Marketers are ready for new metrics. And as we close out 2018, data scientists, developers and analysts may grant their wish in the new year.
First-party data. Third-party data. Privacy issues. Programmatic ad buying and serving. Advertisers have jumped through hoops this year trying to keep up with all the changes, challenges and regulations rolling out worldwide, such as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations.
As we say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019, I spent some time speaking with Jason Downie, chief strategy officer at Lotame, to talk about what marketers can expect next year. He built what some call the world’s largest data exchange for advertisers because it supports billions of cookies and device IDs.
When Downie began at Lotame in 2010, the company ran an ad network selling about nine audience segments in three channels with about 50,000 cookies. The target was sports audiences.
Now, Lotame supports about 5,000 audience segments made from billions of worldwide device IDs and cookies for more than 30 channels. The company built 6 billion profiles worldwide and processes so much data that they use artificial intelligence and machine learning to maintain quality and accuracy in the exchange. Here are excerpts from our conversation.
Data & Programmatic Insider: Where did the concept of building a data exchange originate?
Jason Downie: We started to educate publishers that data could be sold separately in addition to their ad inventory. We had connection with small publishers at the time. In 2011, we christened the Lotame data exchange LDS and had about 50 million 20-day cookies. So we began calling publishers, offering them another revenue that doesn’t cannibalize media sales because it will be anonymous in the exchange.
We gave the nine audiences sexy names like fashionista, couch potatoes, and jet-setting travelers. In 2014 we began adding international data … and then mobile data followed.
D&PI: What do you see as the biggest challenge through those years?
Downie: The challenge has been educating publishers (sellers) and advertisers (buyers) on the benefits of data. It was tough, but rewarding. Now in 2018, everyone knows about data and they see the value but they’re looking for ways to find quality nuggets and different data stories in the massive amounts of data out there.
D&PI: What were some of the industry’s accomplishments and hurdles for 2018?
Downie: The hurdles were that there’s so much data and advertisers need to figure out the best and highest quality so marketers can tell their stories and maximize the efficiencies of their budgets. It’s up to data companies and publishers to help them. In 2018, we had the Facebook issue, GDPR took effect in May, and now we have the California privacy law. There are a lot of changes occurring and we need to make sure that consumers give their consent. Then there’s the big story around quality and labeling the data so marketers know where it came from.
D&PI: What are your predictions for 2019?
Downie: Marketers will continue to get more demanding and educated about their data needs. There will be more consolidation around data supply and continuation of privacy in relation to first- and their-party data. There will be more breakthroughs in terms of how data is used, mobile vs. cookie and in different channels like video and display. There will be changes in measurement and attribution for offline and online.
D&PI: What will marketers learn in 2019?
Downie: Quality is such a vague word. That story isn’t dead. There’s a lot more to do in defining quality and exploiting the data to accomplish their goal.
D&PI: Do you see new metrics?
Downie: There’s been different measurement tools for demographic data in the market for several years, but there have been movements to get more accurate metrics around household income, in the presence of children and car ownership. This data doesn’t have direct benchmarks. There are many survey companies that can provide validation for different data segments based on survey responses and data science.
There will be a continued push, maybe at the back half of the year, to better understand the accuracy and ethnicity of non-demographic segments to hold data providers accountable for the quality and accuracy of that data.