BUNDI: The role of data in advertising


Observing behaviors especially on the digital space helps firms deliver campaigns that match client’s expectations. PHOTO/ COURTSEY

Advertising is passing information with the intent of selling a product or service to a target group. It is a component of marketing that is geared upon reaching new and existing customers.

Data driven advertising is optimizing communication based on consumer information. This information is used to predicts consumer preferences, interests, and future behaviors to drive sales with an end goal of better return on investment (ROI).

Advertising is in different frontiers; Above the line (ATL), Below the line (BTL) and Digital.  Interestingly, these mediums interact.

A TV spot can prompt an online search supported by OOH knowledge that leads to a click through pop-ups hence a sale which is the client’s goal. Businesses are interested in measuring the impact of such mediums to the overall performance of the brand so that spends are also distributed in accordance with the channel’s ROI.

Using analytics, we can increase sales with the same budget by use of optimization tools. With digital space well known as Digital Marketing being a new trend in the industry, clients can convert an advert into sales in minutes.

We have massive data that is accumulated every second hence the need for good techniques to filter the noise from the data and offer real time analysis. Advertising agencies, like Saracen Media deploys tools to enable automation of this data for real time insights.  

Targeting the right consumer is important in advertising. The more you know a brand’s consumer, the more effective the advertising will be. This is the essence of Data Analytics.  Among the areas data analytics has helped are;

1. Retention of existing customers

Customer data enable firms to have a laser-sharp view and understanding of brand consumers. Understanding the need of consumers is the foremost important aspect in selling products. This helps in customizing user experience.

A study showed that 74% of customers are frustrated by irrelevant brand content while 79% don’t consider an offer unless the brand personalizes it to their previous interactions.

Tom Benton, CEO of the Data and Marketing Association points out: “The sheer amount of data from a near-infinite combination of media, devices, platforms, and channels allows marketers the opportunity to deliver 1-to-1 customer experiences at a massive scale. If these are leveraged adeptly, a business with a million customers can deliver an experience just as tailored as a business with a dozen customers.”

2. Reaching new clients
Observing behaviors especially on the digital space helps firms deliver campaigns that match client expectations. Customer surveys also feed this data basket. Insights from this data, lead to conversion and customer acquisition.

3. Measuring impact of campaigns
Pre and post-campaign data is the most accurate source of insight on the performance of any campaign. This leads to better decision making on investments to deliver the highest return on investment (ROI).

4. Competitor Analysis
Use of competitor data, gives insights on competitor’s activities. This informs arrears of improvement and strong points for brands to leverage to maintain share of voice.

5. Uncovering the best channels for promotion
Prior data has informed the choice of channels that results to optimum returns. The use of channel planners and analytics tools like Catalyst, inform the best channels for brands to use to engage the target audience.  

Data- driven decision making is the game changer in advertising. But it all starts with the use of correct and accurate data. Data collection then becomes the most integral part in the growth of marketing. This can be through media partners, research firms and the ever-growing digital space.

Whenever we visit a website, we leave footprints of the activities carried out, and this is what is used by either the website owners (first party) or the third parties. This is evident in platforms like Netflix and YouTube that recommends the next content that the user would rather watch.

According to Ben Scott and Dipayan Ghosh in their report Digital Deceit: The Technologies Behind Precision Propaganda on the Internet, data can be collected by Web tracking, location tracking, cross device tracking and browser fingerprinting.

Web tracking is the use of first party and third-party cookies to track web activities by the user to collect user’s daily routines, interests, behaviors, and preferences. This provides personalized ads according to that information collected.

Location tracking capitalises on user’s regular places of visit, workplaces and where they live. This data can easily be tracked using GPS, cellular network triangulation, Bluetooth connection and Wi-Fi SSIDS.

Cross-device tracking enables collection of data across multiple devices used by the same user. Once a cross device inference is made and attached to one user, it is used as the central base of data collection for that user.

Browser Fingerprinting is data that is collected from a user’s customized browser settings and preferences. This information is used to identify users across the internet.

There are several challenges associated with data analytics in advertising. Among them, gathering data and pulling it together which can be resolved by using dashboards and regulations that limit data sharing.

However, Kenya has made strides by introduction of the Data Protection Act of 2019 which will offer a guide on data sharing protocols.

James Bundi is a data analyst at Saracen Media Ltd.

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