Advertisers can choose from more than 20 demographic data vendors for ad targeting. So, how important is choosing the right one? Quantcast partnered with Mediasmith to find out by testing the accuracy of 11 leading demographic targeting vendors in a controlled study. In a Spotlight session at the iMedia Agency Summit in Rancho Palos Verdes, Art Prateepvanich, head of product marketing for Quantcast, reviewed the surprising results and the steps buyers should take to hold media sellers and data vendors accountable.
Prateepvanich kicked off the presentation by comparing the demographic data industry with that of the cereal industry -- one where variety also reigns. But selecting a breakfast cereal is a subjective process in which every consumer is driven by a different goal, ranging from health benefits to vibrant colors and sugar-packed tastiness. That's not the case with data. Although marketers choose vendors based on different criteria, the ultimate goal is the same: accuracy.
And so, accuracy lift (the percent lift in accuracy compared to an untargeted campaign) was the measure by which Quantcast looked to evaluate demographic data vendors in its Mediasmith-conducted study. Using both Nielsen and comScore validation methods, the study conducted targeting tests across 11 vendors, with six segments each, for a three-week flight across brand-safe inventory in the U.S. and U.K. Shockingly, vendor accuracy lift ranged from 5 percent all the way up to 183 percent, with Quantcast achieving the highest lifts across the boards.
So, asked Prateepvanich, are marketers getting what they paid for? Some, most assuredly, are not. He noted the following four key takeaways from the study:
Variation. Validation services reveal surprising variation in data vendor accuracy. Proper data vendor selection can translate to three times lower in-target CPMs, as well as three times lower GRP costs.
"High composition" solutions. Premium targeting doesn't always live up to its billing. Although Quantcast's premium targeting was found to deliver well above all others in accuracy lift, others failed to demonstrate accuracy lift as high as some standard solutions.
U.K. limitations. In the U.K., most solutions are severely constrained in their targeting abilities. Nine of the 11 solutions studied failed to achieve minimum impression thresholds set in the study.
The right way to compare. Because composition varies by inventory and segment, evaluate your own targeting options by comparing accuracy lift vs. an untargeted control.