Article

Greta Paa-kerner
Greta Paa-kerner 6 April 2016

Today’s Technology Sausage Factory: The Online Advertising Ecosystem

Lips, ears, snout and all, today’s sausage factory of data is complicated and convoluted. Data is repackaged and re-sold as inventory. It flows through the online advertising ecosystem without clear accountability as to what is being tracked and sold. And what is the quality of data in that sausage? Is it consumable?

The sophistication with which digital marketers can accurately target a specific customer segment continues to develop and my recent consumer experience highlighted this point precisely. Just the other day, products in my shopping cart from Made.com ended up in a targeted display ad on Twitter. I had been browsing on my laptop, had put two items in my shopping cart on Made.com and then left the website. No sooner had this happened, the same items appeared in promotional ads inside my Twitter feed on my mobile device. How was my Twitter handle connected to my shopping cart on an e-commerce site? How was it connected across different devices? My data is being minced, spiced and re-formed, like a sausage.

Is this a useful user experience or is it unnerving? The answer to that question will depend on your age and whether you perceive the Twitter ad as something useful. In a study conducted by Ofcom, 42% agreed with the following statement: “I am happy to provide personal information online to companies as long as I get what I want.” This number jumps to 55% for those aged 16-24.

In fact, that same Ofcom report indicated that nearly one in four of respondents aged 16-24 don’t really think about the personal information they are providing online. (See chart below.)

 

Harvesting personal data online doesn’t appear to be a concern for a quarter of the younger population. More surprisingly, concerning personal data, there is little apprehension across 17% of the population. Are Internet users aware of how their data is being collected, packaged, shared and traded?

An online user’s movements are being tracked by third-party scripts and then sold on to data providers who process it and then create thousands of segments like “relationship status”, “age group”, “ethnicity” and “annual income”.  These data segments can then be sold on again on a cost-per-mille (CPM) basis to demand-side platforms (DSPs), supply-side platforms (SSPs), ad networks and other data management platforms (DMPs). As it’s being repackaged and resold and repackaged and resold again, the data begins to be dissociated from its original form, a bit like mince.

Could it also be divorced from its original purpose of giving consumers a more personalised and useful marketing experience? Could fraudsters use this data? What about “Big Brother”? What about insurance companies? What if this reconstituted data is used for more than just serving accurate ads?

It’s too early to know for sure as the online advertising ecosystem is still maturing and taking shape. It’s a fast-moving and radically transforming environment that may eventually need a regulatory framework that will be either industry-levied or government imposed to safeguard consumer data and online user habits.

Original Article

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
Customer Journey Mapping: A Real-Life Approach to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Customer Journey Mapping: A Real-Life Approach to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

As financial services and insurance (FSI) companies strive to deliver the seamless multi-channel customer experience, the traditional marketing model has been radically reimagined. Innovative institutions are showing how cross-functional teams focusing on the customer journey can work to develop a single view of the customer – an approach that can bring tangible rewards. Yet research shows that large institutions still have some way to go in maximising the return on their investment in this area.

Aoife McIlraith
Aoife McIlraith 18 September 2017
Read more
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
10 Marketing Lessons From Apple [Infographic]

10 Marketing Lessons From Apple [Infographic]

The 10-year-old kid, selling ice cold fresh lemonade on the street corner in your local neighbourhood had it right. He or she may not have realized it but the simple marketing strategy that they accidentally and innocently came up with works perfectly on the people strolling by on their daily walk.

Ellie Summers
Ellie Summers 19 September 2017
Read more
10 Features You Must Have in Your Marketing Automation Platform

10 Features You Must Have in Your Marketing Automation Platform

There is no doubt that marketing agencies have the skillset and expertise to do high-level work, manage a multitude of platforms and campaigns, as well as the small tasks like data entry. But a crucial part of running a successful agency is knowing when it is best to leave complicated and repetitive tasks to a software that is tailored for just that. In the end, it is more feasible and effective to leave it to an automation software, so agency staff can focus on other endeavors within the business.

Richard Fallah
Richard Fallah 18 September 2017
Read more