Edwina Dunn, one of the most highly respected figures in the data marketing industry, has warned brand owners of the dangers of programmatic advertising, insisting that by relying on machine learning alone, they are missing out on the chance to build lifetime value with customers.
Programmatic advertising has risen to dominate the digital display market in just a few years, having accounted for just 13% of display adspend in 2012. According to an eMarketer study, programmatic is expected to account for more than three quarters of all digital display spend in 2017.
But in a blog post, the co-founder of DunnHumby – who is now chief executive of Starcount – claims that while programmatic promises highly-targeted marketing, in practice it often fails to deliver.
She writes: “Programmatic doesn’t understand and distinguish between people’s impulsive browsing history or one-off buys and the purchases driven by genuine, long-term passions, motivations and mindsets. One curious click on a dress you never intended to buy and said dress will pop up on every website you browse for weeks to come.
“You can’t just match offers to generic audiences; a truly effective data strategy helps you to understand why people are in those audiences in the first place – the motivations and mindsets that put them there – and adapt your marketing strategy appropriately.”
Dunn claims that a much more effective alternative is using sophisticated data techniques to understand customers’ lifestages.
“Instead of relying on machine learning alone, brands must work on making the most of their own transaction data, combining it with new big data like social intelligence to create an enhanced understanding of real customers. A truly effective data strategy allows you to know your customers so well that you don’t have to rely on an algorithm to decide how and when you speak to them.”
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