New Research Sheds Light on Advertisers’ Misplaced Trust in Data

Measurement is the answer

If you’re anything like other digital advertisers, a healthy portion of your working media dollar is likely going towards data. The IAB estimated that a whopping $19 billion was spent on third-party data in the U.S. alone last year.

Advertisers continue to place huge amounts of trust on this outside data despite the rise of internet tracking prevention, consumer privacy concerns and the continued consolidation of ad spend platforms.

But do they really believe that the audience data they’re buying is accurate? To answer this question, Lucid commissioned a survey of agencies and brands involved in data decision making.

The goal? Figure out just how confident advertisers are in the data they buy and how they measure its quality.

The hype is overstated

Despite how much we hear advertisers brag about their vast wealth of proprietary data, the study found that just a third of targeted media is fueled by first-party data. The majority of digital audience spend continues to be based on contextual, second-party and third-party datasets, according to the survey.

Average Percent of Digital Advertising That Used Data Type for Targeting

Source: Advertiser Perceptions survey of 150 Digital Advertising Decision Makers, February/March 2019

In addition, it found that nearly all (97%) of respondents are at least fairly confident their media reaches the intended target, yet only 23% consistently measure audience performance.

This dichotomy is puzzling. How can advertisers be so confident they are reaching the right people if they don’t measure audience quality?

An allegory Plato told in 381 B.C. offers an explanation through the eyes of prisoners born in a cave. It goes that the only perception of reality the prisoners had was from the shadows of objects cast against the wall in front of them. One prisoner finally escapes and returns to the cave to inform the others about their false reality—but to the prisoners, truth seemed like an unnecessary burden.

For advertisers to take control of their data, they need to know if their perception of reality is correct or merely based on shadows.

 Bring the data into the light

A scalable and reliable approach to validation is simple—just bring in humans.

Lucid Data Score provides a scalable approach to audience validation by harnessing declared data from millions of consumers globally. Having our human-in-the-loop enables advertisers to validate any category of audience, be it demographics, lifestyle, behavior or even intent.

Through Lucid’s integrations with a host of data platforms, advertisers can validate their data before it gets activated in media. This provides an independent measure for benchmarking partners and tactics. The platform also offers the ability to perform in-campaign measurement, which allows advertisers to evaluate the value of their data alongside contextual strategies.

As we enter the next evolution of addressable marketing, our reliance on audience data will only increase. To boost transparency and help the entire ecosystem, independent measurement is a must-have tool.

 Lindsay Fordham is the senior director of Audience Products at Lucid. Specializing in digital measurement, she has held product leadership roles at Rocket Fuel, Nielsen and the Sandbox Group.