How Marketing Can Avoid Getting Its Signals Crossed

In a multichannel, multi-device world, there’s more consumer data to parse than ever before. Marketing signals -- the clicks, social engagements and other responses to your marketing activity, along with performance indicators -- make up a solid foundation.

However, data is most helpful when advertisers understand the context of the signal against the objectives they’re trying to fulfill. Cookies are no longer the axis on which digital advertising rotates. Recognizing, differentiating and deriving insights from a variety of other data signals is becoming increasingly important.

Beyond the cookie

As the third-party cookie crumbles and other identifiers like the device manufacturer’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) hang in the balance, companies are looking ahead.

Savvy companies are choosing to expand their view by diversifying the IDs they use to identify and market to individuals, rather than try to go all in on any one ID.



In addition to matching and resolving these identifiers into a persistent view, marketers and media companies can identify and append more relevant signals to improve segmentation and targeting.

Disparate signals, missed opportunities

Here’s a use case. Consider a  web user who is searching for auto insurance rates in her zip code. Without a robust profile of this person and an understanding of her activity across channels, you might not know she also has a homeowner’s policy and previous auto policies with the same lender.

Without that more complete understanding, you might simply message this user as a first-time insurance prospect, versus a potential brand loyalist.

Understanding the individual consumer vs. a household

Today, companies must not only recognize and link data points to an individual, but also to households, all while understanding the difference. 

The IP address becomes a good entry point to identify a household. But the IP only tells part of the story. It also requires a view into device IDs as well as an ability to bridge the digital world into the physical world of the address and Zip-11 delivery point.Without this additional context of the devices and individuals connected across a household, we are left making broad assumptions about identity - a risky bet. Peeling back the layers -- even down to the core details such as user agent strings -- can help solidify the picture.

More data, more focus

In a privacy-first and post-cookie world, we need to focus on diversifying our identity assets to more accurately recognize and build a more comprehensive view of consumers, so we can discern what is signal and what is noise.

We must do a better job of analyzing and acting on signals in the moments when they matter most, all the while using and suppressing data at the time it’s needed with the analytics that help us understand shifts in consumer behavior, preferences and more. These signals are rarely static, so our approach to data should reflect a much more always-on and iterative approach. Pnly then can we pick up on the right information to deliver a more personal, relevant message.


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