Programmatic Media Buying 101: Digital Marketing Data Sources, How to Apply Them?

The rise of digital advertising has given marketers fuel to reach their ultimate marketing goal: connect the actions of users into a meaningful whole. When marketers know a lot about their consumers, advertising is personally relevant and more effective. Personalization of brand experiences is a powerful way to drive conversion – and in digital advertising, personalization is driven by data.

Pre-digital direct marketers relied on research of public records of births, marriages, and property deeds. They bought mailing lists from catalog companies to reach out to potential customers. Audience segmentation and tracking purchase intent are not new strategies, but digital data collection has significantly increased their impact. And online consumers leave a digital data trail behind wherever they go.

The Digital Data Trail

Now that there is much more data available for marketers to use, behavioral targeting has become a much more popular tactic for media buying. Most digital advertising still relies on at least some information about individual attributes — like gender, geo-location, and age. But programmatic buyers and also have the ability to collect data related to online behaviors.

While a lot of privacy-conscious consumers delete cookies or use the “limit ad tracking” features on mobile devices, advertisers aren’t interested in personally sensitive information – like cheating on taxes or a romantic partner. They are more interested in behavioral data signals that indicates whether consumers are in the market for a car, house, or coffee maker.
Social media sites or other login-based services have access to personal identifiable information (PII), but tying it to other data points would drive away customers. The ongoing stream of “shares”, “tweets”, “likes” — or other “reactions” — is revealing enough info to be worth a lot to advertisers – even without names and emails addresses.

Online activity allows data providers to identify specific audience segments, These segments can be defined by variables like (1) geolocation, (2) device type, (3) marital status, (4) income level, (5) profession, (6) shopping habits, (7) travel plans and a variety of other factors. These valuable segments can be sold to the highest bidder wanting to reach segments as specific as men in trouble or burdened by debt: small-town singles.

There are many players in the data game – and some play multiple roles. 

  • Brands collect information about their customers, such as email addresses and purchase history, which is helpful when tailoring their experience through product recommendations or incentive offers. 
  • Publishers sell data about readers who visit their site, which is valuable to advertisers purchasing ad space on their site – but can also be used to track their site visitors in other places online.
  • Other data collectors who may sell data may not be thought of as “ad industry” types at all, such as:

1. Political campaign groups often rent out their lists to firms as a fundraising strategy

2. Credit-card companies issued directly or through banks sell anonymized data to advertising companies – in cases where cards are issued directly, customers can be cookie’d whenever they login then go elsewhere online.

3. Online auctions offer a huge amount of user info, again anonymized, but revealing.

4. Any company, site or service that requires a login can collect data. For example, social media sites garner huge amounts of data as users “like” “tweet” and “share” about their interests.

How Companies Collect & Use Data?

The data game players are defined by how they collect and use data – either as first-party or third-party.
First-party data is any information that’s collected by a company that has a direct relationship with the consumer. First party data tends to be considered as more valuable because it usually is more accurate and is free for the advertiser.

  • If we take the fictional example of Heart and Sole shoes, they would like collect data about customers’ style preferences and shoe size through the user’s’ purchase history.
  • If we look at a fictional online publisher, say Knitting News Weekly, they may associate an ID to anonymously track the articles that their visitors read and share
  • Another fictional example, like Gloria’s Games App might use an API to gather data themselves, for example, the most common geographic locations where the mobile app is used.

Some apps also use external SDKs — or a software development kits — from a technology provider that will track user data. In this scenario, the technology provider is a 3rd party data collector. And third party data is any data collected by platforms or services that do not have a direct relationship with the consumer. These service providers obtain data in many different ways, such as:

  • Paying a publisher to collect data about their visitors.
  • Or piecing together behavioral or interest profiles and audience segments to be sold to advertisers.

Let’s not forget the new comer to the data party – 2nd party data, which is essentially first-party data that you are getting directly from the source. Buyers and sellers can arrange a deal in which the first-source party offers specific data points, audiences, or hierarchies to the buyer. The sharing of high-quality, first-party data gives marketers access to many hard-to-find audiences they may not have been able to reach.
Whether first-party or third-party, data is often housed and managed for programmatic buyers by a Data Management Platform – or DMP. DMP’s give marketers — and sellers of data — a centralized way to:

  • Create target audiences, based on a combination of in-depth first-party and third-party audience data;
  • Accurately target these audiences across third-party ad networks and exchanges,
  • And measure performance with accuracy.

