Big data can mean big business

Data nightmares: The tangible costs of bad data

Christophe Thibault
© Shutterstock / Maximumm

Digital advertising relies on good insights from users. But how can a mobile marketing strategy be effective with ‘bad’ data? Christophe Thibault explains how developers can harness the power of big data in their digital marketing strategies without running into the nightmares of broken data.

For any organization looking to succeed on mobile today, harnessing the power of data can improve customer acquisition and retention by enabling personalization, ultimately offering a better customer experience. The effectiveness of a data-based strategy is achieved through high quality, first-party data, which maps the entire mobile user journey and fuels purpose-built AI technology to deliver business results. But what happens when the data is ‘bad’ or questionable? This could lead to an absolute marketing nightmare and could consequently advise some horrific business decisions based on inaccurate or circumstantial facts. Data is considered by some as ‘the new oil’. However, much like relying on low-quality oil, it can lead to more problems than you may have bargained for if used incorrectly.

The tangible costs of bad data

Bad data provides an incomplete view of the mobile user journey, as organizations only see what happens inside their own apps, sites, or ecosystem. In many cases, the increasingly complex and siloed range of tech solutions on offer today has often led to poorly integrated data, insights, and activation. Aside from this lack of quality data, consumer unease towards the lack of transparency around how their data is both collected and used makes it impossible for marketers to run effective campaigns without fully taking into account users’ privacy.

Data fuels the algorithms that lead to great artificial intelligence, making it a powerful tool to build brand loyalty and meet users’ needs. However, if the data isn’t analyzed in depth, it could lead to companies spending large sums of their budget on marketing campaigns that just don’t appeal to their consumers – or simply target the wrong people. In fact, IBM estimate that mismanaged bad data costs the U.S. economy alone $3 trillion per year.

A thorough analysis of credible data can uncover consumer patterns and reveal issues that consumers might be facing that might otherwise be ignored. These issues can include things like cart abandonment, product defects, language used for marketing or the time that campaigns are posted, all of which ultimately affect conversion rates negatively. It’s crucial for brands to be able to understand their needs and cater to them accordingly. This is especially true in a continuously evolving marketing landscape, where consumers are used to on-demand and personalized services.

Most would think that it’s all about quantity over quality, as the term ‘big data’ implies. However, if you’re targeting certain users because they visited a website or an app on an ad hoc basis, you won’t achieve optimal results as you only see a snippet of their journey and not the full picture. For example, if you happen to be discussing the latest Tesla with a friend and look it up on the official website, does that necessarily mean you are in the market for a new Model S? Analyzing the rest of your mobile journey might well reveal otherwise.

Consistency and visibility over the complete user journey is key here. To achieve that, you’ll need transparent, credible, and consented first-party data. This is the only way to access the end-to-end, fully integrated insights that deliver the highest returns from digital investments. But on mobile, brands only see the part of the consumer journey that happens in their own apps, mobile sites, and ecosystem. There is no way for them to see the full user journey, with 95 % of a mobile users’ journey remaining a mystery. Even the giant walled gardens of Facebook and Google only see a third of a user’s time on mobile. This means that offering a meaningful and personalized mobile experience is reliant on educated guess work at best.

The same goes for the data your CRM receives. As you only see your own first-party data, you don’t know the mobile habits of consumers across the remaining 4 hours and 59 minutes a day that they aren’t on your app or site. If you are using third-party data to fill some of these gaps, chances are you’re not collecting them from the most reliable sources.

Avoid the nightmares with Mobile Journey Marketing

So, just how can your business wake up from this ‘data nightmare’? The solution lies within Mobile Journey Marketing (MJM), a new discipline of marketing that enables organizations to understand the entire mobile user journey, and to market across it. MJM is founded on three basic principles – effectiveness, simplicity, and transparency.

Effectiveness is achieved through high-quality, first-party data, which maps the entire mobile user journey and fuels purpose-built AI technology to deliver business results. Simplicity is attained by breaking down existing silos in which current tech platforms operate and integrating technology in one place by using purpose-built AI to remove unnecessary and tedious human labor. Transparency is brought about through explicit and unambiguous user choice management; from opting-in to exercising their right to be forgotten.

Don’t let bad data break your business – GDPR is also a great opportunity to deal with this problem once and for all, especially when it comes to marketing. Explicitly asking users for consent will ensure that your marketing team will be able to provide more sophisticated, targeted messages and engender consumer trust by delivering what they actually want to see. With targeted marketing based on consented user data, there’s a chance to truly move the needle on the idea of adverts becoming more like personalized recommendations and less like annoyances to be suffered through. In that sense, this is not only an opportunity for businesses to deal with poor data, but also a responsibility to finally change consumer perceptions towards advertising.


Christophe Thibault

Christophe Thibault is the Chief Algorithms Officer at Ogury.

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