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The Complexity of Data

Let’s start with a fun fact: according to IBM, “everyday, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – so much that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.”

Frequent readers of this blog will have noticed that we are constantly mentioning data - with a special emphasis this week. It really is vital to today’s competitive digital advertising landscape. Data offers companies a huge competitive advantage, if analysed and used correctly.

It is so rich a source of information that it can inform advertisers what customers need and want and how or why they buy. Data drives programmatic buying so that advertisers can target the people they want with absolute precision, making their advertising more efficient.

Sanjay Mirchandani, chief information officer at EMC, claims that “the onus [...] is to leverage data.” Data gives decision makers more authority, as it is difficult to argue with facts. By leveraging data, you are able to understand your customers and their preferences better, and therefore able to create better, personalised ads for them. The more your business grows, the more data you acquire which is beneficial to you for reasons mentioned above.

We have also mentioned that due to huge advances in technology, it has become more affordable and easier to gather information. This is fantastic for businesses and governments alike, argues McKinsey. Big Data (vast amounts of data) has created new growth opportunities and entirely new categories of companies, such as those that aggregate and analyse industry data. We talked about these yesterday - Data Management Platforms (DMPs).


While this is all well and good for businesses and their strategies, the issue is just how much data is out there. So much so that in order to gather, analyse and store it, technology and machine-based systems have to step in. There’s also the cost of storing data - the greatest cost to those who benefit from it most.

Big Data, Big Complexity

With people owning several devices at once, companies now have different ‘touchpoints’ on everyone. That is to say that they now can collect more data on individuals and connect it all together. Consumers are becoming more and more careful about how much data they give to companies, perhaps without even realising the value of their data. Consumers are also entitled to know how much data a company may have about them and how they are using it. The Sony hacking scandal demonstrated that anyone can be targeted, and can have their dated leaked: the issue is not a new one. Confidential data about employees and their families as well as employee’s salaries were leaked, consumers became skeptical as a result and have started educating themselves about handing over data.


With these growing concerns, some good news has arisen in that there is now standardisation on the cloud (internet) of safe storage for data. Companies such as Rackspace are ensuring greater safety standards when storing their customer’s data on their cloud. They want to ensure the same level of security when it comes to protecting virtual assets as companies would protect their physical assets. They break down their security process and look at Cloud Threat Protection, assess vulnerability and protect their customer’s most sensitive data. Furthermore, advertisers can use a White-label registry (e.g Bluekai), providing consumers with complete transparency on their data that has been collected, as well as giving them the choice to ‘opt out’.

The change of the adtech industry on the concern of ad fraud has prioritised the best practice of the market. According to Media Math, it is through education, clear standards & policies, and industry-wide data-sharing that the industry can improve itself, ensuring safety for consumers.


Here’s the main take away: the combination of incredibly smart technology, data safety and transparency are vital for digital ad success.


Here at the Media Trader, we take transparency and data safety very seriously because we fully understand its value, not only to us, but to our clients. We don’t sell data, we simply analyse it using Skylads software giving you better insights into effectively serving adverts to the most relevant people.


19 days until The Web Summit in Dublin. See you there!







We have said this time and again: data plays a crucial role in our increasingly digital world. Hence, it should be no surprise that data and its quality are considered the main source of competitive advantage in the AdTech industry.


This is exemplified by the trend of companies acquiring DMPs to help them carry out their work more efficiently, as well as to enable them to offer a more integrated solution to their clients. Examples include Oracle’s acquisition of BlueKai (Feb 2014), Rocket Fuel’s acquisition of [x+1] (Aug 2014) and Nielsen’s acquisition of eXelate (March 2015).


According to Mark Zagorski, CEO of eXelate,

8-10% of Fortune 100 companies currently use a DMP, and the majority of companies will be using a DMP in some capacity within 2 years or so.

But what exactly is a DMP?

Plainly speaking, a Data Management Platform is a platform that allows marketers to manage and understand the vast amounts of data that is constantly being generated by consumers, who are digitilising at a ridiculous pace.

What exactly does a DMP do?

A DMP does 1 (or a combination) of 3 things.

1.     Collects Data

2.     Stores Data

3.     Manages the output of the data

As Millenials, we are extremely well-connected, with most of us being connected on at least 1 device, and an increasing number of us being connected across almost all devices (i.e. smart phones, desktops, tablets, wearable technology, etc.). You can therefore imagine the amount of data that is being generated at any point in time. DMPs that collect data therefore collate first, second and third party data across devices. Google Analytics is an example of such a DMP (but only for first party data).




With so much data being generated, it would cost a fortune to store it. Therefore, it makes sense that the second thing DMPs provide is a cost-efficient storage solution.

