Want To Use Carrier Data? 4 Things You Must Know To Maximize Performance

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Brian Chap, founder of Tech Recipes.

Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple may have some of the best data on the market, but they lack the ability to provide the most intimate consumer insights that only carrier data can provide.

But successfully using mobile phone carrier data, offered by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, requires unique strategies and implementation techniques to maximize control and transparency.

If you plan to bring carrier data into your advertising strategy here’s what you need to understand.

Know what you’re buying

Carrier data can include location, search behavior, age and income. These attributes sound great, but as demand increases, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re buying, and how this data is sold and can be applied. After all, carriers charge a nontransparent margin in excess of 20-30%.

Carrier data is bundled in a larger package that includes second-party and third-party data as well as direct and/or indirect inventory. This means that the carrier will take inventory that can only be purchased through a contract (direct) and package it with data and programmatic inventory (indirect) to sell a blended CPM to have more campaign delivery flexibility.

These packages make it difficult to parse out carrier data performance from the larger bundle.

Also, carrier data is unsecured due to the lack of federal regulation and can put your brand at risk.

Know whether the data is right for you

According to The Wall Street Journal, carriers spent the past decade investing $90 million in tech and content to create a scalable solution with the potential to close the consumer marketing loop.

There are pros and cons when using carrier data but one thing’s for sure: when two influential companies such as AT&T and WarnerMedia come together their data sets need to be organized before all of the kinks are worked out.

Here’s what you need to know to consider if this data is right for you.

  1. Purchase Data: What and how much consumers are purchasing isn’t being collected by the carriers. This is because they don’t own the commerce (e.g. Amazon) or payment technology (e.g. Apple Pay).
  2. Closed Loop: A scalable media solution won’t exist until SVOD/AVOD platforms acquire enough registration data to properly sequence the message across all consumer touchpoints.
  3. Verification: Reporting happens at the package level leaving no room to understand how much carrier data you actually purchased.

Know how carrier data gets activated

The activation workflow is the same as any other campaign with the exception of ownership and transparency. While you will continue to work with the seller in a collaborative manner, the granular detail and operations will be managed by the carrier who owns the data.

First, selecting the data set is based on a consumer target profile or product category and competitive insight recommended by the seller.

Next, the seller combines carrier with second-party or third-party data through their internal systems and runs it across O&O and non-O&O inventory to maximize revenue.

Finally, the seller supplies reporting with limited granularity into each component of the package.

Know how to maximize performance

Carrier data has the potential to promote a better consumer experience and media engagement but only if you hold the owners accountable. As this data becomes more prevalent, it’s important to remember the history of walled gardens so as to not repeat it. Here are three workarounds you can use to mitigate risk and maximize performance.

  1. Audience Match: Push first-party data through an identity partner such as LiveRamp or Throttle to confirm the match rate prior to purchasing.
  2. Analytics: Negotiate a carrier data line item within the ad server, to gain performance and weighting transparency.
  3. Sales Lift: Include a match market study to test data prior to a scaled investment.

Carrier data has the opportunity to reinvent the upfront model and impact how consumers interact with video. This is good news for linear as it has been seeing audience declines as high as 25% since 2015.

With better targeting and 54% of all TV homes ready for addressable TV, according to the Video Advertising Bureau, it’s likely that more linear inventory will be transitioned to digital to keep up with demand.

If carriers are successful, they will be able to connect every lead, opportunity, and customer to the initial marketing campaign to determine which drove the best ROI, which will let buyers move past TV measurement limitations and into one-to-one targeting at scale.

Follow Brian Chap on LinkedIn and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.