There are now thousands of sources of customer data that can help ad buyers target their campaigns at particular groups of consumers. And many of them now extend to function on the new screen of advanced TV.

But, in an ocean of data, how can advertisers catch the sets that are accurate, timely and effective for them? The answer may lay in the food industry.

Almost a year ago, Jonathan Steuer, chief research officer at Omnicom Media Group, speaking at the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) 2017 Audience Measurement conference in New York, advocated labelling consumer data sets with the equivalent of “nutrition information”, to answer questions like: What’s in your data, where did you collect it, and what did it get matched to?”

And that’s exactly what the ARF is doing. It is working together with the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), the Data Marketing Association and the IAB’s Tech Lab to try and create such a label.

Speaking with Beet.TV in this video interview, CIMM CEO Jane Clarke says the prospect could solve problems.

“Companies like Axiom, Experian, LiveRamp, NewStar, hey have 40,000 different data sets you can choose from, and they’ve never made it exactly clear often where that data comes from,” she says.

“There is a lot of time sensitivity around many of these data sets. Sometimes these people are selling data sets for someone in the market for a new car. That only lasts for a couple of months.”

To get around uncertainty about the freshness of data sets, advertisers often buy blithely, adopting a test-and-iterate approach.

“That doesn’t really work – you can’t just keep testing lists in television,” Clarke protests. “It’s too expensive.”

The project is another example of industry bodies recently coming together to solve some of the sector’s problems.

Clarke says “the data providers are being very supportive” but that the groups will “try to get it out there over the next year or two as ubiquitous as we can”.

This video was produced at the Advanced Advertising Summit in New York. Please find more videos on this page from the Beet.TV series presented by 4C.

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