Commentary

How Marketers Will Benefit From Data Transparency Label

I got my feet wet in the advertising industry 30 years ago working for a national telecom provider. Our data strategy was very straightforward: We’d meet with data brokers twice a year to purchase audience segments that would help us reach and engage consumers.

Today, these biannual meetings are relics of a bygone era. Thanks to the explosion of data from digital sources, marketers have much more to work with than information from surveys, phone books and public records. Procuring data no longer requires a meeting, just a few clicks.

Yet while the process of purchasing data has become turnkey, the packaging of data is rife with complexity. Data quality and integrity matters more than ever in an era of seemingly daily reports about unethical and questionable data use. Marketers, driven by a desire to be responsible practitioners and to better understand the ingredients they use to cook up campaigns, are leading the charge for data transparency.

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Introducing the Data Transparency Label

Their call has been answered with the Data Transparency Label, a cross-industry initiative to bring transparency standards to the data marketplace. At a time when simplicity is needed, this label delivers, wrapped in the familiar look and feel of the FDA’s Nutrition Facts.

Led by a coalition of industry groups, including the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Tech Lab and the Association of National Advertisers’ Council for Data Integrity, the Data Transparency Label is in a strong position to become an industry standard between buyers and sellers. The initiative is being rolled out in a phased approach and will become more sophisticated and automated over time.

In its first iteration, the label establishes common terminology and provides key information about the data solution provider and distributor as well as the audience segment, construction, and source. During the next six months, brands, agencies, and publishers can provide feedback and test-drive audience segments featuring the label at DataLabel.org or within participating digital data management platforms and demand-side platforms.

Making Smarter, Safer Decisions with Data

Beyond encouraging more responsible data use, the label brings unprecedented clarity and insights into audience segments. Adding this new layer of information will not only allow marketers to know whether what’s inside these segments is up to snuff, but also help them make smarter decisions about data -- and better understand the ROI of these purchases.

The Data Transparency Label represents a landmark industry effort to come together to address an important issue and reinforce our commitment to effective self-regulation. We encourage brands to participate. Your feedback will be critical to ensuring this initiative realizes its full potential in ushering in a new era of data transparency.

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