Finally, some DMPs focus more on the output of the data. These DMPs neither collect nor store data. Instead, they play much more of a managerial role, by tapping into the pool of data, and helping clients manage and use it more effectively. An example of such a DMP is Krux, which uses sophisticated algorithms to “unlock the value of first-party data”.

So that is what DMPs can do. But what value does a DMP bring to the table? Why are so many companies acquiring dedicated DMPs?

Firstly, DMPs provide an unprecedented level of depth and breadth to the data. This is difficult to achieve if you just have recourse to data from one source, e.g. the data you collect from your own website. DMPs, on the other hand, are aggregating data from millions of people, across millions of devices, whatever the support.

Secondly, through managing the output of data, DMPs are able to suggest new groups of people to target. In yesterday’s post, we had explained the concept of data modeling. This is one such way that DMPs can add value for their clients.

Another way that DMPs can do this is through segmentation, which is the generation of labels to describe groups of people within one’s audience. Examples of segments include age, gender, geographic, or socio-economic groups. This enables much more precise targeting. With methods like data modeling and segmentation, DMPs are therefore able to give their clients a return on their data.  

Following from all of this, there is the final benefit of scale.

According to Mark Zagorski, “scale breeds accuracy”. The more data you can collect and access, the more times you can look for anomalies between data sets. Evidently, with so much data available, sorting through it and making sense of it is bound to be difficult. In order to make the most of lookalike modelling, and to ensure it works, one needs to constantly assess and look for anomalies within the data.

Here at the Media Trader, we pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve. We know the crucial role DMPs play in the AdTech industry, and have a strong partnership with Skylads, a digital advertising software company with a dedicated DMP. Therefore, we are confident that we can manage all forms of data, no matter how complex, to generate the best possible results for our clients.

P.S.: 20 days to go until the Web summit, Dublin. See you there!




The modern consumption process (where consumers do extensive online research before they make a purchase, buy products online or using their mobile, etc.) generates a lot of data. In the past, with everything being done on paper, things were a lot more inefficient. Now, however, all of this data can be gathered, shared and transferred much more easily.

In fact, data has become more important than ever before. With brands and advertisers all vying for the attention of the Millennial Generation (consumers under 35, who make up 25% of British adults), there is a massive push towards data-driven marketing. This approach to marketing has been heralded as the main way forward.

A recent report by Turn and Forbes revealed that marketers are six times more likely to report a higher profit when using data-driven marketing.

Indeed, one thing many of the big players can agree on is the importance of data.


A global review of data-driven marketing by GlobalDMA and the Winterberry Group found in its survey of 3,000 marketing professionals that nearly all recognize the importance of data in advertising and customer experience efforts, with over 77 percent saying they're confident in its prospects for future growth.

According to Pierre Naggar, managing director of Turn Europe, “marketers can base their decisions, for marketing campaigns as well as to inform wider business decisions, on what their customers really want, rather than rely on guesswork”.


According to Brendon Ritz, Meltwater’s Growth Hacker,

“Armed with… data, you can make informed decisions to help set goals, surpass them, grow the company, and prove the department’s worth.”


We thought we’d sum this up for you in the following diagram.

Despite the growing importance of data, there are many amongst us who may still fear it, thinking it means complexity and confusion.


After all, as per Brendon Ritz, “some people are uncomfortable with numbers and metrics. For many of us marketers, our strengths are in relationships, language and other softer skills.”

So let us first try to get to grips with exactly what data is.


What is data?

Data refers to the figures and statistics that have been collated for analysis.


Types of Data


First Party Data

This data is collected from your own audience and customers, and it is generally thought of as the most valuable because of its quality. Whatever is decided regarding third-party cookies, first-party data will always be your own – which makes it the safest form of data.

First-party data can come from:

  • Data from an advertiser’s web and mobile analytics tools

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems

  • Transactional systems

  • Data collected from subscriptions and newsletter signups


Second Party Data

Second-party data is first-party data that you can acquire from the source (who collected it). Second-party data can be acquired if you enter into partnership with a particular the person who owns it.

Companies with complementary customer sets (or selling complementary services) can share audience data and extend the insights they’ve derived from their own customer engagement data to enrich customer profiles, reach audiences at scale or help with ad targeting.

An example of this is when you buy a car from Audi or Seat and the information is sent to the mother company, VW, which of course offers complementary services.


Third Party Data

Third party data is collected by external data collection companies (or aggregators) and sold to companies for use. They then analyse the data and express it in summary form.   

Third party data is used to develop marketing segments for targeted marketing initiatives and can either be from data modeling or registration-based data.


  • Data modeling

This refers to when the data is processed, and the range of data is increased to include ‘look-a-likes’ i.e those who could potentially be targeted based on their online behaviour. The accuracy of this is considerably lower than that or registration-based data (i.e 20-50%).


