Staff Writer
Sep 7, 2016

Partnerships key to creating data transparency

New media landscapes and consumption habits challenge the way marketers define their target audience. Delegates at GroupM's data conference Digital Momentum heard how data partnerships are moving the needle in consumer profiling.

Partnerships key to creating data transparency

Partnership between many players in the data industry is a reliable way to combat the issues of transparency, accuracy and efficiency, as heard at Digital Momentum conference last Thursday.

Higher rates of viewability, "zero fraud" and transparency of transactions were discussed widely at the 2016 edition held in Shanghai and opened by GroupM China CEO Patrick Xu. “Marketers have to innovate constantly to generate the maximum ROI and utilise technologies to realise the value of data," Xu said. "Most importantly, they must know the viewability level of their advertising in order to identify fraud and maintain brand safety.”

The new normal

The traditional marketer approach to define target audiences was also challenged at the conference. Benjamin Wei, head of mobile for GroupM China, described how the old method looked like: through previous research, past experience or even imagination.

Wei, who leads GroupM's mobile service product Hummingbird, also touched on how the old ways led to inaccurate insights, chaotic targeting and eventually yielded bad results for clients. With partnerships aross data partners Getui, Talking Data, Alibaba and Tencent, Wei said he believes data was only the starting point of innovation, emphasising that how you use data is more important than creating it.

Rob Norman, chief digital officer of GroupM Worldwide, chimed in on a call for marketers to “create new muscle memory”. 

“We need to think more about how people actually use media and platforms and think about how to create value beyond advertising that ushers in a new kind of brand love built on a combination of exposure, experience, value exchange, participation and sharing,” he said.

Liu Peng, author of Computational Advertising, said in one of the panels that he believed brand marketers should not only care about their target audience, but also those who proactively spread your online content.

“The most important thing for today’s marketers is to find their real business objective, and then leverage related data, especially that which is generated by consumers themselves, to achieve this objective,” Liu said. 

GroupM China CEO, Patrick Xu

Safety first

Another partnership that was a hot topic on conference day was the newly launched GroupM Trusted Marketplace (GroupM TMP)—currently the largest digital inventory ecosystem which corrals nearly 30 partners including Tencent, iQiyi, ThePaper,, Huawei and Weibo. Several conference speakers agreed that this is a strong lead to a safer environment.

Expanding the definition of premium inventories, GroupM APAC CEO and China chairman, Mark Patterson said: “It not only refers to the best ad spaces at the best time, but also the spaces that your ads are actually seen by [your] target audience, and with zero fraud.”

In addition, Sandra Cheng, emerging channel director at Pfizer, noted that ecommerce platforms themselves can have a great impact on a brand’s marketing. “Their fast-changing ad formats, big data ad products count for something but we have to stick to the principle that relevance is everything.”

Anchoring the day was the internal partnership between Wunderman, GroupM and Kantar which creates single, unified, enduring consumer profiles which are shared across the group. Collating data across media, lifestyle, purchase and demographics, Gao Baosheng, China lead for Project Compass, said that enduring profiles are created when they have six elements: a consumer’s “media exposure, connected to the client CRM, recent product purchase behaviours, demographics, consumer research and third party data from players like Union Pay.”

Wei also talked about how maximum value can happen when media and communication strategies take advantage of automatic data mapping and audience targeting by triggering chemical reactions between online and offline data at mobile terminals. “The Chinese mobile landscape can no longer depend on demographics to pay dividends,” Wei explained. “Today it needs to profit from data dividends.

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