The 3 Most Important Words In Digital Marketing

Editor's Note: This op-ed was originally published Aug. 22, 2017, but the author asked if we could redistribute it in light of the continuing focus on the language -- and semantics -- of digital media and marketing. Explains Mike Donahue: “As the digital world moves away from third-party data to first-party data, it will be easier for all parties, intending to use data for the benefit of those internet users who provide that data, to regain the trust of those users who have learned that the third-party data about them, that was federated through the digital media supply chain, was often misused to their disadvantage.”

What are the three most important words in digital marketing?

1. a four-letter word
2. a six-letter word
3. a five-letter word

Data is the four-letter word

Nobody would argue that first-party and third-party data are the foundational elements of the digital-media supply chain.
Not far behind is the move toward data lakes, where the input is first-party data from noncompetitive companies, aka second-party data.

Intent is the six-letter word.

Ideally, all parties in the digital-media supply chain intend to deliver positive outcomes at the fairest, totally transparent price. First, for the marketers that directly or indirectly pay for all links in the chain.

Second, for the agencies tasked with creating responsive ads and placing them in the most effective, efficient, brand-safe, fraud-free environments to drive optimal brand outcomes.

Right now, many people question whether the ideal intent, described above, is universally operative in the "chain." The most visible skeptic is P&G's Marc Pritchard, who first articulated his skepticism at IAB's big annual event on January 29. His call to action to improve intent: Cut the "crap" out of the "chain."

Trust is the five letter word. And the most important word.

Until full transparency happens on the following 12 "must haves," there will continue to be mistrust:

1. Know where all ads run.
2. Send no money to any site until there is verification that humans
visit that site.
3. Pay only for publicly identified domains.
4. Make all chain fees transparent.
5. Eliminate chain redundancies.
6. Prohibit duplicate impressions bidding.
7. Require access to both buy and sell side log servers.
8. Mandate no audience extension.
9. Control all first party data use.
10. Target contextually by design not by default.
11. Optimize to speed.
12. Require that all chain links deliver value, not just cost.

These 12 prescriptives are common sense.

That said, until they become common practice in the "chain," there misrust will remain.

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