Recap: IAB Data & Mobile Symposium: ‘Data Has to Have Heart’

Highlights from a daylong dive into how publishers and marketers can use data, location, and technology to enhance the consumer experience.

What role does data play in powering the brand economy and the mobile platform? That was the central topic of the IAB Data & Mobile Symposium, held December 5, 2018, in New York City. Industry leaders led a series of workshops, panel discussions, and seminars, exploring ways in which publishers and marketers use data and technology to enhance the consumer shopping experience. Read on for a recap — what follow are highlights of several sessions at the event.

State of Data: Investment Apace

Jonathan Margulies, Managing Director at Winterberry Group, explained how data has grown to reshape the way in which brands think about media and reaching customers across channels. Digital experiences and customer engagement are at the core of any data-driven marketing initiative, said Margulies, and he suggested that consumer-privacy regulation would not slow the industry’s investment in data, but has, in fact, spurred increased spending on data management, processing, and data integration.

Case Study: A Data-Driven Approach

According to Jackson Jeyanayagam, Chief Marketing Officer at Boxed, data alone is not enough when it comes to delivering a relevant customer experience. Data must be paired with a sound personalization strategy and a values-driven ethos. He said the merging of data and storytelling should foster feelings of goodwill in each customer interaction. Jeyanayagam may have summed up a prevailing sentiment of the day, as well, when he said: “Data has to have a heart.”

Data-Driven Creative: Identifying Success

Allison Murphy, Vice President of Ad Innovation at The New York Times, and Edwin Wong, Senior Vice President of Research and Insights at Buzzfeed, spoke about opportunities for creating fresh content in a data-driven environment. Murphy said marketers need to go beyond audience targeting and she advised using contextually-based modeling to predict human responses to content.

Wong said that understanding the consumer lifecycle is critical to any data-driven approach. “When you consider data, you have to think about how the consumer relates it to themselves,” he said. One way to recognize success, he said, is to identify moments in which emotionally connective content creates a consumer experience equating to a “this is so me” or “this is so us” response.

Master Class: Movement Science

Verve took center stage in a workshop on Movement Science. Erin Madorsky, Chief Revenue Officer, described mobile technology as the gateway to the modern consumer, as it links the individual to a full range of digital devices and physical locations.

“You can redefine your entire measurement system and attribution system for a new form of performance metric,” Madorsky said, adding that a device ID matched to a household can give marketers a clearer insight into the individual and household that they are targeting.

Opt-In Value Exchange: Modeling Consumer-Friendly Experiences

Priscilla Valls, who is Pandora’s Vice President of Agency/Advertiser/Industry Development, and Agatha Bochenek, Global Head of Advertising Sales at Unity, defined opt-in value exchange ads as premium content that offers consumers rewards in return for their time and interaction with a brand.

Valls said this type of ad works toward establishing a deeper relationship with consumers, driving a lift in both purchase intent and brand awareness. Bochenek said she hopes opt-in exchange ads will stimulate creativity in such formats as augmented reality, playable mini-games, and mobile video. She also noted certain advantages around assuaging consumer-privacy concerns: “With this ad unit, you get a consumer who actively chooses to engage with the brand, so there is transparency and a higher-quality impression,” she said.

Consumer Privacy Update

In the final session of the day, IAB Senior Director of International, Alex Propes, moderated a conversation between Alysia Borsa, Meredith Corporation’s Chief Marketing and Data Officer, and Joshua Lowcock, Executive Vice President, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer and USA/Global Brand Safety Officer for UM Worldwide, on the widely-discussed issue of consumer privacy.

In Borsa’s opinion, the ad-tech and mar-tech industries need to address consumer privacy by using first-party platforms to obtain high-quality data. Lowcock also emphasized the importance of transparency, and suggested data-labeling and informed consent could be fueled by regulatory measures that strengthen consumer privacy.

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