Commentary

Inaccurate Data Flooding An Industry Still Looking For Answers Through Attribution

Companies frequently work with bad data, though 95% feel compelled to turn the numbers into insights. It's not just data for paid-search campaigns, but email, display, social and video. The repercussions trickle into campaign from desktop to mobile devices. Some 32% of U.S. marketers call their company's data inaccurate. Although the number drops to 26% when looking at the global market, overall the amount of bad data rose 25% compared with a year ago, per a report released Thursday. Some companies try to fix the problem through better data management and attribution.

Turning data into actionable insights takes priority. U.S. respondents to a survey from Experian Data Quality suggest that increased efficiencies at 58%, mobile Web sites at 55%, and making more informed decisions are the top three reasons for maintaining data quality. Cost savings at 47% and protection of reputation round out the top five.

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There are a lot of things that can go wrong when measuring results, said Rakuten Marketing President Tony Zito, who released on Thursday a free attribution tool, Cadence Essential, that allows brands to combine data from multiple channels. The company built it from the ground up following last year's acquisition of DC Storm, now Rakuten Attribution.

Zito attributes poor data quality to a variety of factors such as missing purchase data, wrong impression counts, or inaccurate post impressions based on key performance indicators used to measure latent conversions. "Consistency in the data becomes a challenge when trying to tie in several media channels," he said. "Inaccuracies are created primarily on the technology side. If a tracking pixel doesn't fire, sometimes it's blocked, or if the servers don't have the ability to scale, the pixels won't track it. In aggregate the data could be off by 10%."

Despite the need for better data, only 35% of companies have a centralized data management strategy with one director. More often than not, this creates human error through inconsistencies in the collection of information. To understand how organizations use and think about data, Experian Data Quality in December surveyed more than 1,200 professionals from seven countries with knowledge of their company's data management practices.

Overall, 83% of companies participating in the survey believe that revenue is affected by inaccurate and incomplete customer or prospect data in terms of wasted resources, lost productivity or wasted marketing and communications spend.

Poor data quality, unfortunately, is not identified until it affects performance. Some 57% of those participating in the study said data quality issues are detected after being reported by employees, customer or prospects. Less than one in two companies conduct proactive data audits to discover data quality issues. Just 24% use specialist detection software, which is more common in U.S. companies. 

While email is the most popular marketing communication channel for 2015, 78% of organizations have experienced email deliverability problems in the last year, up 28% from a year ago. Some 36% email is the most important communication tool, but 35% are unable to communicate with subscribers, 33% have poor customer service, and 33% see a loss in revenue. 

The study shows a lack of data quality and a tie with the need for better management. They need to have the ability to track errors before they cause significant impact to the business.

2 comments about "Inaccurate Data Flooding An Industry Still Looking For Answers Through Attribution".
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  1. Kevin Lee from Didit, January 29, 2015 at 5:54 p.m.

    Bad data is WORSE than no data. Proper experimental design is key when testing hypothesis. No silver bullet, especially now that touchpoints are occurring across device, across channel.... Not to mention the elusive "influencer"

  2. Bill Kaplan from FreshAddress, Inc., January 30, 2015 at 3:33 p.m.

    Given that "email is the most popular marketing communication channel in 2015," "78% of companies experiencing email deliverability problems in the last year" results in tens to hundreds of millions in lost revenues.

    This figure is inexcusable as inexpensive, yet sophisticated email hygiene, correction, and validation services exist that prevent problematic addresses from getting into one's database while ensuring that customer databases going forward are fresh and accurate.

    Any company interested in leveraging its customer base to the fullest can spend less than a penny per email address to ensure its email addresses are free of toxic and invalid data, thereby making its email communications safe to send.

    See http://www.freshaddress.com/services/email-validation/ for further details on how 25% of the Fortune 100 companies and thousands of other marketers leverage their email marketing programs to drive the maximum revenues possible.

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