Lotame now runs one of the world’s largest data exchanges, with 65 data providers and more than 4 billion cookies and mobile device IDs.
Similar to Google, the company's direction seems to influence the entire industry.
So the company has been working to define data quality. It developed four ways to test the quality of PC cookie- and mobile-based data.
Labeling, provenance, accuracy, and efficacy are the four components that define quality data, according to Jason Downie, Lotame senior vice president and general manager of data solutions, who also sits on the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Data Center For Excellence.
Labeling the data would require knowing, for example, where it came from. Did the person visit multiple sports webpages, attend a sporting event or go into a store like Dick’s Sporting Goods to purchase hockey equipment or fishing gear?
Provenance requires the ability to know how the data was collected, and how it will be used. Did the data come from a cookie or from a form someone filled out in the shoe department at Nordstrom? It analyzes the chain of custody for the data -- the path it took.
Accuracy would ensure an accurate description. If the data says car owners are female, are they actually female? This is an issue Lotame has been tackling, Downie said.
Efficacy verifies whether the data works. Does it do what it was intended to do? “A marketer might say, ‘Yeah, the data is accurate, we know where it came from, labeled correctly, but it didn’t work,’” he said. “We tried to target people who wanted macaroni and cheese, but sales didn’t go up, for whatever reason.”
In the beginning the goal for Lotame was to collect as much data as possible to enable advertisers to reach their target audience. The company added international data in 2013 to 2014. Mobile device data came in 2014 and 2015.
In the past couple of years, the industry has struggled to define quality. “Everyone’s talking about it, but there hasn’t been a lot of work to define it,” Downie said, adding that the company has spent time defining it for the company, its clients, and the industry.