Trust is difficult under the best circumstances; nowhere is this more true than in the data ecosystem. Over 4,000 companies globally are engaged in selling data, vying for a piece of an estimated $200B industry. For marketers, this crowded landscape is a mixed blessing; thousands of data providers present endless choices and variety, yet not all data is created equal.
A buyer seeking to purchase a specific audience segment—e.g., Hispanic females, age 25-34—might have hundreds of providers to choose from, with only price and scale to guide their decision, but no clear means of understanding the comparative quality of the offerings available. And the variance in data quality can be considerable, causing spend to be inflated while not creating better outcomes or performance. U.S. marketers invested $11.9 billion in third-party audience data in 2019 (a 6.1% increase from the previous year), yet an estimated 21 cents of every media dollar is wasted, mainly due to poor data quality.
Truthset, an independent firm that measures the quality of consumer data to improve the performance of any data-driven activity, sat down with our Chief Revenue Officer Ilana Hendlish, to weigh in on these points:
Truthset: So, with all this going on, why would any data provider take the risk to be objectively scored for data accuracy?
Ilana Hendlish: The question has always been out there, “how do you tell the great from the good and the good from the mediocre, and prove it?” It’s a challenge we data providers struggle with during our sales process. No matter how confident you are that your offering is superior to the competition, buyers are naturally skeptical and often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices.
We now have a way to start answering, with Truthset coming along last year. Your story is such a good one – borne out of your own past lives and frustrations as veterans of the data, measurement, and marketing industry. The mission of creating the single, agnostic, and unbiased yardstick of truth that has been needed for so long. The company measures record-level consumer data from leading, large-scale providers against independent, directly sourced validation sets to score for accuracy of predefined audience segments and individual attributes. The resulting Truthscores™ enables buyers to discern just how well a particular data set meets their needs regarding demographic characteristics and the resulting scale of quality records.
We signed on because you have a 100% transparent measurement methodology, are not pay-to-certify for data providers, and are working with what is now the world’s largest independent asset of consumer data with a full understanding of accuracy record-by-record.
For all these reasons, and to prove our value to the industry, we gladly teamed up with Truthset.
Truthset: What positives were you expecting to see? What hesitations did you have?
Ilana Hendlish: It isn’t easy to step up and be publicly measured against the competition, no matter how confident you are in your offering’s quality. Thoughts run through your mind—for example, “What if we aren’t good at all the segments scored? What if we thought we were good, but aren’t?” But then we thought, “What if we’re amazing at everything? And what could we learn that we didn’t yet know?”
Transparency is fundamental to trust and to make our assets the best they can be, and it was Truthset’s ethos of transparency that enabled us to proceed with confidence that whatever the results, the process would be fair, accurate, and unbiased. We’re grateful we took the risk because the results speak for themselves. In Truthset’s Q4 2020 study, Bridge performed well for consumer attributes commonly used by marketers for targeting, including Presence of Children, Renters, and accurately declaring the state the individual resides. For the first time, something we knew to be true became something we could prove, and we’re already reaping the benefits.
Clients now see our involvement with Truthset, our clear stamp of being committed to data quality initiatives, and the result is that the countless questions usually asked about data collection/sourcing, data science/modeling, hygiene, etc. are already answered. More opportunities are created. Meetings go faster. More campaigns are launched. More data licences are contracted. Confidence—and trust —are high on both sides of the table. We now have something to tell our customers when they ask us why we’re confident in the quality of our data. It’s a good feeling all around.
At Bridge, we’ve always stood behind our data quality, and our clients can attest to the high bar we continue to set. Yet, we felt strongly about having that quality validated by a respected, independent third party. That commitment has served us well, and we’re seeing positive results unfold for our clients too. For marketers, the ability to analyze a provider’s data based on how accurately it matches up to desired targeting criteria is a tremendous benefit. It’s also possible to use Truthscores to further improve 1st, 2nd, or 3rd party data by setting a certain threshold and adding/removing records accordingly to refine accuracy or increase scale. Perhaps most valuable of all, Truthset’s dashboards enable marketers to maximize return on media investment by providing a comprehensive measurement of delivery to Truthscore-validated audiences, both in-flight and post-campaign.
Truthset: This is a constant theme that we hear from our data partners at Truthset. In a sense, you’d have to be mad to say “no” to data quality initiatives.
Ilana Hendlish: Every ad dollar counts, especially the dollars spent on data—that’s more true in 2021 than ever before. The good news is that there is no longer any reason to be in the dark about whether you’re getting what you paid for. Look for audiences wherever you buy/activate data by finding the Truthset badge. Ask your data providers about Truthscores in your next RFP, data review, or negotiation. Insist on a demonstrated commitment to quality, right down to the record level. Full transparency means more working media, more efficiency, and more dollars flowing into the advertising ecosystem. Marketers see better ROI, data providers see more business, and, perhaps most important of all, consumers see more relevant ads – finally, everybody wins.