Many media companies are right now investing heavily to be able to sell their inventory through targeted audience-based campaigns. With the limited reach and available data most media companies experience that they need reliable partners to be able to step up that challenge. Partners who are capable of delivering a transparent and consistent offering, which will facilitate high performance and long term trust throughout the value chain.

Recently the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) voted ”Transparency” to be the word of 2016. A member stated that:

”Transparency is the single most important issue in marketing and holds the greatest potential benefits in terms of improving marketing ROI”

Transparency leads to more qualified decisions, as people will have all available information to guide them. However, the industry still has a way to go in terms of delivering on the promise of transparency, when media buyers and sellers are deciding which data sets should enrich their campaign executions.

When publishers log into their ad servers, e.g. DFP, and explore which audiences they can enrich their campaigns with, they find (and I kid you not!) a list of 80.000 different segments to choose from. And in most cases, the only declaration of content is the segment name. What is the reach of the segment? What is the affinity score of the segment. And is that consistent or varying?

Answers to such questions could and should lead media sellers and buyers to take enlightened decisions with honoured expectations as the outcome for the advertiser. Status quo is often resulting in the opposite. Therefore platforms and data providers must work together to deliver transparency to the data buying process.

I would argue that a consistent precision (hitrate in target group) and transparency about the quality of the provided segments is key for media companies to navigate and gain trust in third party data segments and for them to systematically integrate them into their commercial plans. In addition, media owners are screaming for solutions, where they can easily create and activate audience segments across screens as well as document delivery in a consistent and accurate way in real time. The ability to document performance of delivery in real time is key to be able to justify higher price points. Another key factor is that measurement solutions often reconcile reporting numbers post campaign delivery – and in some cases weeks after. Measurement must be real time in order for media owners to proactively make data based decisions to improve campaign delivery and to avoid delays on revenue recognition.

2017 will be a year, where the ability to activate data to transform online inventory into high quality audience segments is the core strategy for media companies around the world. I believe that the data industry is poised to experience a new wave of success, and vendors in the space who can provide a consistent quality and transparent offering across the ecosystem stands to win.