By the close of 2019, we had heard everyone from politicians to widely read news sources to the mom-and-pop shops down the street discussing data. As we embark on 2020, it is safe to say the value and understanding of data is mainstream.
Last year also found marketers laser-focused on creating an excellent (i.e. more personalized) consumer experience. Doing that required digital marketers to know their audiences well―their likes, dislikes, characteristics, interests, behaviors, locations, etc. That’s where data played a starring role. While access to high-quality data allowed some marketers to truly personalize the experience, it also alluded so many.
We’ve talked previously about seeing far too many agencies and brands left in the dark, wondering where their ad spend went and how their customized consumer data had been compiled. Momentum has been building for alternatives to black-box solutions that lack the much-needed visibility into audience data that marketers need to analyze performance. The marketplace has been evolving toward transformation in audience management, and we expect that change to take shape throughout this new decade.
For 2020, we are seeing specific trends that point to a sea change in how agencies, brands and publishers find, parse and apply data in their digital marketing campaigns:
- Data Transparency: Companies will demand more understanding of their data metrics, especially when it comes to quality. Poor-quality data within programmatic has become an already too-expensive problem that drains monetary resources and limits campaign performance. Marketers estimate that 21 cents of every media dollar spent by their organization in the last year was wasted due to poor data quality, which translates to a $1.2 million and $16.5 million average annual loss for mid-size and enterprise organizations, respectively. We expect to see “data integrity” go from a buzzword to a meaningful way that organizations evaluate the information they choose to find, reach and engage with their audiences in more relevant and personal ways. This demand from marketers and advertisers will weed out companies that talk about transparency from those that invest and impart clear processes within their solutions.
- Privacy Sensitivity: Organizations have been getting a heavy dose of insight into the consumer implications of mishandling their personal data, from trends presented by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) as well as any future legislation. In fact, a majority of marketers believe that data security, privacy and accountability are the most critical consumer demands. And, they have good reason as 87 percent of consumers admit they will take their business elsewhere if they don’t trust that a company is handling their data responsibly. This growing consumer mentality will increasingly force more and more companies to adopt privacy-first data strategies. This is one reason we see IP address activation as a digital marketing must-have for the coming year.
- Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) – Companies want the same kind of on-demand experience in relation to their data as we as consumers expect from our Instacart shopping experience. Many organizations continue to struggle to mine for, make sense of, and then effectively apply the data they have (or receive from other sources). We expect to see more companies turn to DaaS models in order to access trustworthy data sources that can be highly customized, delivered directly into their digital marketing platforms, or used with programmatic activation partners of their choice. However, it will require a shift in mindset. Maybe we’ve finally reached a point where pricing should be reflective of quality and service versus volume alone.
- Data Scalability – Organizations will expect―and demand―to have the ability to use data across multiple platforms and devices to reach their intended audiences. There are approximately eight connected network devices per person in the United States today, and that number is expected to climb to 13.6 devices per person by 2022. Agencies, brands and publishers must have the ability to not only understand how consumers engage with their different devices but also how to leverage context: when to connect with audiences to deliver marketing messages that resonate―meaning at the right time, and on the right device. In order to do this from a privacy-sensitive approach and with great coverage without cookies or personally identifiable information (PII), companies must be quite choosy when it comes to their data providers.
We certainly expect to see more and more companies rethink and rework their digital data strategies in 2020 (and beyond) to engage with the next wave of connected devices, to comply with any new legislation on the horizon, and continue to strive to understand, reach and amplify their most valuable audiences―as they move between their physical and digital worlds.
What’s your digital data strategy for 2020?