GLOBAL: In the process of ensuring compliance with GDPR, marketers have become increasingly aware that the quality of their data – and sometimes the source of that data – may not be as reliable as they would wish.

A WARC Trend Snapshot, Data quality, examines the issues involved, noting recent research from Experian which suggests that 30% of data being used to inform campaigns across organisations is suspected to be inaccurate, with knock-on effects on marketers’ abilities to deliver the right experience.

Location data is under particular scrutiny: in the US, Foursquare estimates more than 80% of location data on exchanges is inaccurate, as a result of both technical issues and fraudulent activity.

Poor-quality data can result in wasted investments through higher cost-per-acquisition, a misalignment of business-critical metrics, bad decision-making and even potential reputational damage, the Snapshot says.

As a result, understanding the provenance of audience data is becoming a vital component of campaign planning, according to Rohan Philips, chief product officer at iProspect, who reports a “seismic change” over the last 18 months in how data is audited and handled.

“The number one reason [for the change in approach] is privacy,” he states. “Tonnes of companies offering what they claim to be cross-device data are shutting down.

“They wouldn’t say where they got their data from, and people have begun to call bullshit. Identifying the source helps you to understand the quality of data, and also its privacy compliance,” he said.

While there are plenty of “good actors” selling data, the shift to digital and explosion in mobile data has happened faster than developments in the industry’s ability to assess data quality.

With third-party data providers under the microscope, there may be more scope for second-party data partnerships, while marketers will need to proactively nurture their own first-party datasets.

Paul Malyon, head of data strategy at Experian, believes the advertising industry has a “collective responsibility” to clean up the data pools underpinning digital marketing.

“When data is used or shared, it should be checked. Individuals should be given the opportunity to update their data on a regular basis,” he explained.

“Organisations should consider how they practise pro-active data minimisation when individuals do not interact with messages, as well as ensuring they honour the regulations around consent.”

Sourced from WARC