After being selected as a Winning Paper by the Advertising Research Foundation, we were invited to speak at their Audience Measurement conference last week in New York. We shared a new technology to improve online advertising research: Segment Validation. We believe that advertisers should validate the advertising audience segments used in programmatic ad buys. Otherwise, how do you know if the segment really has what it claims to have? Here’s Mark Thompson, CEO of the New York Times, referring to this issue, “When we say someone is a member of the audience is a female fashionista aged 20-30, what's the probability that that's actually true?”
Not all audience segments are created equal. A segment’s usefulness is a balance between the size of the segment, and how much of the segment actually matches the desired characteristic (the technical term for this is Precision vs Recall). Buying unvalidated audience segments is like buying TV ads before Nielsen ratings, or bonds before bond ratings. Programmatic advertising is still the wild west.
We are not the only ones thinking about this. Here’s an anonymous ad tech exec, who’s anonymity most likely stems from the fact that he’s fully aware that his company is delivering shoddy data. “A lot of the data that informs programmatic media buying is unreliable and conflicting. So what brands are spending their money for isn’t necessarily the thing they think they are spending their money for.”
As an example, suppose you want to advertise to moms. There are multiple “Moms” segments from different vendors, and other segments like “New Moms” and “Moms with 2-year-olds.” Which of these segments should you choose in the ad buy? You can’t really know until you’ve validated them. Segments boost signal to varying degrees.
Due to the partnerships and technical integrations between Survata and all of the major DMPs, validating audience segments is straightforward. Even better, the data is automatically pushed back into your DMP, where look-alike algorithms can expand the size of your target audience segment.
Survata is driving the next generation of ad research. In addition to Segment Validation, we also offer Segment Creation based on targeted psychographic profiles. We also conduct ad effectiveness studies in real time, allowing for optimization of ad spend allocation daily instead of just post-campaign reporting.
Our ARF presentation on validating programmatic audiences can be found in the slideshow below.