Don’t be Dated When it Comes to Data: 8 Types You Should Understand

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Today, we have more data sources than ever before, so it’s critical for marketers to familiarize themselves with the ones that are most valuable and most relevant for their brand. Whether these terms are new to you, or you just need a quick refresher course, the list below is a comprehensive guide.

1. Profile Data
Thanks to profile data, multi-brand marketers may use a single campaign and media buy to ensure focused messaging to specific audiences. For example, Mercedes could use profile data to show the Mercedes GL, a high-end SUV, to moms who live in higher-net-worth geographies while showing the entry-level CLA cars to younger males who are more likely buyers of the CLA.

Profile data could also be used to message different aspects of a car to different audience segments. For example, men might respond better to messaging about the ruggedness of a car in mountain terrain and specs of the engine, while women may respond better to messaging about cargo space, safety, etc.

2. CRM Data
A broader set of profile data is available to brands that have a direct relationship with their customers. This is especially true for brands that offer products directly from their websites and/or their branded retail outlets. The data in these cases is much richer and detailed, including things like purchase history, loyalty, average purchase amounts, and even demographics and wealth brackets.

But integrating CRM data with advertising can be challenging. For example, such profile data often belongs to the operations team and is managed by corporate IT. It can often be a long and difficult process for the marketing team to gain access to the data. Companies should consider the privacy implications of using such data so that they don’t damage the trust relationship they have with customers.

3. Environmental Data
Geographic data can be used to deliver very effective engagement by customizing an ad for local audiences. For example, auto companies used to have to go through the very cumbersome process of allocating marketing funds and managing creative integrity for large dealerships across the country. Today, they can simply enable ads to display creative messaging customized for each local market.

4. Real-Time Events
Social media allows companies to relate marketing messages to events happening in real time. Now, Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, and others have taken the idea further by allowing brands to message directly to consumers.

There are two kinds of event-based dynamic ads. The first type are pre-programmed ads, for events that are scheduled ahead of time, such as football games or the Grammys. These campaigns are easy to manage because creative assets can be approved ahead of time.

The second type of event-based dynamic ads is real-time ads. Real-time event-based advertising has primarily been in the realm of social media because the real-time messaging nature of Twitter fits well with the idea of real-time “sponsored tweets” or other kinds of messaging that leverages data about the user to tailor messaging.

5. Social Media Data
Social media reveals a lot about a person’s interests and is a rich source of data for personalized advertising. Most social media platforms offer various targeting segments that an advertiser can use to create precise messaging. Social media platforms often allow advertisers to pick interests (sports fans), demographics (single men), as well as friends of fans (with similar interests), and so on.

6. Site/Cookie Data
As users browse websites, they indicate preferences and likes in an indirect way. For example, users visiting the Car and Driver site would select the kinds of cars they are likely to be in the market for. In some cases, consumption of content on a site does not directly correlate to purchase intent. Nevertheless, site data can provide very important insights into consumer interest.

Several startup companies have also recently introduced personalization software for websites. Rather than a website being static and one-size-fits-all, it’s dynamically configured for the user, based on a continuous process of learning about the consumer’s interests.

7. Search Data
Search data is the hardest type of data to come by. Since Google switched to secure search, which hides the referrer URL’s search term, it has become impossible to use a search term to personalize ads on a site. However, some data providers (e.g., DMPs) do provide aggregated search data that can be used to customize advertisements. Search data is very personal and should be used with a lot of caution as it can directly reveal things about the users that they may not want others to know about.

8. Contextual Data
Most media publisher sites have various sections that may have different kinds of context. Many news sites (e.g., CNN, USA Today) have sections for sports, finance, lifestyle, etc. Often a media purchase is done for the whole site and runs on all pages. But it’s also possible to have dynamic personalization of an ad, based on the section or context in which it is running. Such contextually driven personalized ads can be very effective at creating customized messaging for the audience profile of visitors to a specific section of the publisher’s site and can be done without creating a lot of complexity in terms of individual ads and ad tags.

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