Advertisers, consumers and data: Finding the balance in an era of customization
August 10, 2018
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This post is sponsored by a4.

When it comes to data and consumer tracking, the tables are turning in advertisers’ favor. Multiple surveys are finding that consumers do not mind some data tracking if it means their needs will be customized or there are other incentives involved.

Understanding what data to tap and how to interpret it when it has been collected is a challenge for today’s marketers, as consumers both cling to and move away from traditional forms of media consumption, such as watching television.

A consumer who would likely feel “creeped out” by a customized, traditional TV ad calling on her to take an action that is specific just to her, will feel comfortable with and most likely welcome suggested content from Hulu, Netflix or YouTube on a regular basis. Understanding where to meet consumers in their viewing habits is a complicated matter – but the data and analysis exist for marketers to get it right.

“I think users are starting to warm to the idea of big data and tracking. If it means a better, more relevant transaction, they don’t seem to have an issue with general data-based targeting,” said Paul Haddad, president at Altice and founder of its a4 division. “Advertisers seem to be more concerned with big data and its implications than consumers are.”

The a4 division works specifically with marketers to help them be successful when it comes to addressable advertising and understanding viewing habits. Through targeted technology and customized results, a4 can better meet consumer expectations when it comes to ads served at the right time and in the right context.

It's all about the consumer experience

“When you treat this business as an experience rather than a complex product or chore, it can be amazing. Consumers shouldn’t have to be searching for deals. If we know they are in the market for a car, for a pair of jeans, for a trip, why aren’t we reaching them when they are most ready to transact?” Haddad said. “The smart advertisers who know how to leverage data go after their prospects at the right time and take an active role in reaching out they don’t wait for passive inquiries.”

That data collection should be transparent, Haddad said, and clearly show the benefit of sharing with the marketer for consumer gain. At a4, IP authentication and permission-based data lead all efforts.

“We aren’t using any covert means to collect data,” he said. “If it follows the path of what we are envisioning, it will be a true two-way communication where the recipient of an ad or message can tell advertisers what they are open to receiving and what they want to hear from brands.”

For marketers, having that feedback from their consumer base is a valuable tool in knowing where to go next – and what is actually leading to engagement and conversions. By acting transparently, marketers can glean more content than by trying to do it behind the scenes. It takes a sophisticated form of data tracking and analysis, though, to really inform the process.

“Marketers can feel confident in the fact that the more data you have, the more relevant an experience you will create for the consumer,” Haddad said. “We provide that data based on the audiences that marketers give us. In that way, we are truly meeting the needs of marketers and their consumer base.”