A Bullseye Requires Accurate Data

Ad targeting requires accurate data. Have you heard of Enliken? The company aims to show people the data advertisers sell about them online. The site offers a survey of more than 50 data points. In my case, the survey gathered data from about nine data tracking companies.

A few months ago, Enliken surveyed 600 people about what data is collected and how they feel about it. The results suggest people care a lot more about their political, health, and financial privacy than they do about their shopping, interests or travel data.

But how much of the data collected is accurate? I took the survey to see how much ad targeting firms know about my preferences. It turns out they were 27% wrong. If you try it yourself, you'll need to use Chrome or Firefox and it won't work if you've opted out of tracking cookies because it collects data from targeting firms. The app scans your computer hard drive for tracking cookies left by companies like AOL, BlueKai, eXelate, Google and Yahoo. It serves up categories the survey taker must rate.



It takes accurate data to connect with consumers. In fact, accurate data is smart data, according to eXelate's white paper that  discusses how to achieve such accuracy, and best practices in maintain it.

One important point to note: accuracy isn't precision. It is possible to remain precise and either somewhat or totally inaccurate. The white paper uses a target analogy. It explains that when throwing darts at a target, accuracy is determined by how close to the bullseye an arrow hits. Precision is determined by how tight a grouping the darts make.

Both measurements are required to developing a strong campaign. Accuracy is important, as the success of any campaign relies on correctly identifying a target audience. Without precision, measurements are less consistent and accuracy becomes harder to gauge.

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