Summary

  • Marketing based on consumer data has always been around; digital has just made it more powerful.
  • Personally Identifiable data isn’t critical; marketers can get a lot of value from behavioral and interest-based data.
  • First party data is often considered most accurate and more valuable.
  • DMPs help marketers collect and manage and organize consumer data so that they can use the insights to activate a marketing or a programmatic media buying strategy.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: Why Media Buyers Should be Using Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social platform that enables users to collect ideas by “pinning” images, articles, or even recipes to themed boards.

Similar in size to Snapchat, Pinterest has over 150 million active users worldwide — about half of which are outside of the US — and users spend an average of a little over an hour and a half per month on the platform.

Like Snapchat, Pinterest’s audience is mostly women, with just over 70% of users being female. However, the age demographic for Pinterest skews higher than Instagram; nearly two-thirds of users are over 30. Pinterest gives brands the opportunity to be discovered by audiences that are actively seeking ideas. Pinterest users are eager to connect with brands. Approximately two-thirds of content pinned comes from brands and businesses. And users report being more likely to follow brands than individuals like celebrities or experts.

What makes Pinterest interesting for media buyers?

What really makes Pinterest stand out is the way that users interact with content. Pins don’t ever go away, so marketers can make the most of quality content for their programmatic advertising campaigns. On other channels, feeds drive content placed in front of the user, making recency key. On Pinterest, users are exposed to content via discovery and search, ideal for contextual tactics in a media buying plan.

And Pinterest drives purchasing!

  •    87% of Pinners purchase a product because of Pinterest and
  •    93% of Pinners are pinning to plan a future purchase

Pinterest also drives web traffic – up to 5% of all website traffic is coming from Pinterest, that’s second only to Facebook, which drives up to 25% of website traffic. But Pinterest is surprisingly leading in one category over Facebook: Pinners average order value from referral traffic is around $59, compared to $55 from Facebook.

Pinterest is a clear cut marketing tool and source of inventory for programmatic advertisers.  For a business like the fictional Heart and Sole Shoes that are looking to promote very visually appealing physical products it is more obvious, but for B2B brands like Dave’s Data Storage it might be a less obvious advertising option since their products are more conceptual and therefore demanding more thought and creativity from the marketer.

Marketing best practices for Pinterest 

Marketers can make it a best practice to include some visual element in any blog they’d like to share, or create infographics packed with valuable information worth sharing. Data charts are equally visual and eye catching – users know that there is info to be discovered. Some service-orientated businesses do well with showing pictures of their happy customers– imagine how interesting and fun Penny’s Pet Grooming Pins could be showing well-groomed pets reuniting with their happyowners?

Pinterest offers plenty of opportunities, if marketers can rise to the challenge of creating visually engaging and high quality content that can match the staying power of Pins.

Summary

  • Pinterest stands out among other social media platforms with permanent Pins driven by user discovery and search.       
  • Pinners are purchasers – and they spend an average of almost $60, higher than Facebook’s $55 average.
  • Businesses and brands can use their Pinterest page to engage and build relationships by Pinning their own and others’ content – or even inviting guest Pins from brand fans.
  • Businesses and brands need to create visually compelling, high quality content to get the most from permanent, long-term Pins.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: Combining SEM and SEO Strategies with Programmatic Marketing

Search engines meet an age old need for people who want to seek and find. Rather than look up businesses in a phone directory or go to the library, people use search engines — for research, shopping, and even just for entertainment.

Google alone processes 40,000 searches per second, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. With additional search engines and searches that are a part of platforms like Facebook and YouTube, people are seeking and finding information and products more than ever before.

What is SEM and Why is it Beneficial?

Search engine marketing — or SEM —  is a key part of marketing plans, estimated to have made up over 30% of digital marketing budgets in 2016.

