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Avoiding The Perils Of Bad Data

Photo by Oliver Shou on Unsplash


Why is bad data really bad?

As mobile ad spend in the US is projected to grow to $42 billion in 2018 – faster than any other digital advertising channel, advertisers have been quick to allocate their budgets to catch the eyes of mobile-first users. In the age of data, marketers have the ability to access and understand every step along the consumer journey. The data they use is coupled with demographic and behavioral information, giving them the opportunity to create more intimate and meaningful relationships with the consumer. But what quickly complicates this relationship and becomes a menace for marketers, is inaccurate data. Bad data not only wastes the effort of everyone involved but also comes at great costs in consuming resources, budgets and leading to misinformed decisions. A recent IBM study estimated that poor data quality is costing $3.1 Trillion of the US GDP. Given that every data point should improve a campaign, misdirection of imprecise consumer data can be more of a hindrance than a helper in bringing businesses closer to their intended mobile users.


What are the perils for marketers?

Marketers relying on inaccurate or incomplete information to guide their targeting miss out on the total revenue opportunity. Accuracy blunders lead to missed opportunities, audience delivery issues and marketers ineffectively anticipating future behaviors. The problem compounds with sales and marketing teams chasing the wrong customers, allocating money for misleading forecasts or data scientist spending most of their time cleansing data. According to Forrester Research “Pursuing the Mobile Moment” from earlier this year, the key challenges for digital marketers working with location data were inaccurate location data, lack of clarity on 3rd party vendors and difficulty combining location with other consumer data. A drain on budgetary resources, these missteps can even worse be a boon for competitors.


Don’t miss consumer moments, but avoid micro-targeting

Growing amount of evidence suggests that consumers are becoming more receptive to personalized marketing. Still, marketers should be thoughtful to stay alert of the pitfalls in micro-targeting, getting too intimate with a consumer or invading personal privacy by using identifiable information. Study results show that there is a strong positive effect on a consumer’s intent to purchase a product after viewing a specifically tailored and targeted message, while ads perceived as invading personal privacy can even decrease purchase intent (1). Instead, marketers should create campaigns based on verified, aggregated psychographic and demographic group profiles such as car enthusiasts, cinema lovers or business travelers, so as to avoid using information that can be directly traced back to individual users.


How to tackle inaccurate data?

There are several ways marketers can try and avoid the perils of relying on inaccurate data. First and foremost, they should request from a partner to provide transparency over the data sources, collection, and validation process. Marketers should also opt-in for platforms which can prove that data has been validated and benchmarked against industry standards to tackle audience delivery problems. Requesting accuracy and performance standards from a data brokerage can help to guarantee that the data used will significantly improve campaign performance. Knowing data sources and having control over consistency and accuracy of data is particularly important for advertisers trying to employ context-specific marketing successfully.  




(1) Online creep: Targeted ads may have opposite effect of marketers’ intent
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About Luise Weiss

Luise is Vice President Revenue at Adsquare. She is a seasoned digital media executive with a track record of transformational management skills. Luise has demonstrated the ability to create meaningful relationships and generate revenue, developing and presenting data-enabled solutions for partners across channels.

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