Does Data Even Tell Marketers What They Need to Know?
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Does Data Even Tell Marketers What They Need to Know?

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Social media brought about the boom in targeted marketing, and for most it has proven a very effective way to advertise to the right people in the right way. The question is; how sure are we that we are actually targeting the right people? There are countless people purchasing data all over the web in order to grow their advertising potential, but what makes this data accurate? It has been working, but has it been through luck or through the actual accuracy of this targeting data. Well, most would argue that the data they are using is quite accurate, and that questioning it just brings unnecessary complications to the complicated process that purchasing and using data already is. Regardless, a new survey from a company called Enliken, which deals in the business of first party data direct from the consumer, shows that the data being used by most marketers on the web today is far from as accurate as they may have come to believe.

The survey is available for anyone to take, in order to see whether the data advertisers are using to target them accurately depicts their individual interests and information. However, for informative purposes let’s stick to the averages that the company has found from about 116 people. Clearly, the survey didn’t reach many people and it covered around 9,000 data points, but the information that was found can still be informative. The data points come from some of the most well-known tracking firms on the web.

The average is not too good, but it is not too bad either. In fact, it lies square in the middle, with only an average of 50 percent of data being accurate to online consumers’ interests and other information. While 13 percent of the survey’s respondents concluded the survey by finding that the accuracy of data used to target them was uncertain, another 37 percent finished finding that the data used for them was entirely inaccurate.

The good news is that marketers seem to be pulling back on the use of sensitive data for marketing, with 65 percent of data used for targeting consumers being harmless, and only about 15 percent showing as sensitive data.

To break it down by company, the survey results tell us that the highest amount of accurate data comes from none other than Google, with 68 percent of data being accurate. Next in line was Exelate, with 58 percent of the data the company uses showing as accurate. Bluekai came next with 49 percent, Aol had 45 percent, and Yahoo only hit about 40 percent for accurate data. Yahoo also had the highest percentage of inaccurate data after excluding that which was uncertain. Yahoo’s percentage for inaccurate data hit 48 percent, higher than their accurate percentage.

This just shows the importance of thinking hard about where your data comes from. It is a waste of time and money to target consumers when the data used to do so is completely off base. These days, it seems data makes the world go round, and its accuracy is key to its effectiveness.

Written by Michael Levanduski

Michael Levanduski is the assistant editor of Performance Markting Insider. He fell into the world of freelance writing several years ago quite by accident, but knew quickly that it would be something he loved from then on. He has been honing his craft ever since. In addition to writing about performance and internet marketing, Michael enjoys researching and writing on a wide range of different subjects ranging from dog training to current events and just about anything else you can imagine. Michael was born in Grand Rapids, MI where he still lives with his wife and three children.

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