Usually when marketers use the term SEM they are referring to Paid Search. Paid Search allows marketers to align brands and their products with relevant keywords through the purchase of impressions served for that keyword search. Typically, advertisers pay either on a CPM — or cost per thousand impressions — or a CPC or PPC — or cost per click or pay per click — model just as they would for a programmatic buy.

Companies looking to increase traffic and purchases on their websites will add SEM campaigns as part of their marketing strategy, so that their ads appear on searches indicating keywords related to their product. Typically, advertisers choose between 5-15 closely related keywords for one campaign or set of ads

While the chosen keywords would also appear on the search results page — or SERP — organically, without a keyword campaign, there is no guarantee that they’d appear on the first SERP or even the second or third.  Which is why most marketers pair their programmatic campaigns with search to get optimal results.

Why do Links Appear in a Certain Order or Rank on SERPs?

Additionally, SEO, or search engine optimization comes into play. SEO is a key marketing strategy on marketing plans, it’s the strategy that is used to increase the likelihood that a website or page link to increase its ranking on SERPs. As of 2016, it comes in at nearly 20% of digital ad spend.

But search engines don’t rank pages solely on keyword use and content analysis alone. Other factors include: user data, links, domain authority or credibility, social media signals, brand signals and associations, freshness, diversity, loading speed, and geography.

Transforming SEM with Programmatic Buying

SEM can be even more effective when paired with the basic types of targeting — geo location, time of day/day of week, device type, and other behavioral targeting. Search Engine Marketing and Programmatic are both effective advertising buying strategies, but they are not the same. Each method reaches the consumer at a different level of purchase intent, and advertisers need to consider both when planning their budgets. It is the combination of both that will provide the full funnel strategy a brand needs to thrive.

Search Remarketing has become a valuable programmatic tactic to increase customer acquisition. Search remarketing allows advertisers to target the competition’s keywords without actually buying those keywords. It’s different from display remarketing, where site visitors see ads for the site they visited when they go elsewhere online – and they may not be looking for anything remotely related to the advertiser.

  • With search remarketing, advertisers can target users who use specific keywords on search engines.
  • The first thing an advertiser does is build a list of keywords as they would for a regular SEM campaign.
  • Segment target audiences by keyword categories, then optimize based on performance.

To compliment SEM and Search Remarketing strategies Digilant has developed Search Engine +, a contextual targeting solution that uses an advertiser’s paid keywords to build a whitelist of URLs composed of Google’s top organic search results.

Benefits Include:

  • The ability to compliment current SEO and SEM initiatives
  • Target pages that users are already engaged with
  • Use strategically valuable search terms to advertise on sites users are likely to visit after searching

Digilant’s Search Engine + enhances the performance of programmatic campaigns by unlocking quality URL’s that rank highest in Google search and uncovering relevant ad placements that competitors are not reaching.

Summary

SEM is a highly effective way for advertisers to be found by interested users and is an important part of any marketing or programmatic buying plan.

  • 2016 digital ad spend for SEM and SEO is around 30% and 18%, respectively.
  • Paid Search puts advertisers in front of users at the exact moment they’re looking for them.
  • SEO can boost rankings on SERPs.
  • SEM and Programmatic both have a place on marketing plans and accomplish different objectives.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: YouTube Advertising Best Practices

Video has a lot to offer digital marketers and consumers. In 2017, video will account for almost 70% of all internet traffic. With additional advances in connectivity and mobile technology, streaming big video files is no longer prohibitive, enabling users to share a wide array of content.

Buying YouTube Advertising

As a medium for marketing, video requires more time and effort to produce than a Instagram Post, Tweet or Facebook Status Update, but the overall payoff can match or go much beyond the investment. Once efforts to produce content are made, marketers attempt to gain the most from their creative content by leveraging social media to make sure it gains visibility and recognition so they can earn return on their investment (ROI).

Of the top seven social media platforms, YouTube ranks as the 4th highest in usage by consumers, and of those seven, it’s the only platform specializing in video.

