grasp of the data that is available to you and your specific campaign objectives. From there, a valued media partner can help put the pieces together and make real world recommendations that will drive the desired campaign success.
Click here to learn more about the top data activation trends for 2019.
This article was written by Kyle Benn, VP of mid-market demand facilitation at SpotX.