As fraud continues, data quality will grow as a concern
Audience data quality is a growing challenge for the industry. Invalid traffic through bots is especially harmful, and can skew analytics for publishers and marketers alike. A summer report by DoubleVerify found that desktop-based fraud is falling, however, mobile fraud and CTV scams are exploding. Navigating that will continue to be critical for the industry in the New Year as transparency and clarity in all facets of advertising continue to be hot buttons. Fortunately, there are meaningful fixes underway to address this.
Vendors and media partners are investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning technology that can granularly score every audience profile. Then, they’re matching those against industry benchmarks, to further verify the accuracy. Additionally, data sellers need to put in place rigorous quality control measures to ensure audience segment quality. This means more curated segments and robust third-party verification. These changes are important as 90 per cent of marketers view audience data as either “very valuable” or “somewhat valuable” to their marketing efforts.
Second-party data adoption will skyrocket
Second-party data is essentially another company’s first-party data that is sold directly from the source. This means you understand where the data is coming from and how reliable it is from the beginning.
This year, at Lotame, we saw a 600 per cent increase in our second-party data client portfolio. The jump in business was massive. It’s tied to the industry’s interest in greater transparency. Not only are marketers concerned about the quality of the media they buy, they also want to know that their audience data is precise. Second-party data does that. Buying second-party data means buying data directly from the seller, rather than going through a third-party exchange. This means you can have clarity into the source of the data, how it was collected, and what it’s best used for. It also means no more guessing if data segments are accurate or will improve campaign performance. The growth of second-party data will continue in 2019.
For publishers, the rise of second-party data is especially important. As media companies try identify new revenue opportunities, selling their first-party data is a major opportunity.
Privacy legislation’s impact will continue
GDPR and potential state-by-state privacy guidelines will bring more complexity in managing consumer consent. In fact, in 2019, we’ll see consent become a branded term in how data is acquired and used. Today, the consent framework generally sits with publishers, but in 2019, we’ll start seeing it pop up more with marketers. Managing consent will become more prevalent and opportunity-driven for them. As a result, I anticipate that vendors will be focused on working with marketers around the management of consumer identities. While GDPR has made things more challenging for many tech platforms, it will also be a key business opportunity.
Publishers and marketers will start to outsource data needs
Research finds that audience data is still underleveraged by publishers, with few having created new or meaningful revenue from it. Similarly, with marketers, more than half say one of the main roadblocks preventing them from making use of data is their insufficient in-house capabilities. For these organizations, data strategy development, management and execution require sizable investments in talent and technology. So, in 2019, I anticipate data needs to begin migrating entirely to third-party providers. Everyone will want data planning and strategy, technology, analytics and overall execution as a one-stop managed service.
Vendors need to roll with that shift. In this era, it’s not enough to be a platform anymore. Successful vendors will understand that and offer a hands-on, consultative model for delivering on a client’s business objectives for data — whatever that might be. Many vendors will try to stay the course and continue to push technology only and first. But those who do that will fail. You need to sell your team and your technology to win in this business.
As publishers launch products and IRL locations, data is critical
Digital publishers are under threat. From the duopoly to media fragmentation, driving revenue is harder than ever. And, unfortunately, advertising isn’t as reliable a source of revenue as it used to be. So, diversification is necessary.
As a result of that, we’re seeing a number of publishers get creative and launch physical products or brick-and-mortar presences to support their business. Take, for example, Hearst’s high-end yoga mat. Or Time Out New York’s global chain of restaurants, where all of the food is curated by Time Out editors. These types of activations can require significant investments, but can also deliver huge rewards. As advertising becomes more and more competitive, with narrower margins, larger publishers are increasingly likely to embrace similarly unique strategies in 2019.
To be successful here, though, it comes back to audience data. As a publisher, you need to have a very good understanding of your audience to launch a physical product or brick-and-mortar location, as you lean on your loyal customer base to help adopt and evangelise. I recently heard about one publisher who is looking to launch a spirits brand – they put a lot of audience research into it on their site by increasing the number of spirits ads and articles to better understand the audience makeup, audience preferences, etc. That digital data is the backbone of the product’s development, marketing and beyond.