Opinion: Opening The Gateways To Data Transaction

Australian marketers are increasingly focused on data but are they caring enough about making sure the tech platforms are doing their data justice, asks Krish Raja.

Data and technology is now firmly at the heart of the modern marketer’s advertising strategy but here’s a question: how much time have you spent thinking about how your systems integrate with all your various partners?

It’s an important question because if the marketer, their agency and their media partner focus only on their own world and not on integrating with each other, all the hours, effort and significant investment in on-boarding ad technology, building databases, hiring people to manage and extract the right data and then make decisions based on it could be for nought.

Marketers are currently doing all the hard work, and through systems integration issues they are having up to 65 per cent of their audience data disappear into thin air, not even reaching their destination (the inventory).

Sixty-five per cent is the potential rate of discrepancy between a marketer’s data platform and most programmatic buying platforms being able to recognise the same audience.

A couple of years ago, selling digital audiences used to be a lot easier.

In the early days of audience targeting, it was Microsoft and maybe a handful of other media or tech owners that had access to data. The advertiser generally bought it through the publisher’s system, ran it and delivered media against it. 

At that time, as a publisher I could sell audiences to you solely on the basis of a good personal relationship because everything ran out of my system.

It was all pretty simple, but today it’s different. It’s no longer just publishers and tech providers who have data to sell or use. The accelerating and well documented “Internet of Things” is now unstoppable, and it brings into play not just more data but more data types, collected from different parts of your life, in both the online or even offline world.

Having control over the creation of your audience is the answer to being able to stitch together the planning and strategy marketers have been doing for years to the output – your media buys and measurement.

The measurement of an audience that you actually understand is key to proving that you should maintain digital spend at a time when the effectiveness of digital media is being questioned.

The point of connecting and transacting datasets is to deliver better ROI to advertisers and paint an accurate picture of your customers. But because more parts of the digital ecosystems are now trying to humanise data – be it media owner, advertiser or agency – marketers are increasingly looking to partners to help them connect the dots, and not work in silos.

For example: many marketers will probably have different types of offline data set up in different parts of their businesses that need to be married to a digital world. That is very difficult to achieve in silos.

From a media buying point of view, the hot topic in the programmatic industry is how efficiently different buying platforms and selling platforms speak to one another – remembering that if it’s not done correctly, you cannot buy media agnostically across different sources. The same principle can equally be applied to integrating data management platforms (DMPs).

To achieve a utopia of data transaction, systems integration is already and will only become more crucial to marketers over the coming years.

We cannot achieve this by working in silos with walled gardens. If two systems work well together, it sets the foundation for you and I to do better business together and transact around it.

In the coming years, every business will create data at light speed (as they have been doing for years) but importantly, the big change is that they will now begin to store, process and activate it at scale.

Up until now most large businesses have on-boarded a DMP and made good progress down this path to controlling their own data destinies – and over the next five years this trend should become prolific across the longer tail of businesses.

Over the next five years most advertisers and agencies will have to employ someone called a database or DMP specialist with the keys to this particular castle.

What are the implications of this shift in transaction? Going forward, media transactions now have another criterion: my system has to have a relationship with your system. This is in addition to the personal relationship we share.

The latest wave of data products (in our case Audience Sync and Audience Match) fundamentally shift the dial from data being used to sell audiences to connecting datasets in order to address wide scale business objectives such as churn, customer loyalty and cross-sell – challenges which plague most of the largest businesses in Australia. 

Similarly, two weeks ago Nine on-boarded the Adobe Audience Manager DMP because we wanted to be ready for this growing wave of marketers who want to control their destiny when it comes to data. 

Having the right data infrastructure becomes important because it allows us as a digital broadcaster and publisher to build accurate, bespoke audience segments with marketers at huge scale, and have the ability to leverage common technology infrastructure to partner with marketers that are on-platform in a secure and controlled way. This is the key to building business partnerships that are longer term, more flexible and of higher value. 

If we as an industry get this right, these are transactions that will improve the quality of our industry’s output, make our internet experiences wholly better, and as a result send the ROI for a marketer through the roof.

The key is to open the gateways to transaction and that’s why systems integration matters. When your system has a relationship with my system, it lays a foundation for you and I to do business together in a way that truly pushes the boundaries of our industry.

Krish Raja is Head of Data & Programmatic Product Sales at Nine