Topping the list of online video platforms, YouTube has made it easier for marketers in many ways by offering:

  • An easy to use format for posting and sharing videos on any social media channel
  • A wide reach and plenty of traffic: 1 billion users, who spend millions of hours watching videos daily
  • Global reach in over 70 countries and 76 languages
  • The ability to go anywhere the user goes – over 50% of video play comes from mobile audiences
  • A truly social video channel with options to share, like, comment and subscribe which helps to drive interest-based traffic
  • Search features makes videos the answers to consumers’ questions

And that’s all just a part of setting up a YouTube channel.

Brand Advertising Campaigns

When it comes to using the YouTube platform as a mechanism for brand promotion advertising campaigns, there are two ways to go about paid advertising:

  1. In-display ads: appear in YouTube search results, as related videos, or on websites that belong to the Google Display Network.
    • These display as the results of a search or appear on the right hand side of a video being viewed as related content.
  2. In-stream ads: appear as pre-roll before a video plays.
    • Pre-roll ads may have a “skip ad” or a “Your video will play in 10 seconds” notification to let viewers know the ad’s duration.

Advertising Targeting on YouTube

To target audiences for these ads, advertisers use a variety of targeting options that are also found within programmatic campaigns such as keywords, location, time of day, network, language and device type. While video offers marketers the opportunity to engage and provide value through things like demos, testimonials, and “how to” content – it’s not as easy to produce as a tweet, blog or white paper.
When setting up these campaigns in a programmatic self-service platform, advertisers set their maximum bid price even with no guarantee that the video will be viewed in its entirety.

Best Practices for Video Advertising 

Marketers need to keep in mind that with video, quality matters. Not only do the audio and visual components need to be high quality, but the content should follow as well. If these factors fall short, and your video isn’t useful or engaging, it’s not valuable.

For both advertising and brand channel pages, YouTube provides reporting analytics that help to quickly assess and optimize the posted video and it’s targeting on your programmatic platform. These video metrics give marketers a lot of insight into how much of the video is being viewed or engaged with. This information can be used as a way of gauging intent signals, for example, a video that’s been completed can indicate a qualified marketing lead and is also a re-marketing opportunity.

Best Practices Summary

  • Video is on the rise, and YouTube tops the list of online video platforms.
  • YouTube also ranks among top social platforms and provides real social features such as share, like, comment and subscribe.
  • Marketers can get a big return on investment by creating quality video that engages and provides value for users.
  • Video gives marketers insight into intent signals and the opportunity to drive qualified traffic from YouTube to sign up or purchase pages.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: How Marketers are using Snapchat Advertising?

Snapchat is a mobile-only image — and video —  sharing platform that might be less familiar to most marketers — and users — than Facebook or Twitter. But it would be a mistake to overlook it as a programmatic media buying platform and miss out on the opportunity of a quickly growing user base.
snapchat filters

Snapchat has reported to have 200 million active users worldwide. Users are spending an average of 30 minutes a day on snapchat. Snapchat started as a way to privately message “snaps” that disappeared after a user-specified period of time. With users sharing an average of 9,000 snaps per second and viewing an average of 10 billion videos per day, rivaling the video viewing numbers of Facebook, Snapchat has become a very interesting inventory source for programmatic media buyers.

Not only is Snapchat growing, but it also boasts an audience that’s almost 50% receptive — or at least neutral — to ads. And Snapchat is expected to continue to grow a larger user base in the U.S. than either Twitter or Pinterest.

Ad Inventory Source for Teen Demographic

Snapchat is giving marketers access to a young audience – 60% of its users are under the age of 25. Snapchat is the most popular social media site focused on teens and young adults in the US. And with only about 2% of its users falling into the baby boomer category, Snapchat has a very clear cut age demographic for media buyers and marketers.
snapchat screensWhile marketers may see Snapchat as a direct line into teens, they’ll need to keep an eye on the potentially quick shift in demographics for longer term planning. Teens express that they use Snapchat precisely because their parents do not – once parents become Snapchatters, teen usage could drop.

When it comes to gender demographics, Snapchat holds its cards close to it’s chest. However, several studies confirm the assumption that nearly three quarters of users are likely female.

In terms of location, usage for Snapchat varies, but surprisingly Ireland currently has the highest usage rate, followed by Saudi Arabia and Sweden, with India, the US, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Belgium, the UK and France completing the top ten.

