How does Google’s Ads Data Hub Affect My Analytics? (Part III of the Ads Data Hub Series)

Note: We provided an overview of Ads Data hub in Part 1, and how Ads Data Hub will impact DMP’s in Part 2. This post covers data lakes and how analytics will be impacted in the Ads Data Hub world.

Many large brands today have set up “data lakes” where all their data gets stored and made available to other applications for processing and analysis. These data lakes combined with business intelligence tools such as Tableau have created powerful analytics environments where brands can answer questions such as:

  • What customer segment is most responding to my ads?
  • Which ads are leading to the most amount of lifetime customer value?
  • Do people who see my ads spend more with me?
  • Am I spending more money to reach my customers than they are spending with me?

Brands have staffed up data analysts and data scientists to make sense of all this data and answer these important business questions to improve strategy and validate what partners are telling the brand.

Data lakes ultimately rely on data to flow into them. Google’s recent changes with Ads Data Hub keeps data locked within Google Cloud and cannot be combined outside of Google’s controlled environment. As a result, data lakes for marketing are under threat by recent changes by Google.

Data Lakes without Data

Consequently brands with sensitive customer data are forced to decide whether to upload that data to Google to run in a Google-controlled data lake or keep it off the Google Cloud where they’ll need to find other vendors to solve their needs for tracking, analyzing, and modeling.

If you want to maintain control of your own data lake and preview it from drying up, talk to Thunder about our Experience Measurement solution today!

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How does Google’s Ads Data Hub Affect My Data Management Platform (DMP)? (Part II of the Ads Data Hub series)

Note: We provided an overview of Ads Data hub in Part 1. In this post, we look at how Ads Data Hub will impact DMP’s in general.

Data management platforms (DMPs) power the marketer’s ability to track, segment, and target audiences across programmatic media. Leading DMP solutions include Salesforce DMP (previously known as Krux), Neustar IDMP, Oracle BlueKai and Adobe Audience Manager

If you weren’t paying close attention, you may not realize that the changes Google have announced have blown a hole in your DMP.

 

Two major capabilities are affected by the pending DoubleClick ID removal from logs and push toward using Google’s Ads Data Hub: (1) segmentation and (2) frequency capping.

First, marketers currently use DMPs to create new audience segments based on media exposure. A DMP can keep track of media exposure if its own tags/pixels can run with the ad, but on many publisher inventory such as Google’s Ad Exchange, DMPs are banned from running their code. These publishers are worried about data leakage, which happens when the DMP pixels proprietary audiences on media (such as sports lovers on ESPN.com) and purchased these users elsewhere without paying the publisher.

Historically, the DMP could still get a record of media exposure from the ad server such as DoubleClick, which would share data on who saw the ads running. Using DoubeClick’s data, the marketer could then still segment audiences within the DMP based on who saw the ad, who converted, etc.

Now that Google has discontinued the sharing of logs with IDs, DMPs are no longer able to see media exposure on either inventories on which they are explicitly banned and or inventories where they are allowed to operate but that Google’s DoubleClick ad server is used by the advertiser. If DMPs are to continue to be useful to the marketer, they will need a new source of data.

Second, some marketers use DMPs to create frequency caps across media platforms. By getting their pixel/code to run with an ad, or by ingesting ad serving logs, DMPs can count impressions exposed to a particular user ID and then send a signal to platforms like DSPs to stop buying a user after a certain amount of exposure. However, without log level data, DMPs will not be able to count frequency for inventory in which they are banned, leading to less accurate frequency measurement and therefore less precise frequency capping.

How do I keep my DMP running at full performance?

Marketers who have invested in a DMP and want to keep its capabilities at full power would be advised to either buy more digital media that allow DMP tracking or find an alternative ad tracking or serving solution that can data transfer log files to the DMP. A combination of these two strategies would allow a brand to continue using its DMP to its fullest by giving the DMP the complete picture of ad exposure tied to person.

If you want to add an independent ad tracker to your DoubleClick stack or to keep powering your DMP with data, talk to Thunder about our Experience Measurement solution. Otherwise, stay tuned for Part III to learn more analytics in the Ads Data Hub world.

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What is Google’s Ads Data Hub and is it right for me? (Part I of the Ads Data Hub series)

Note: This is a multi-part series analyzing Ads Data Hub and its impact on marketer’s Data Management Platform (Part II) and Analytics (Part III).

What happened to DoubleClick?

Most marketers today use DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM) as their primary ad server for delivering ads and tracking ad exposure to conversion. The largest advertiser and most sophisticated advertisers relied on DCM data to do analytics, attribution, and media activation.

These advertisers would “data transfer” log-level data (the raw data for each impression rather than the aggregate data that hides user-level and impression-level information) to their data management platform, data lakes, and vendors that do analytics or attribution modeling.

 

In April, Google announced it will no longer allow data transfer of DoubleClick log-level data with IDs. This decision effectively destroyed most of the value of the log-level data exported from DCM because advertisers wouldn’t know who saw the ads but only how often an ad in total was served. DoubleClick could be used only to verify that the total amount of impressions bought were actually delivered but all the other powerful use cases like analytics, attribution, and data management would no longer be possible with DoubleClick data.

In June, Google announced it was sunsetting DoubleClick as a brand and folding everything under Google’s brand.

