Take CONTROL of your DATA

Executive summary. What things are crucial for an ADVERTISER to think about in terms of utility, safety, and property rights when choosing an adequate partner managing its 1st party DATA?


The 1st party DATA collected will be stored into audience clusters (in reality a picture on customer needs and desires).

Just imagine all the beautiful & practical things that you possess in your wonderful home. Your kitchen knife for the best food creations, MacBook to write your masterpiece, sofa to watch chapter two of Breaking Bad on Netflix, Nike running shoes for your daily run, or the shelf’s where you store your favorite shirts. All of these things have during a long time been nicely collected, stored and been used according to your behavior patterns applied at home. Now lets say that you move to one place to another. Is the idea to leave all of these things behind and to start again from scratch? The answer is obviously NO.


The 1st party DATA collected will be stored into audience clusters (in reality a picture on customer needs and desires).

In the new era, where digital transformation already has taken place, advanced ADVERTISERS are able to fill up their homes through numerous DATA touch points (mostly through analytics tools, campaign DATA, CRMs, search etc) that determine customer behavior. Below you will find an example on how DATA is stored & classified in a so-called DMP (Example illustrated below by Adform.com).

The 1st party DATA collected will be stored into audience clusters (in reality a picture on customer needs and desires).

So how is this DATA being used? (also read: DATA......and now what?)

In a promotional CAMPAIGN (digital promotions exposed on display & video formats over any devise), wouldn’t it be nice to mainly expose Ads to customers with products & services that make sense to them? Wouldn’t it also be nice to expose these Ads in a sensible way (without uncontrolled and aggressive retargeting that only bothers people and give the BRANDs a bad reputation)? After all and don’t forget, the people being targeted by ads happened to be the most important asset for any companies, which is their customers.

For instance in a real estate campaign, why offer a house to a person that lives far away from the house and looks for characteristic’s very much different that he/she wants, or why deliver the same ad more than lets say three times (don’t know about you, but I hate to be retargeted over and over again)?

Another important function utilizing DATA is to be able to offer Cross Devise functionalities (also read: Christmas Story through Cross Devise). It happens that most people access Internet on multiple devises such as Smartphones, PCs, Pads, Connected TV, Wearable’s etc. It’s important to apply the correct ads according to the devise that is targeted. Another thing that is important with cross devise functionalities is to avoid media wastage by exposing the right amount of Ad impressions to one single user that access Internet by multiple devises.

It’s also crucial to discover new relevant audiences to expand pool of relevant users and drive advertising effectiveness. The process of audience extension is only possible through advanced DATA management set-ups.

Keep in mind that we live in a dynamic world. People remove APPs, delete cookies or simply change behavior. Life in general is far from static so drawing conclusions based on the past does not make too much sense. It needs a continuous flow of fresh data information.

The DATA needs to be based in the presence, but one need to keep in mind that the CONSTRUCTION of a meaningful structure in collecting, store and utilize DATA is never something that one can manage one day to another. It takes effort, time and money.

Why effort?
DATA utilization does not make sense without a team of analyst to draw conclusions based on “DATA facts”. A complex system of tracking points also needs to be constructed in the most adequate way.

NOTE: I have been personally part of CRM integrations to DMPs and believe me, its complex and need the adequate & skilled engineers to make it work. Therefore when choosing a DATA tech partner, its important that they rely on a large and reliable development team.

Why time?
Talent does not happen without proper testing and training. A utile DMP structure does not happen over night. It takes time, at least a period of 3-6 months to get the adequate DATA input.

Why Money?
Campaigns are a perfect “training session” in understanding user behavior. You launch a campaign and it happens that a certain cluster reacts differently than you thought. It’s a constant process of optimization and everyone knows that advertising impressions cost money.

NOTE: RTB with an independent and media transparent DSP, will reduce significant costs due to cut of middlemen and offering transparent media buying’s that is one more advantage that programmatic media buying offers.

Ok, now we know that DATA management takes effort, time and money. What has this to do with moving to a new house and leaving your furniture’s at home?

Advertisers use the following partners to work on programmatic strategies:

Media Traders that offer a performance target to advertisers and keep the margins of what was bought through Ad Exchanges and the KPIs of the campaigns. These advanced Media Traders know their stuff and do a great job. The problems are two: 

  1. These guys will not offer transparency in media buy and they might gain up to 50% plus margins of your marketing budget. That is a very high margin, and don’t forget it was you that worked hard to get the marketing budget in the first place.
  2. The DATA collected by the Advanced Media Trader, on the advertisers expense, can also be used to optimize your competitor’s campaigns which at the end meaning additional revenues for them and a real threat to your market position.

Media Agencies are great companies, especially in creativity due to their skill in product strategy (also read: The Golden Triangle). Nevertheless by pure nature and logic, the advertisers should not stay with the same agency forever (mainly because its impossible to stay creative forever with the same partner & products). What if the Advertiser changes its Media Agency, what happens with all the campaign DATA and Campaign setups?

Media + Technology Giants that offer the combination of media supply and technology platforms are for the moment the main supplier of DATA solutions for advertisers. This could in the short run sound like a good idea but the problem is that they live on media (as a publisher) and due to their powerful position they might end up becoming your competitor or optimize the highest eCPMs for a whole industry in benefit to themselves. Also they are not neutral in finding the best traffic inventory because they will choose what offers the best margins and defend their own position.  

NOTE: Need to be mentioned that laws and regulations around DATA are continuously changing. How will you be assured that your DATA partners are up to date with all of this? Do they have servers with the right protection level or do official institutes audit them? Do they assure the privacy laws passed on each individual country? Safe harbor norms with clear usage of DATA between continents may be demolished one day to another (it actually happened). What if you store DATA on a US based platform, how sure would you be that your praxis is legal for your European customer DATA sources?


To ADVERTISERS a suggestion would be that they takes control of their DATA strategy and manage it through Neutral Technology partners and if it involves Trading (DSP) as well, its important that they prove to be media agnostic. The reason to rely on a neutral player not only will make things safer, but most important it makes the advertiser agile to change agencies, media partners or integration partners without loosing DATA. Don’t end up in the situation where you decide to move to a higher level with a new partner, and by doing so loose all the learning’s that you have built up for for years. This will be, not only expensive but also extremely frustrating and a leap backwards that surely your competitors can take advantage of.

In other words, take control of your DATA by using an independent and media agnostic FULL STACK ADTECH PLATFORM, combining DATA (DMP) and MEDIA (DSP). By doing this you may move to new agencies or trading partner, but you will always keep your DATA to yourself.

NOTE: a unified platform with the same technology for DMP and DSP, will avoid DATA discrepancy significantly, hence improve results.

For more information: www.adform.comandreas.akesson@adform.com


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