How Brands are using Snapchat?

Brands are having a lot of success engaging a youthful audience with Snapchat’s filters that can playfully place objects, text and animation. Like most social media platforms, Brands can win over followers and friends to broadcast promotions, stories, imagesSnapchat Programmatic Adsand videos. But Snapchat offers a uniquely creative way to engage users in what a lot of brand marketers are saying is the social media platform they have the most fun with.

For example, if Devon’s Digital wanted to promote a new line of earphones, they could create a filter with which Snapchat users could add headphones and a mic to an image – or better yet a video. They can then share themselves geared up in the latest headphones, lip syncing like a rock star.

Snapchat Sponsored Filters

Retail Marketers SnapchatUsers are keen to “try on” products – a marketers dream. Just imagine the possibilities for brands in the fashion, cosmetics or food and beverage industries. Advertisers can reach out to friends or those following their brand. It’s a big marketing opportunity if a brand can create a filter enticing enough to win over friends of followers using it, and so on.

Retail businesses can also take advantage of Geofilters. When a Snapchatter takes a Snap in a set location, they’re able to use the sponsored Geofilter to explain where, when, and why they took the Snap.

For example, if a fictional restaurant called Penny’s Pizza had a grand opening party, they could use a filter to promote the event when Snapchatter’s Snapped themselves eating delicious pizza at the event. Even without rolling out clever or creative filters, brands can buy ads that appear in between Snapchatters’ stories. The ads are skippable, but they’re also now measurable via third party ad serving.

Summary

  • Snapchat’s youthful user base is quickly growing, and is expected to shift toward a higher age demographic in the future.
  • Marketers like Snapchat’s global reach and the creative and fun way it engages its audience.
  • More metrics are now offered for ads that appear between Snapchatters’ Snaps.
  • Geofilters give brands a chance to connect with users in a functional and fun way where they can share the where, when and why about their Snaps.

10 Tips For Digital Advertising Best Practices

Keeping up-to-date on digital ad buying best practices is essential for any marketer to successfully navigate today’s digital ecosystem. Given the sustained high-level growth of programmatic media buying in recent years, the way in which we leverage new technologies to bring together the main players of digital ad buying and selling is constantly evolving.
buenas prácticas para la compra digital de publicidad
To understand this evolution, you have to familiarize yourself with the foundations of programmatic buying, an impressions-based buying system that relies on algorithms generated from DSPs (Demand Side Platforms).

What for? It’s simple. DSPs need to access global ad inventory with millions of advertising impressions  in real time, with the ability to adjust to what every advertiser wants or needs.

The main draw of programmatic buying lies in its ability to automate the ad buying process in Ad Exchanges and on websites from a unified dashboard.

Differentiating between Programmatic and Direct Ad Buying

 Before reviewing best practices for digital ad buying, it’s important to understand the difference between programmatic and direct ad buying.

  • Direct buying occurs when a marketer buys impressions in bulk, normally in a specific context on specified sites and from a specific publisher. This involves hours of researching which publishers’ impressions will be best to optimize campaign performance and then negotiating the purchase before launching the impressions.
  • Programmatic buying occurs when a DSP automatically and instantaneously places ads on publishers’ sites after evaluating the quality of individual impressions from the best bidder.

Both buying methods have pros and cons and undergo different processes with online publishers. For example, though real-time buying allows an advertiser to reach wider audiences, it doesn’t offer a guarantee on return.

Best Practices for Digital Ad Buying

Real Time Bidding (RTB) marketing alludes to a type of digital advertising in which a variety of ad spaces are auctioned off in real time. The system identifies the visitor’s user information and then each is shown ads that correlate to their tastes and interests determined by data tracked from their online behaviors.
For this process to work correctly, it’s vital to make use of technology and big data. RTB wouldn’t be possible without generating and evaluating millions of data points. This data contributes intelligence to the entire programmatic buying process.

Additionally, advertisers can attract users more effectively thanks to being able to use data for the personalization of ad delivery. This is very evident if one’s to compare the effectiveness of traditional display campaigns.

