Interview with Neustar AdAdvisor VP Paul McLenaghan


ADOTAS — Data is at the heart of all phases of the marketing campaign cycle — planning, execution, interaction, and measurement. Marketers are still exploring the best ways to leverage third-party and in-house customer data across all of those phases to gain decision-driving insights and tangible results.

Neustar AdAdvisor provides a suite of marketing solutions to seamlessly merge data insights, analytics, and technology throughout the campaign cycle, and via media channels. By leveraging Neustar’s comprehensive repository of consumer insights at the household level, marketers can reach audiences most likely to purchase and use specific brands, products and services. Neustar AdAdvisor also offers customizable solutions for digital ad campaign measurement and cross-channel attribution through proprietary partnerships and analytics. This results in higher return on ad spend, fewer wasted ad impressions and smarter media planning.

Adotas recently sat down with Neustar AdAdvisor VP of Product Management Paul McLenaghan (pictured) at the company’s New York office to discuss the current state of data, the most effective ways to measure the success of a campaign, and what marketers should be aware of as they wade through the growing number of options for data insight, measurement, and attribution.

Paul has spent his ten years at Neustar (formerly TARGUSinfo) managing market development, sales, solutions development and business development initiatives. His key focus has been addressing the needs of advertisers, agencies, publishers and advertising platforms in the digital advertising industry.  Prior to joining TARGUSinfo, Paul worked in management consulting and also held sales and marketing roles in the enterprise software industry. Paul is active in several industry groups, most notably the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Network Advertising Initiative. Paul received an MBA from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and BA degrees in Economics and English from Villanova University.

Q. What do you find is the biggest challenge for advertisers today from a data and analytics perspective?

A. Measuring advertising effectiveness is a digital marketer’s biggest challenge today. The inability to successfully measure digital advertising against their key success metrics has been an issue since the advent of advertising on the Internet. CMOs are increasingly leveraging data and analytics to drive their marketing strategies. Unfortunately for today’s CMOs, most measurement providers only enable the marketer to see a small piece of the puzzle, rather than giving them a holistic view of their marketing program.

Q. What do you think are the most common misconceptions marketers have about measurement?

A. A common misconception around measuring digital advertising is that you can only measure the effectiveness of digital campaigns using “digital conversions”, in other words, by applying only purely digital metrics such as site visits, online purchases, and CTR’s. What CMOs should be focused on in looking at measurement solutions are ones that can inform them about the impact their digital campaigns have on all conversions, whether online or offline. For example, suppose a user sees an ad for a product and subsequently walks into a store and buys that product rather than clicking on the ad or going straight to the website to buy it. If I’m the marketer, I want to be able to see the impact that ad had on the purchase, even though there was no direct digital interaction with that customer. So for the CMO, the ideal measurement solution is one that shows a correlation between digital campaigns and actual conversion data, that way the CMO can easily see if the campaign is hitting the organization’s key metrics.

Q. What advice would you offer marketers evaluating measurement solutions?

A. When evaluating measurement solutions, marketers need to consider the following:

  1. Does the solution incorporate all of my digital media channels including online, mobile phones and tablets?
  2. Will the solution enable me to incorporate my own first party data?
  3. Are there a multiple types of data that I can use to measure against? For example, a CMO may want the flexibility to be able to measure against demographics data sets or against retail or financial data sets etc., depending on what type of reporting is required.
  4. Is the reporting multi-faceted? The reporting functionality must be flexible enough to let you have meaningful and insightful off –the-shelf reports but also let you create custom reports specific to the business.

Q. Are their risks to an advertiser in uploading their first-party data to these third-party measurement solutions?

A. When evaluating a third party measurement solution, the marketer needs to look beyond the reporting and understand and be comfortable with the data management capabilities of the vendor. Are they known to be a trusted, neutral party equipped to handle large scale proprietary data sets? Do they adhere to industry recognized security protocols? Do they have robust privacy practices? These are key questions that can often be the difference between a trusted solutions provider and one who may put your data and your business at risk.

Q. What advantages does Neustar AdAdvisor bring to the table?

A. The advantages Neustar AdAdvisor brings to the marketplace are the quantity, quality and scale of our data, our proprietary analytics capabilities, our online/offline platform, and a long history of managing our customer’s mission critical first party data.  Neustar receives over 2 billion records per month from authoritative offline sources which we use to update, augment and verify attributes in our repository for US households. This data repository through our platform powers our Campaign Conversion Insights solution, which enables marketers to measure the impact of their digital campaigns on conversions using syndicated data sets such as financial, CPG, and auto, or using their own CRM data. In addition, as a company, Neustar is highly regarded as a trusted partner with a strong reputation among our customers for being able to safely and securely manage their sensitive proprietary information. Neustar has a technology infrastructure that processes billions of real time data transactions every day. Finally, Neustar has an unwavering commitment to upholding the highest standards of privacy when it comes to data and for years has used Privacy-by-Design principles throughout the process of building, designing and delivering information products and services for its customers.

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