• Digital marketing has changed a lot over the past decade. With the explosion of data and technology, measurement has become all at once more accessible and more complex.

    That’s why it was so important for the RampUp Virtual Summit: Intro to People-Based Measurement opening keynote, Brian Andersen of LUMA Partners, to take us through the history of digital marketing, so we understand what people-based measurement means to its present and future.

    The Desktop as Digital’s Stone Age

    The digital measurement story starts with the first digital channel: desktop websites. Website owners wanted to understand what was happening on their site, and how that compared to other websites.

    This gave birth to the two main categories of web analytics (page views, clicks, exit rates, etc) and web audience measurement (site rankings, audience composition, competitive benchmarks, etc).

    While once an entire family shared a single desktop, today’s consumers typically have several devices and spend the majority of their time on mobile. But not all mobile usage is the same: On average, people spend 87% of their time on mobile on apps, and 13% on the mobile web.

    While mobile web traffic can be analyzed through traditional web analytics and audience measurement, “the rest, and again the majority of time spent on mobile, cannot be addressed because there’s no cookie paradigm there,” said Andersen.

    The continued growth of programmatic ad buying has introduced its own set of challenges. For desktop, these include fraud, viewability, and brand safety, and for mobile, click spammers and injection, domain spoofing, viewability fraud, and more.

    “If you’re measuring things that are generated by bots or not even viewed by consumers, that’s false measurement,” said Andersen. “So all of these issues need to be addressed in order to have clean measurement systems.”

    Walled Gardens

    But no account of digital marketing and its impact on marketing measurement would be complete without the development of walled gardens. Between 85% and 100% of all incremental ad dollars spent have gone to walled gardens like Facebook and Google.

    Walled gardens get their name from the lush offerings within their platforms and their embargo on allowing data to exit. While they don’t completely do away with some of the problems inherent in programmatic buying today, their improved targeting capabilities have made them an attractive and profitable channel for marketers.

    Indeed they are no paradise, and their biggest issue has been transparency. “The common complaint you hear from marketers is ‘the walled gardens are grading their own homework, and I don’t know if I can trust them,’” said Andersen.

    Marketing’s People-Based Evolution

    Most of digital advertising today has been built around cookies. But cookies aren’t people, and as people spend more time on mobile devices, the cookie paradigm crumbles.

    Enter people-based marketing. People-based ties all of those proxies together, along with offline identifiers and data, so marketers can focus on speaking to, and measuring the behavior of, real consumers.

    People-based marketing and people-based measurement are only possible with first-party data. Facebook was the first of the walled gardens to get its first-party data in place with Customer Audience, followed by Google with Customer Match.

    “The reason it works so well for them is that they have billions of users, therefore you have a data pool in order to target appropriately,” said Andersen. To go beyond the walled gardens, marketers need to look for identity resolution providers and build identity into their data management process.

    In the end, people-based marketing is uniting the entire marketing and advertising tech funnel, with identity at it’s core. “When you know the person, instead of using a proxy, you are measuring real results,” said Andersen, “and can truly optimize the customer experience to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.”

    So, we can see how far we’ve come from measuring desktop browser traffic. And the journey to measurement nirvana is far from over. Marketing’s use of people-based measurement and data will only explode further as data management platforms become ubiquitous and more robust, and artificial intelligence increases demand for people-based data for real-time optimization.

    Learn more about the importance of people-based measurement and how it will become the fuel for artificial intelligence in marketing by watching Brian Andersen’s keynote, Why People-Based Measurement is the Next Big Thing.

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