Today, the majority of marketing departments are employing real-time programmatic buying for retargeting purposes, for example. However, programmatic ad buying allows marketers to also fulfill many other different strategies, analyze the relationships between all media channels, both online and offline, and consider segmentation possibilities.

10 Digital Ad Buying Tips

1.) Start with a general focus

Programmatic technology uses audience data to target specific consumers across vast amounts of ad inventory by using audience data to target individuals dynamically, on a one-on-one basis — in real-time. It’s particularly useful for advertisers who are seeking the reach of a large bulk buy without sacrificing the accuracy of targeting users.

Rather than pay for large inventory, advertisers hoping to reach consumers’ interest can bid for the right audience and the right time. Programmatic not only makes ads more relevant to consumers it also helps publishers to sell inventory in a more valuable way for advertisers.

Additionally, Demand Side Platforms, or DSPs are able to buy ad inventory across all sources with the use of computer programs called algorithms. An algorithm is a computer application that performs sophisticated calculations based on specific rules. For DSPs, these algorithms determine which impressions a specific customer should buy.

2.) Identify your target

As with any advertising strategy, digital or otherwise, marketers need to establish clear objectives and a well-defined target audience.

If you have a specific product or service to promote, or if you’re simply trying to amplify brand awareness on social media, you need to make sure that you’re reaching the audiences that are most apt to listen to your message. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.

Start by determining demographic data, such as the gender, age, and location of your audience. After gathering that information, you can begin planning how and where to allocate your ad spend.

3.) Prioritize transparency

 According to Smart AdServer, a third of digital media buyers don’t bid on blind inventories. For that reason, it’s important to segment your audience and provide buyers with as much data as possible.

4.) Think Mobile

 The behavioral capabilities of programmatic buying technologies are strongly linked to cookies. Which is a problem when it comes to mobile, since there are no cookies on mobile devices.

In the past, mobile marketing was used to view products before completing a purchase in a physical store or from your desktop. However, according to eMarketer, 75.7% of U.S. buyers are willing to make purchases directly from their phones and over the coming years that figure is expected to grow significantly.

Additionally, 9 out of 10 smartphone users have used their phone at some point in the buying process, according to the IAB. This is why it’s important to adapt all creatives to mobile devices before starting your next digital ad campaign.

5.) Monitor minimum bids and block lists

Another digital media buying best practice  is the consistent monitoring of your minimum bids. If you’re aware of where your ads will get the most value for their traffic and track minimum bids once or twice a week, you can multiply your return in the short term.

6.) Identify what ad formats are growing

Consider the following data from ComScore: After viewing an online video ad, 64% of users are more predisposed to the purchasing a product online. According to Unruly, online video ads increase purchase intent by 97% and brand recognition by 139%. Still wondering what format to use?

Video generates double the engagement that traditional banner ads generate. Even interstitial ads (advertisements that temporarily take up an entire device’s screen) have average bidding prices that are 60% higher than those of banner ads.

In addition to their creative capabilities, new and more captivating ad formats like dynamic creatives, can be programmatically delivered to the user in real time.

7.) Find Similar Users – Lookalike Modeling

Leveraging the data collected from your cookies, DSPs can find new and undiscovered users that look like your customers to whom you can target your ads and optimize conversion rates as your campaigns progress. Lookalike modeling involves defining the attributes and behaviors of your most valuable customers and then using these profiles to target matching prospects. Since these new audience segments are similar to your current customers, you’ll enjoy a higher likelihood of conversions.

8.) Implement Dynamic Creative Optimization

If you combine the power of a DSP with the audience management from a Data Management Platform (DMP), your campaign’s performance will improve significantly.

This lift is attributed to the sorting and classifying of customers based on diverse criteria makes it easier to deliver more personalized ads in which creatives are launched based on where in the sales funnel a user is located.

9.) Brands go for in-house management 

With the emergence of new programmatic software platforms, companies are increasingly willing to control the advertising spend by keeping programmatic buying internal, facilitated by brand marketers. This is the area of programmatic spending that has grown most in recent years.

CMOs that directly manage their digital ad buying build internal competencies in the execution, measurement and optimization of programmatic campaigns.
 

