Undoubtedly one of the most overused slogans in marketing’s and advertising’s history is John Wanamaker’s iconic “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”.
And it’s a credit to the quip’s longevity that last year the line celebrated a real milestone – its 100th birthday.
But in these data rich times, does the fabled “which 50?” line still ring true?
Wasif argues in this era of the datafication of advertising, Wanamaker would have all the technology and sophisticated tracking and monitoring methods he would need to measure the ROI or ROAS accurately and precisely on every single cent he spent on his marketing budget.
“That’s what we mean by the datafication of advertising,” Wasif tells B&T.
“It can simply be defined as the ability to track and monitor key metrics through the use of technology that are important to demonstrating and defining the success – or failure – of all marketing efforts be they offline or online.
“It also means that you can use these same technological means to improve and optimise your advertising efforts in real-time and in future campaigns,” he says.
For example, the tech giants have been using datafication to successfully target us all with ads for some time now. Which isn’t really surprising given the fact we provide them with so much information and touchpoints every time you use the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Wasif adds: “This has helped marketers improve the quality of their targeting selections and improve the quality of marketing efforts.”
Yet, one problem that just won’t go away for datafication is around user privacy. A classic example of that was in early April when a Facebook hack exposed 550 million users’ information, including seven million in Australia.
Wasif believes that the industry will never truly get on top of privacy issues while government legislation continues to significantly lag the speed of the new technologies.
The arrival of things such as the EU’s GDPR and the removal of third-party cookies will impact the datafication of advertising until the software companies invent ways to circumnavigate it, Wasif says.
“A big hurdle is having all the big players – ad networks, ad servers and exchanges, social networks, data suppliers, etc – working together to form a standardised solution,” Wasif adds. “If not, then the end result will be having differing solutions adapt and try to communicate with one another to provide end users with a compromising solution that won’t be good for the industry.”
But ultimately big data “will become hugely important to organisations” over the coming decade, he adds.
Brands will be able to “harness the power of these large data sets to inform their business and advertising decisions.
“Along with big data, I believe that personalisation will be a main driver of advertising success as companies will develop capabilities using first party data to cater to their customer base. It is already happening as we can see brands build loyalty programs and paying a monthly premium to get exclusive features,” he adds.
Wasif’s tips to help improve your first party data strategies include:
- Understand the solutions available in the market and prepare for the inevitable loss of some data by investing in alternatives. Work with your providers and networks to form a viable solution that fits your business needs.
- Develop a data strategy and maximise the use of your web analytics (decide what data is important and essential to your business, actions taken on your website, apps)
- Get your data sources and collecting that data in order (CRM, lead forms, social channels, emails, customer feedback, instore purchases, loyalty programs)
- Look into investing into a CDP that will help unify your customer and first party data as well as help you activate the data you have collected via your marketing efforts
- Link your offline and online data
- Finally, use all your first party data sources to segment your audiences
Not that data should be the be-all and end-all of your marketing smarts.
As Wasif explains, brands that place too much importance on data are at risk of losing that “gut” feeling that gives most marketing its creativeness and originality.
“At Tug we have been communicating with clients since early last year to prepare them for the eventual changes in tracking and tagging solutions to overcome the loss of some data due to these industry wide changes,” Wasif says.
“To that extent, we are working closely with our clients to build their first party data, get their analytics and data collection points in order as well develop their audience segmentations. While some of the solutions we are trialling is still in their infancy we are making headways in being prepared for the cookieless future,” he concludes.
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