Understanding Data Activation and Data Matching

First-party data is incredibly valuable for a brand. So, for an advertiser intent on activating first-party data in a digital capacity, there are three main considerations that must be addressed. First, one must be clear around the objectives of the activation(s) as these will determine the set up and the most relevant onboarding and matching partner. Second, one must be knowledgeable and honest about their first-party data and the resources available within an organization for cleaning, segmenting and usage of data on file. Third, since there are a variety of onboarding and matching vendors, each with a different methodology, one must do their due diligence in order to understand the best and right partner for the objectives of the initiatives.

In today’s post, I will focus on the first consideration. Stay tuned for my future posts which take a deep dive into understanding the cleanliness and portability of your own data and how one should choose a partner for onboarding, matching and reaching your first-party data in digital channels.

The best way to accomplish a successful onboarding and matching process is to first identify what you wish to accomplish. Determine the short-term and long-term goals for using your first-party data online. This is a critical component because if those goals are different you will need to choose a partner who can accomplish both objectives or you will need to determine priority and timing. Further, not all vendors can accomplish all objectives because their methodologies are specific to only one need.

Breaking that down, let’s address the goal of mass reach to your CRM database and to others who look like your customers. If this is your objective, then choosing a partner who can deliver high match and reach rates and who employs modeling techniques is a good option. However, if your goal is to activate segments of your database, for example, reach to lapsed customers only, then you will need to choose a partner with deterministic matching capabilities, a proven high degree of accuracy and the ability to actually reach or find those lapsed people. If your goal is to reach people across all of their devices in order to consistently story tell your messaging, then you must choose a partner who has a proven match key that houses identifiers by device. These identifiers must be appended to a person’s profile in order to accurately identify this person on all of their devices.

Lastly, determining measurement for these programs must be done up front. The measurement coupled with your goals will help determine who the appropriate vendor is for your matching. This is important because if you need reporting to the individual level and/or closed-loop measurement, you will need to work with an on-boarder who employs a deterministic method – that they know who the consumer is and can provide a match back report of those people who were exposed.

By clearly stating all of your objectives upfront, you are in the position to choose the most appropriate partner to onboard, match and syndicate your first-party data. Next we will review how to best evaluate your firm’s data situation for usage and for portability.