The real issue for digital advertising - audience reach and data integrity
Industry leaders and regulators have been bogged down with privacy and Internet tracking for years. Action has come in fits and starts because regulators have had to walk a tightrope for fear of damaging the engine of ecommerce growth. Behavioral targeting, or cookies, has been the technical DNA for personalization and online targeting now for over 15 years. So it is no surprise that nothing in the recent announcement by the White House about the "Consumer Bill of Rights" prohibits tracking cookies. Ad networks and industry stakeholders have been quick to rush to the front of the line in support of the administration's announcement.
While privacy is the hot button that gets all the attention, the real issue among industry insiders and marketers is a growing concern over audience reach and data integrity.
There is an old saying, "when the only tool in the toolbox is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail." The saying applies in this case because for over 15 years the industry has been dependent on cookie technology to drive commerce and user targeting. The challenge is that, in addition to concerns about privacy, virtually every online action is now tracked through a cookie. User populations and usage have exploded and so have cookies, which are overloading browsers and expiring as rapidly as they are placed. Industry studies now show that, across ad networks and exchanges, only 30 to 40% of the total qualified audience is reachable through a cookie at any given time.
Limited audience reach "compresses" market opportunity. This happens as well-funded national campaigns use up the available inventory that otherwise might be distributed to local and regional campaigns. Local campaigns may see a significant reduction in available unique users (down to 5% coverage in some cases) because the larger national campaigns are using up the qualified inventory. Compression benefits the largest advertisers as well as the largest ad networks that now have better control over both market pricing and inventory access.
A 15 year old technology that favors a select group of advertisers because it is no longer able to reach two-thirds of the target audience for any campaign is an obvious systemic problem that needs to be fixed.
The second pressing industry concern for marketers should be data integrity. The governance of consumer information has a long history when it comes to what data can be collected, how it can be applied, and how consumers can control their information. The Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 put in place guidelines for credit score usage, and revisiting the Fair Information Practice Principles (also of the 70s) of consumer notice, consent, access, data integrity, and enforcement addresses the collection and management of personal information.
The FCRA and FIPP's documents address the issues of data collection, access and accuracy. Better data integrity improves the performance of marketing and lifts the boats of commerce. One of the main issues with data integrity online is that the data being collected is primarily transactional. A high line of credit on your bank card means you are a luxury buyer. Shopping for a car online means you are a buyer of car insurance. Buy a dress and you need shoes. It is transactional because it can be stored as one action – on a cookie.
In the offline world of direct mail and email marketing audiences are defined by transactional information and through robust demographic analysis. This analysis is often done with predictive models that serve to separate the very best potential mix of potential prospects from the worst prospects based on the weighted contribution of multiple demographic attributes. Audience targeting online based on a single transaction or a couple of site visits represents a classic thin data problem – and can be the equivalent of qualifying an audience on little or no relevant information at all.
With click-through rates at historically low levels, a dramatic upgrade in the data management and integrity to the targeting data capabilities of the infrastructure is needed to drive better acceptance across a broader audience. This can only happen by integrating publicly available multi-variant demographic information into the decision making process so that audience are validated by multiple criteria and there are no privacy issues to contend with.
In late 2011 Semcasting introduced a breakthrough solution for online targeting that addresses the reach, data integrity and privacy issues. IP Audience Zones maps 100% of online traffic into qualified demographic, socio-economic, and interest Zones. Over 1.5 million Home Zones and 4 million Business Zones are appended with hundreds of data variables. Because there is no application or placement of cookies or tracking pixels, every qualified site visitor is available for targeting.
Privacy is a primary design objective with IP Zones as all Zones represent aggregated, publicly available information. An IP Zone is 75 times more precise than zip code geo-demographic data, but there is still no ability to single out an individual within a Zone.
This is targeting done the right way based on multiple dimensions of affluence, lifestyle, and interests. IP Zones qualifies audiences as being in the market and/or having the ability to purchase the product or service being offered.
Semcasting is a supplier of predictive data solutions that helps marketers, agencies, trading desks and ad networks more accurately define and target online and offline customers and prospects. Semcasting's patented technology creates predictive models that are applied to over 227 million individuals and 126 million households. Semcasting's proprietary data store includes over 750 demographic, behavioral, affluence, ownership, and consumer purchasing variables.
Results from campaigns covering auto sales, alternative energy, travel, politics and non-profits are generating between 50% to 400% lift as compared to traditional behavioral targeted campaigns.
IP Zones dramatically improves the veracity of intent segments and at the same time increases online reach by over 3 times – all in a privacy friendly way, making IP Zones a game changer in online advertising.
Toss your cookies with Semcasting at ad:tech!
Semcasting's IP Audience Zones is a breakthrough audience targeting platform that maps nearly 100% of online traffic into 5.2 million qualified, target-ready audience Zones without the placement of traditional cookies or tracking pixels.
IP Audience Zones solves the three challenges of online advertising Reach, Data Integrity, Privacy:
- Reach - Nearly 100% of qualified prospects every time
- Data Integrity - 70 million plus demographic segments, enhanced with over 120 variables
- Enhanced Privacy - Targeting with no cookies and no tracking pixels
Join us at booth 1833 and see why IP Audience Zones was picked as one of the best new technologies at ad:tech NY.
If you'd like more information about the solutions introduced in this newsletter, or would like to discuss planning for your next marketing campaign, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.