Companies are drowning in data but still dying of thirst

Industry leaders take on the topic of data

The topic of data can be plagued with buzzwords and creates anxiety for brands but the conversation is shifting to being about quality and driving real outcomes for business and customers.

Taking on this mammoth topic during The Drum’s Programmatic Punch APAC event was Quantcast commercial director of Southeast Asia and China Chris Scudder, Verizon Media senior director of APAC media solutions Chia-Fang Kuo, Annalect data and technology lead for APAC Ravikumar Shankar and Carousell managing director for advertising JJ Eastwood.

Summing up the status quo, Carousell’s Eastwood said he liked a quote he’d heard describing it as “companies are drowning in data but still dying of thirst”.

“I think that is exactly where we're at because there are so many signals to pay attention to. With all of the new data protection laws that are coming into place, the death of the cookie, et cetera, et cetera, it's becoming more and more difficult to action those signals. I think when we go back a few years ago, the challenge was that there was not enough data and today it is about ‘how do we make sense of it all and how do we drive customer experiences?’ That is at the heart of what we all want to want to do and it is becoming more and more challenging,” he added.

In terms of regulation, a major challenge for brands that are using data, the key is to keep proactive and consider the consumer first. For Quantcast, a business that has one of the most downloaded consent platforms, Scudder says that it's been proactive against data regulation but that it’s still a challenge to keep up to date because regulation changes often.

“I think there's going to be very many other iterations and waves of regulation, starting with GDPR. You've got the CCPA going on in the States now as well, and I think the rest of the world will slowly adopt their own form of it. Regulation is here to stay, it's just going to come in different shapes and forms. I think businesses need to get clued up as to what the impact is quite early on,” explained Scudder.

Another issue causing concern for brands is the investment already made into their data efforts, which may not yet be delivering the returns they expected.

Annalect’s Shankar explained that for Annalect clients, this is an issue that’s come up a lot. “DMPs cost a fortune. People are spending a fortune to try to understand audiences better, only to kind of roll it back in the garage after a while cause they're realizing actually it's not working. So there is an example case example of actually just not understanding what the business needs.”

The holy grail of using data, for brands, is to create a ‘single-customer-view’, which means they can create more relevant advertising for their customers. However, the investment in technology to do this hasn’t yet produced this as a reality but it isn’t the technology’s fault, according to Shankar.

“The reality of having a single customer view is a very, very far away reality and we are spending a lot of money. Most of our clients have spent a lot of money on DMPs and they are nowhere where they should be in terms of ROI on a single view of the customer or building personalization, it is absolutely zero. Having said that, that's nothing to do with the platform. There’s nothing wrong with the platform. The problem is building that connective tissue that is your single ID, which is universalizing - our identity graph. That is an issue with on the new regulations coming in with all the technology browser companies having their own roles on crashing the third-party cookie, it is making the single customer view a really distant, very far away from reality,” he added.

The group discussed the growth of the Universal ID projects being launched across the industry but agreed that there wasn’t yet a clear industry-agreed one to use, which would be key to this issue. They also said that platforms that hold a lot of data, such as Facebook and Google, who originally operated as walled gardens, could start to become more open to working with brands on this.

Quantcast was a partner of The Drum Programmatic Punch APAC 2019. Register your interest for 2020 here.

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