With marketers furiously trying to make sense of the data they collect to make it actionable, and in many cases trying to find scale once they do, there are some common myths that are being repeated around the industry at events, that only make data acquisition more difficult. Here are some of the more common myths making the rounds;

“First-party data is all I need” – While this may be true for getting to know who is visiting your site, making purchases, and engaging to a certain degree, it will only take you so far. Studies have shown that minus the truly loyal customers you see most often, first party data as a source to find buyers is actually one of the worst places to look. While it will give you an idea of who is coming to the site and engaging with your brand, conversion rates have been lackluster at best. If you are marketing to drive growth a combination of first and third-party data using targeted in market data or “look alike” probabilistic data has shown to drive growth and conversions rates much higher than the average.

“Everyone has the same data” – In the world of 3rd party data where data is openly traded and many have not only their own sources of data but also aggregate data from others it would seem this is likely. The biggest difference between most suppliers is how fresh the data is and the scale to which they can provide the data. Keep in mind many marketers believe the third party market is a bazaar where you can get large sums of data cheap because suppliers are always willing to undercut each other. While this may be true for some to no ones’ surprise, just like any other industry, data suppliers talk and typically know what the going rate is for specific kinds of data. Keep in mind if you got a really cheap price it typically will mean you got what you paid for and the results will show that.

“Data is hard to find at scale” – While this can sometimes be true, it is not always the case. Like anything else, the more niché the category the smaller the audiences will be. Consider what type of data you are looking for first. If you are looking for targeted in market consumer data, chances are the audiences are going to be much smaller than those who are probabilistic and in the shopping around phase or price comparison phase. There may also be geographic anomalies to deal with as well depending on the categories. Some areas like Los Angeles may be great to market to for Autos while other like New York may have much smaller audiences because of the number of people working in the city and using public transportation.

“Data bakes” are the best way to find good data” – While a “data bake” may serve a purpose for the uninitiated, it doesn’t always give the answers you may be looking for as a marketer. Many data providers are also becoming weary f providing free data samples for test periods that seem to go on forever only to get shelved and then revived at a later date with yet another request for “fresh data”. If you are considering a data bake to help you prove a use case or build a case for a product, it is always a best practice to have a plan in place and know exactly what data you are looking for that will prove or disprove the use case, have set goals for the test and benchmarks that are clearly defined, and be realistic on budget making that clear before entering a data test. There is nothing more stressful to both sides than unclear objectives and goals and ambiguous expected outcomes during the test phases. Making sure you know what sample size will also help show a relative sample to give meaningful results is important as well. Going to a data supplier and asking for a sample size of 2MM mobile ID’s for a category that has only 6MM in market consumers will likely meet some pushback.

“Most data is flawed because traffic, in general, is flawed” – The best advice here is to know your source. A good data provider will have URL-level information at the least for online data, know their sources, have good knowledge as to where the data comes from as well as insight into things like privacy and opt-in policies. In many cases, they may also have offline data they are able to attribute things like IP or latitude and longitude back to a household at the very least. In many cases, it helps to ask if they use any type of confidence score on the accuracy of their traffic as well.

The bottom line – Having fresh accurate third party data to augment and /or validate first party data is not a sin and can help drive the growth and engagement you are looking for. If you are looking for high converting traffic it is best to use highly targeted, deterministic, third party data to augment the first party data you have. If you are looking to “brand” then using probabilistic third party data to get more scale is acceptable. Try to avoid the “close enough” mentality when buying data as it will only get results that typically are not “close enough” to the KPI’s you have in mind.

Datastream’s OneDB records are all opted in, and consumers can be targeted offline by postal and telemarketing efforts, and online by keyword, interest, and intent. Audiences can be targeted by intent to purchase categories, IP Address (B2B & B2C), and by a device (desktop, tablet, and smartphone). Data can be licensed for append purposes, marketing purposes, and hygiene & verification uses. Datastream will also enhance and enrich a company’s existing records through their OneDB platform.

Datastream has a competitive edge licensing their data because there is a large appetite in the current market for a marriage of digital identities to households. The Consumer Master File is built from active online consumer and business audiences and can be traced back to a postal address. You can also find our data on platforms like LiveRamp datastore, Lotame, and others. For custom requests, contact us to build audiences for you using keyword and or location data. We specialize in that. (bryan@datastreamgroup.com)