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5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Evaluating Your Data Sources

Posted on by Jonathan Collins, Head of Data

Companies spent more than $20 billion on third-party data in 2017, a number expected to rise in 2018. There’s no question that we’re becoming more and more data-centric by the day, but are we properly evaluating this data? How can we actualize the potential of the wealth of data available to us?

Here are five key questions to keep in mind when evaluating your data sources.

Data buyers welcome. Learn more about Kiip’s first-party, mobile data at scale.

1. What data will compliment your first-party data?

At the end of the day, first-party data is often the most valuable data an advertiser or agency possesses. That said, there are often gaps in the first-party data and it is those gaps that third-party data should fill. An obvious example is layering HHA data onto first-party to further segment by buying power.

2. What is the source of this data?

The most important characteristic of any data segment is how the underlying raw data was obtained. Census reports, public records, transactions, searches, social activity, physical location visits, cookie data, mobile event data - any or all can be the source of a particular segment.  Fyeror many of these sources, there are further considerations such as was the data collected from an SDK versus the bid stream, how strong were the search intent signals, and at what point in the buying cycle was the transactional data derived.

3. How fresh is the data?

Just as with food, some data is better when it is fresh, while some can sit on the shelf for a while.  The lifespan of data indicating an in-market auto buyer is longer than that of in-market television purchaser. But, a data point indicating that a trip to a coffee shop is likely in the next few hours would ideally be near real time and refreshed daily.  An obvious example is weather data. Though there are use cases for historic weather data, knowing it is going to snow in the next 12 hours is a timely data point to connect to a sale on rock salt or snow shoes.  

4. What are you using this data for? How does this data relate to the KPI of the campaign?

At least in advertising, data should ultimately support the campaign KPIs versus checking the box for a particular audience reached.  If the goal is awareness, layering on two many data segments will reduce reach to the point where broad awareness is not possible. If the goal is to drive acquisition, knowing interest can be useful but equally important is looking at data that would indicate past engagement with acquisition campaigns.  

5. Cost/ Scale of the data

Data segments are typically sold in two ways.  First is a CPM tied to a particular segment and second is a syndicated agreement with a third party data provider tied to monthly volume or some other parameter.  CPMs can range anywhere from $.50 to $2.50 or higher depending on the premium nature of the data. Determining which is most cost effective will require forecasting out usage and backing that into a CPM.

See how we approach data, or schedule a meeting with our team today by emailing

Tagged data, Audience

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