  • Registration-based data

This is when an internet user is registered as a potential buyer based on searches. The accuracy of this is much higher, roughly 70%.


The benefit of third party data is the sheer volume of user data you can access. It can also be used for demographic, behavioural, and contextual targeting. Third party data also plays a critical role in solutions like audience targeting and audience extension.


Here at The Media Trader, we thrive on complexity and no problem is too difficult for us. Using sophisticated algorithms, we are able to process massive amounts of data, no matter how complicated, breaking it down and simplifying it for our clients. We help our clients to make sense of data, turning it into insights that they can use, and therefore producing the best results possible.


P.S.: 21 days to go until the Web summit, Dublin. See you there!





Anyone in the AdTech industry will have heard about words such as ‘Programmatic’ and ‘RTB’ and how they are used by trading desks in programmatic buying.

Just to refresh your memory, real-time bidding refers to the buying and selling of online ad impressions through real-time auctions that occur in the time it takes a webpage to load.

Here’s something to give you an idea of how RTB works.

During the loading of the webpage, the user’s information is passed on to the Ad Exchange which puts the advertising space in an auction, operating on the Second Price rule. This means that the highest bidder wins but the price paid is the second-highest bid.

But what is so good about RTB? Why is everyone in the digital advertising industry talking about it?


In the past, advertising inventory was bought and sold in bulk. (Ad inventory refers to the quantity of ad placements available for selling to advertisers during a given period.) With print media, there are limits as to how much advertising space there is. This is not the case with digital marketing, as it is on the internet, and adverts can be placed in several places. The opportunities are endless. Hence, there was still some available inventory leftover.

In order to monetise the leftover content, publishers pushed this through ad exchanges on an auction basis. Publishers were also able to reap the benefit of the vast amount of data available to them, which made even more precise targeting possible.  

Even though it was publishers who started using RTB to monetise their content,  advertisers soon discovered the many capabilities of RTB as well. So much so that, for some companies, it has become the tool of choice for ad buying. The fact that entire companies that specialise in RTB have sprung up in recent years demonstrates just how well it is working.


When you compare RTB to traditional advertising (for example print and broadcasting), you are sending your message out to the masses. However, you have no idea who is seeing your ad, if they have seen it at all. You don’t even know who your customers are. With programmatic, you are able to target the people you want. You are also more certain that it has been seen by the right people. With RTB, you are able to show them relevant advertising in real time.  


According to Leon Siotis, Director of Media at BrightRoll


“The ability to show the right ad, to the right person at the right time appeals to every advertiser no matter what their intent, and this is something that can only be done if you are making that buying decision in real time.”


So, who does RTB benefit?

RTB can benefit both the buy-side (advertisers) and the sell-side (publishers).



RTB gives advertisers greater control over the performance of their campaigns. It enables them to achieve more targeted results for themselves. This is because RTB ensures that advertisers are immediately reaching their desired audience on more than one website and device. This also increases the scale of their advertising. 

Additionally, as they are serving the right impression to the right audience at the right time, their spending will be more efficient. They no longer have to worry about wasted impressions. (An impression refers to a single instance of an online ad being displayed.) Finally, the auction process dispenses with the need to work directly with publishers or ad networks to negotiate ad prices, offering greater transparency.


RTB can help publishers generate more revenue from their ad inventory. If you refer back to the above diagram, you will remember that the ad exchange auctions the space to the highest bidder. Therefore, the higher the bid, the higher the revenue generated from the sale.

The auction pricing system has resulted in concerns that RTB benefits advertisers at the expense of publishers. After all, since publishers are no longer naming the price, some worry that RTB would result in advertisers paying them less for their inventory.

However, there are ways for publishers to retain control over prices. Publishers can set a price floor (the minimum price at which their inventory is sold). The reserve price must be met in order for a transaction to take place. This enables publishers to open their ads up to an auction while ensuring that they maximise inventory revenue.

Here’s the main takeaway: RTB is no longer a thing of the future; it is our present. The benefit it offers in terms of efficiency, precision targeting, transparency and scale means it is here to stay. The reason everyone in the digital advertising industry is talking about it is because everyone wants a bite of the RTB pie. And yet, it remains something that not everyone has the expertise to do.

Here at the Media Trader, we are a trading desk specialising in the use of RTB to optimise the execution of your ad campaign. Our aim is to help you to reach the right person at the right time on the right device.

P.S.: 25 days to go until the Web summit, Dublin. See you there!





When people think ‘advertising’, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘creative’, and it is true that the industry has long been the domain of creatives. However, with the recent boom in digital media, the spotlight is now being shared by the technological players that make it all possible.