Making data work

Making data work

A recent survey from Newspoll indicated that only four in 10 people would prefer to see online advertising that is tailored specifically related to their interests.

If you, like me, believe that data and its effective application in advertising is a powerful tool that helps drive better commercial outcomes for clients and subsequently businesses, then this survey should come as a real concern.

There is some irony that consumers feel this way, since targeted advertising provides a better experience for them when done correctly.

For publishers and advertisers, the survey tells us two things – we are still not delivering the best experience to our audiences and we are not communicating the benefits of tailored advertising. These failures are resulting inefficient campaigns and wastage

For me, the challenge to change this is significant and urgent.

IAB CEO Alice Manners has already indicated that as an industry body they will play a key role in education and awareness, but what is our collective responsibility, and how can we help shift this perception?

Our ambitions around the use of data are simple

  • To develop richer relationships with our users through an enhanced more intimate experience
  • To provide our partners the best possible advertising platform through targeted advertising (audience, time, message)              
  • To use data to drive the development of new products that build better user experiences giving our audience reason to use us more frequently, for longer.

To achieve this, we have to understand that to really engage and connect with consumers effectively goes beyond the noughts and ones of data.

As they say, only a fool doesn’t rely on data and only a fool relies solely on data.

For companies to truly understand the effectiveness of data, it is important to accompany it with real human insight.

Purchasing decisions are largely based on customer loyalty which is usually driven by a consumer’s emotions. To capture real human insight requires direct and intimate relationships with users.

We must constantly put our consumers at the forefront of our thinking. Become part of their communities, champion their causes, celebrate with them, recognise when they are feeling pain and feel this pain with them.

It is through this direct and tangible relationship, that we can start to understand the real human insight – how they are feeling, their fears and hopes their dreams and aspirations.

It is this very ‘human’ data that enables us to enrich their lives and in turn provide real depth in our data knowledge.

As we gain a greater depth of understanding for consumers, this insight should be matched with emotionally engaging ads. These ads challenge the consumer’s emotions consequently making them reconsider already formed perceptions about products.

Knowing how to correctly target consumers with data is just the first step; understanding the emotions that drive them takes it a step further but being able to create an ad that creates an emotional connection is what will truly engage your consumer.

It is only by offering consumers relevant, engaging ads that we will be able to convince them to accept tailored ads.

So my challenge to the industry is to accelerate the development of processes that combine data insight with human insight. Once you have this, work toward producing ads that are more than campaigns promoting a company’s ‘next best offer’, rather produce ads that are human – funny and quirky; sad and uplifting; creative and compelling – ads that complement the experience and add more value to the equation.

If the industry can get this right, expect to see ads that will shift the public’s opinion on the value of targeted advertising.

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