R.I.P. DoubleClick.

Enter Google Ads Data Hub

At the same time, Google pushed forward its own solution to this new problem for marketers — Ads Data Hub. This product is essentially a data warehouse where ad exposure data is housed and can be connected to Google’s own solutions for attribution, analytics, and data management.

One new benefit is access to the Google ID, which is a powerful cross-device ID that uses data from users logging into Google services like Android, Maps, YouTube, etc. Previously, DoubleClick was only tracking and sharing a cookie-based DoubleClick ID, which neither connected cross-device ad exposure and conversion nor reconciled multiple IDs to the same person. For many advertisers doing log-level data analysis and activation, this new ID is a big upgrade because it provides more accurate measurement.

One major downside is that this data cannot leave Ads Data Hub. Consequently, you cannot do independent verification of Google’s attribution or analytics modeling. If Google says Google performs better than its competitors, you will have to trust Google at its word. In the past, you would at least have the raw data to apply your own attribution model if you so wanted, or to re-run Google’s calculations to verify its accuracy (since big companies are not infallible).

By extension, outside ad tech providers (such as DMPs, MTA, etc.) who may be best in-class will have a much harder time working with Google solutions. As a result, you will be dependent on Google.

To do matching of off-Google data such as other ad exposure or conversions that happen offline, Ads Data Hub now requires you to upload and store your customer data in the Google Cloud. In that environment, it can be matched with Google’s ID and tracking so you can build a Google-powered point of view of the consumer journey.

In a way, Ads Data Hub is for those who trust but don’t need to verify. It is a good solution for advertisers who today spend the vast majority (75%+) of their ad budget with Google because ultimately if their advertising isn’t working, no matter what Google says about how it is performing, it would be ultimately accountable for the results. You wouldn’t need to verify calculations to know if your ad budget is wasted.

What else can I do?

Another solution is to add independent ad serving and/or tracking in addition to or in replacement of Google. By doing so, you can still generate log-level data for Google-sold media but it will not be tied to a Google ID. Instead, you will be using your own ID or a vendor’s cross-device ID to understand who saw what ad when, where, and how often.

This approach is best suited for large advertisers who want best in class ad tech solutions to work together, and who cannot spend all their money on a single media platform to achieve their desired results. Typically brands large enough to afford data lakes, independent attribution providers, and data management platforms are the ones who will have the most to lose by moving to Ads Data Hub.

If you already realize you want to take a trust, but verify approach in your ads, talk to Thunder about our Experience Measurement solution. Otherwise, Stay tuned for Part II to learn more about the fallout from Ads Data Hub.

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What CMO’s Say About Ad Experiences

Marc Pritchard famously said “It is time for marketers and tech companies to solve the problem of annoying ads and make the ad experience better for consumers.”

What do his peers think? The CMO Club has partnered with Thunder to publish a “Guide to Solving Bad Ad Experiences,” which includes a survey of over 80 CMOs and an interview with the CMO of Farmers Insurance on the impact of bad ads and how people-based marketing can fix them.

Some key findings include:
  • 74% of CMOs consider brand loyalty as most negatively affected by bad ads
  • 55%+ of CMOs consider frequency and relevancy as the top factors in bad ads
  • 78% of CMOs consider it “inexcusable” to serve ads for products the customer already bought from them
  • 71% of CMOs consider frequency capping important for ad experience but 60% aren’t confident in even their frequency counting!

Click here to download the full research report.

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What is a CMP?

CMP is the hot adtech acronym of 2018. There are actually two meanings to this term: (1) Creative Management Platform and (2) Consent Management Platform. Here’s an overview of both these products and why you may need one.

Creative Management Platform

Introduced in 2016 by Thunder, the CMP acronym original stood for “creative management platform,” a tool for producing and trafficking ad creatives. Rather than just a general purpose creative editor like Adobe Photoshop or Animate, which are applications built for a single designer to use by him or herself, CMPs are meant for an enterprise that has a scale issue with creative.

Many brands, agencies and publishers are increasingly needing to build ads in different sizes and versions for different audiences and media formats. Consequently, creative production demands have grown exponentially while most creative organizations can only scale linearly in their capability by adding more designers and programmers. Because traditional creative editors were built for highly advanced users, a creative bottleneck formed as demand went up and not enough talent or payroll existed to fill the void.

Creative Management Platforms radically simplified ad production by providing easier interfaces and automated production tasks like re-sizing. Forrester began recognizing CMPs in 2017 as part of their broader creative ad tech research which has been timed with the rise in enterprise demand for new marketing creative technologies.

Consent Management Platform

Introduced in 2018, the new CMP acronym stands for “consent management platform.” The European privacy laws known as GDPR required publishers and marketers to obtain explicit consent for certain tracking and targeting data. As a result, a new category of tools emerged to specifically help these enterprises collect and keep track of user consent.

The CMP then feeds that consent information tied to an ID to other selected partners in the digital advertising supply chain. As a result, every party in a publisher’s supply chain understands what data they may use and for what.

Which CMP do I need?

It depends if you’re looking to solve a creative problem or a data privacy problem. Talk to Thunder if you need help with your data-driven creative problems or digital creative production problems. Check out these consent management vendors if you’re looking to solve a privacy preference problem.

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