Data And Context for Brand Advertisers Flying Blind Today: Umbel's 'HO' Maycotte

Higinio “HO” Maycotte, CEO and founder of Umbel, a smart data company, is not the first to believe the future of media buying is data, but he is one of just a few pushing for more use of data in brand advertising for CMOs. Maycotte also believes that the future of media buying is heavily dependent on data.

“The reason the Web began pulling attention from the TV (tube) is because it was easier to nail context – wherever and whenever the user’s attention was most optimal,” says Maycotte. “This is especially true with the landslide of time being spent on mobile. Context rules. The only way to triangulate the consumer’s time with the ideal content and an optimal brand, all in a way that feels natural to all parties, is with data.”

In the future, media companies may not have destination URLs or mobile apps. Instead, content will be paired with the best reader wherever the interaction is most aligned with everyone’s needs.

“Premium content + premium audiences + premium brands + premium data will be the future of media,” says Maycotte. There are hurdles to overcome to get there, though. In this environment, media companies shouldact as data stewards and provide brands with transparent metrics. Unfortunately, most don’t.

“Most CMOs are flying blind when it comes to the results of media buying and, other than impression verification, they have no clear view of who was reached and how their spend impacted awareness,” he says.



Unfortunately, the industry exists in a world of nebulous metrics which make it difficult to really know if media buys are performing, unless you look at raw impressions and click-through-rates. There is, of course, room to improve this approach using technology.

“Media companies are sitting on a treasure trove of data that can be repurposed to provide meaningful accountability beyond the current quantitative measurements that have no reflection on how a brand or product pitch may have resonated with the audience,” says Maycotte.

“If a media company wants to build authentic relationships with its audience, it will protect and covet the data it has the potential to collect, for the purpose of improving the overall experience for audience members and the company’s own advertisers,” he says.

In the world of TV and traditional media, composition metrics from Nielsen, Arbitron and MRI have been used to place media buys. These methodologies are tightly monitored for consistency and have therefore become the status quo.

“The downside is that this data is based on very small portions of the population,” say Maycotte. “In the case of radio, 70,000 people drive composition data that determines how $14B in ad buys get allocated.”

The measurement challenges of traditional media should have been avoidable for digital, but, according to Maycotte, we are actually worse off than we were 50 years ago.  “It is imperative that we move to a qualitative approach where reach, and not composition, is the focus. Our goal is to reach real humans, who are likely to consume our media products and the advertisers that fund it. In the next three to five years, we will move well beyond impressions and visibility and focus much more on who is engaging and why.”

Over the next year, Maycotte believes that media companies will undergo a data awakening, with an emphasis on first-party data, as CMOs are shifting more brand advertising to digital. In the end, this shift will turn measurement on its head.

“When you can dial in context and prove that you can reach the most relevant audience via data, it is much more about precision reach than it is about composition,” says Maycotte. “Data is the only way to make this transition.”

I believe data and insights are the game-changers for “branded response,” which is a combination of engagement (branding) as well as the response (action) that Maycotte mentions is optimal for CMOs.

4 comments about "Data And Context for Brand Advertisers Flying Blind Today: Umbel's 'HO' Maycotte".
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  1. Bob Gordon from The Auto Channel, February 25, 2014 at 3:53 p.m.

    Read my lips... its the Content

  2. Geoff Pickering from Blue Brahma, February 25, 2014 at 4:51 p.m.

    Spot on - love this article.

  3. HO Maycotte from Umbel, February 25, 2014 at 5:06 p.m.

    Thanks y'all! If you want more info, feel free to reach out:

  4. Alex Sutton from MY M&M'S(R) / Mars, Inc, February 26, 2014 at 9:58 a.m.

    Great article! What do you think post impression activity data can tell us about the value of one ad placement to another?

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