10.) Use attribution models to properly measure campaign performance

The efficiency of programmatic campaigns is calculated by tracking post view and post click conversions. Therefore, client acquisition strategies should be data oriented, steadily measuring and predicting the media channels that willyield optimal results based on the brand’s campaign goals.

Finally, the ultimate best practice for programmatic ad buying is to constantly improve upon the above practices and strategies. At Digilant, we don’t simply follow best practices for programmatic ad buying, we create them as the needs of our buyers and the technology to serve them evolve. Programmatic ad buying doesn’t just help reach new clients; it uncovers new and more valuable audiences.

Interested in unlocking data and uncovering your brand’s full potential? Learn more about Digilant’s solutions here.

Programmatic Media Buying 101: Advertising Data & Privacy Best Practices

Since the mid-1990s, digital advertising technology has been accessing user data to make ads more relevant and effective. This collection of user data has continuously raised concerns about privacy for consumers. Cookies were one of the first technologies used by digital advertisers to store a small amount of data on the user’s computers. This method is still used by programmatic buyers for frequency capping, creative rotation, as well as targeting against a small amount of user behaviors.

advertising cookie tracking

Geo-location

A long-time standard, location targeting was initially done using IP addresses. Geo-location data collection has evolved to more accurately identify where users are. Geo-location data is now collected via mobile device GPS technology, wireless routers, fitness trackers, smartwatches, and more.

Privacy

As programmatic targeting tactics became standard for marketers, so did the need for maintaining consumer trust through privacy regulations.

In 1996, the Interactive Advertising Bureau was founded to support this need through advisory boards, research, standards, legal support, and also education — for both the industry and its audiences.

In many countries, the government is also involved in ensuring that consumers are aware of their privacy rights and choices. In 2009, the United States’ Federal Trade Commission began investigating advertising technology platforms that collect consumer data for advertising purposes. While recognizing the need for stricter regulations and privacy protection, they tasked industry leaders to develop a self-regulatory program. Multiple organizations across the advertising industry came together to set up self-regulations guidelines and resources forming the Digital Advertising Alliance.

AdChoices Opt-out Program

Most notable from these efforts is the AdChoices program.  AdChoices encourages advertising platforms to include the option icon on ads or webpages where data is collected and used for behavioral advertising.
adchoices advertising opt-out programThe AdChoices icon serves to inform consumers and give them the ability to opt-out of behavioral or interest-based ads. The user has to click on the icon to trigger the pop-up message, which varies depending on the environment in which it is served.
Fortunately for advertisers the icon is small, unobtrusive and most consumers don’t notice it. Viewers have to roll over the icon to see the word “AdChoices” and click on it to view the pop-up in which enables them to opt-out.

Consumers have become more knowledgeable about privacy and data. In 2016, about 20% of iOS device users in the United States were limiting ad tracking through the settings on their device, and in South America less than 10% of iOS devices have the “limit ad tracking” feature turned on.

Most consumers appear to be comfortable or at least accustomed to certain types of targeting.

Users who’ve abandoned items in their shopping carts have come to expect or sometimes even appreciate being retargeted. In 2016, 1 in 5 shoppers completed a purchase after a retargeting reminder.

Cookies and geolocation are still important data points, but a lot has changed since the 1990’s. With the rise of mobile and the growth in programmatic, targeting technology has shifted to include behavioral data — forcing a shift in how privacy is treated across the industry.

The best thing that marketers can do is stay informed about privacy regulations. Although that can be daunting for global brands, marketers need to earn the trust of their consumers — and respecting their privacy remains critical to supporting effective advertising as an industry.

Summary

  • The use of cookies and geographic data has been causing privacy concerns for consumers for several decades.
  • In a 2009 decision, the FTC placed self-regulatory responsibilities around privacy in the hands of the advertising industry.
  • AdChoices was developed to give consumers a choice that remains unobtrusive to advertisers.
  • Consumers are becoming more “data-savvy” which will require marketers to stay on top of regulations if they want to continue to build critical trust with their audiences.
Like what you see? Join the 500+ clients that have partnered with Digilant.