Investing in data will be a key priority for brands in 2017, writes Jay Stevens, chief revenue officer at Adform.
There’s no doubt 2016 has been a breakthrough year for programmatic advertising. Spend has continued to grow, far outpacing other media, leading to a greater demand from advertisers for transparency from the agencies and technology partners which comprise their programmatic stack.
Where once programmatic trading was simply just the realm of performance campaigns, today we’re seeing data-driven advertising play a more central role in campaign execution. Consequently, advertisers are taking greater interest not only in the costs and ‘tech tax’ associated with the channel, but also in the proprietary data that drives the activity, understanding where it is going, who has access, and how it is being used.
To put this trend in context, over the past few years, advertisers have had to develop campaigns across more and more point solutions, often using a range of different agency and technology partners around the world to execute them.
As a result, data silos have arisen across the enterprise, leaving brands struggling to gain a holistic picture of the consumer – particularly, as in many instances, it will be the agency and not the advertiser that manages the relevant data sets. Management of these disparate relationships and ‘datamarts’ has become increasingly complex, time-consuming and inefficient.
Logical place to start
Many advertisers are actively trying to take greater control of their tech stack to gain the transparency they require, with the data management platform – as the central repository –the logical place to start.
As digital advertising continues to soar, first-party data has become its most valuable commodity. Yes, it’s impossible to engage an audience without creative execution, but advertisers are trying to deliver on the holy trinity of data, trading and creativity, all of which is reliant on the DMP. Not only that, but as marketing technology has evolved to incorporate both CRM and cross-channel customer communications, the DMP has become the keystone in the bridge that connects the CRM data to digital media.
“Many advertisers are actively trying to take greater control of their tech stack to gain the transparency they require”
Ownership of the DMP provides advertisers with increased data protection, security, collation, management, activation and evaluation, all within one platform. Brands control the access, so they can see unfiltered consumer insights and use this to inform future brand and performance campaigns.
The rise of in-house DMPs has made it easier for brands to collect, manage, analyse and activate data, resulting in more relevant and engaging consumer-centric messaging. This creates a holistic approach to digital advertising and ensures all the stakeholders and agencies are working towards the same set of short term data-driven campaign objectives as well as long term business objectives.
Seamless, relevant and unobtrusive
That said, advertisers still need to become more savvy when utilising their first party data to create a seamless, relevant and unobtrusive consumer journey. Brands should be looking to utilise technologies such as sequential messaging and Dynamic Creative Optimisation, delivering their right creative at the most appropriate moment, based on data from a user’s previous on and offline experiences and where they are in the lifecycle.
There is no doubt a steep learning curve for advertisers around data privacy and usage, and arguably the regulations are still a bit vague, while they also vary from one market to another. However, this is a clear opportunity for technology partners and agencies to offer greater consultancy, making advertisers more aware of best practice guidelines, optimal governance models, and ensuring the opportunities afforded to them by ownership of the DMP are not offset by compliance breaches further down the line.
As more brands begin to realise the true value of their data, the need to invest more in keeping that data close must become a key priority in 2017.