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The Data-ing Game

What to look for in a data vendor to ensure your brand’s “perfect match”

Finding a perfect match is hard, but in both the dating and media landscape, we now can let technology help make the decision for us. Performance, brand safety and industry compliance have become the most brand-focused forms of quality and your varying data partners are the SMEs in validating them. To ensure this quality is reflected in every whitelist and media plan, your match making methodologies should lead you to the partners that prioritize publisher diligence, deprioritize bad placements, and adhere to major industry standards.

The long tail will not fail

Brands want to speak to users when they are most engaged; meanwhile, users can be reached by a plethora of long tail publishers that go above and beyond in generating these premium engagements. Unfortunately, we’re still living in a world where large, well-known publisher sites are considered the best, if not the only places to achieve results. Partnering with this short list of must haves is limiting a brand’s opportunity to deliver an effective message to create a real connection. What do we do? We need to stop excluding the missed opportunity of long tail sites and overlooking vendors who carefully vet them.

It’s easy to fall for the sex appeal of high-profile publishers, but thoroughly vetted, highly-engaged ad environments exist far beyond the comScore top 100. In fact, comScore finds up to two times higher engagement in long tail environments over Google, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat. Qualifiers such as visit frequency, session duration, demographic makeup and category dominance are all indicative of user engagement and should serve as just as much of a basis for whitelist inclusion as scale and reputation. Good content and engaged, desirable audiences are everywhere, so let’s not leave quality video inventory at the altar.

Give the people what they want

Making sure you’re in the right place is key, but once you’re there, your ad format can decide preference or avoidance from users. As the Coalition for Better Ads confirms activation mid-February, ad environments identified as “least preferred” by consumers will be blocked on Google Chrome. Additionally, Google revealed 700 sites that warrant corrective action based on the presence of these poor placements. These flagged sites include major titles that populate many of today’s whitelists such as Forbes, the Los Angeles Times and Life Hacker. Going forward, it’s important to work with vendors whose placements respect the user experience, especially with today’s prevalence of those that are overwhelming and underperforming. Google’s new filter suggests that it won’t be long until other browsers follow suit, so make sure you prioritize the vendor that prioritizes the user.

Let the rules rule

Companies such as MOAT, TAG, IAB and the Coalition for Better Ads are on the rise along with the industry’s emphasis on engagement, viewability, ad fraud, ads.txt and consumer favorability. By providing ways to transact across these metrics, brands can ensure brand safe environments and high performing placements. These forms of validation make it more important than ever to work with partners that adhere to these standards.

For an industry that has become defined by data, there is no reason to let traditional whitelisting strategies dictate your partnership decisions. Nobody likes to settle, so make sure to follow the above steps to ensure your vendors are giving you the quality you deserve.

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