Iterative Marketing Podcast Episode 33: The Role of Data in Modern Advertising

Advertising has undergone a modern shift thanks to new emerging technologies and the growing availability of marketing data. This shift is enabling marketers to make smarter decisions with advanced insights into our audiences, as well as attribution of sales and conversions to our marketing efforts. We can now work smarter, not necessarily harder, to narrow our advertising where it works best.

Episode Show Notes

Introduction to the Role of Data in Modern Advertising

(0:00 – 3:05) Introduction to the Iterative Marketing Podcast: Welcome to the Iterative Marketing Podcast, where, each week, hosts Steve Robinson and Elizabeth Earin provide marketers and entrepreneurs with actionable ideas, techniques, and examples to improve marketing results. 

This episode explores the multifaceted role of data in modern advertising. Advertising has evolved significantly due to the increased availability of data for marketers and advertisers. New technologies have opened up novel ways to use this data. Three primary areas where data has made a significant impact are: 

  1. Targeting and Reach
  2. Audience Aggregation
  3. Measurement

This episode discusses the industry changes over the past few years in these areas and the opportunities they present for modern marketers.

The resources discussed on the show can be found at, which includes a blog and a LinkedIn group for community interaction.

Targeting and Reach

(3:05 – 9:08) Programmatic Advertising: Advertising strategies have shifted from direct buys to programmatic advertising in recent years. Earlier, advertisers had to directly buy ad spaces from specific publications to secure quality ad placements. Programmatic advertising, once considered an optional strategy for those with a spare budget, has now become a mainstream advertising technique. Unlike in the past, high-quality inventory and ad placements aren’t restricted to direct buys. This change is largely due to technological advancements. Today, both private and public exchanges offer a premium inventory that was earlier accessible only through direct buys. Programmatic advertising isn’t just about inventory. Targeting capabilities have also seen a significant improvement.

Third-Party Data: Third-party targeting has become more accurate. Additionally, there’s been a surge in second-party targeting. Brands can now directly buy data from other brands or smaller publications with niche audiences, thereby getting richer data compared to what the larger data warehouses provide.

Predictive Platforms and Artificial Intelligence: AI has enabled targeting prospects even before they enter the market. This shows how dramatically targeting abilities have changed over time.

The Implications for Marketers: Current targeting capabilities are impressive, allowing marketers to reach their audience without relying on publishers. Different types of targeting, including first-party, third-party, CRM targeting, and IP targeting, facilitate marketing directly to the desired individuals. While access to quality inventory was a concern earlier, it’s no longer a hindrance today. With programmatic advertising, quality inventory, and improved targeting are both achievable. It is important to remember that with advanced targeting, there’s a risk of scaring audiences due to excessively personalized ads. Marketers need to strike a balance between effective targeting and audience comfort.

Audience Aggregation

(9:08 – 17:36) What is Audience Aggregation: Audience aggregation and nurturing allows us to aggregate data and build up audiences of like-minded individuals and then segment and target them accordingly. This is the next progression of retargeting. Several changes to retargeting are causing the change in audience aggregation:

  1. Content Marketing: The rise of content marketing is helping marketers to build audiences using first-party data.
  2. Shifts in Technology: Particularly data management platform (DMP) technology. Brands like Oracle and Salesforce are acquiring major DMPs like BlueKai and Crux, which are enabling the building of first-party audiences.
  3. Data Onboarding Services/Cookie Matching Technology: These allow marketers to translate their offline CRM data into advertising data for online retargeting.
  4. IP-Based Targeting: This is another technology being used by marketers. This allows marketers to match the physical address of a household or business to their audience, aiding further in audience segmentation.

Implications of Audience Aggregation for Marketers: Marketers can now segment their audience using online and offline data. They can target audiences based on various factors like demographics, psychographics, and where they are in their buyer’s journey. Data management platform (DMP) space is expected to be more accessible to medium and small-sized businesses in the near future. These platforms will allow these businesses to smartly mix and match their first and third-party data to build richly segmented audiences online. Marketers can “hack” existing retargeting technology to build audience pools that suit their specific needs. Marketers are encouraged to tie their database with retargeting technologies to build and nurture a captive audience. Tools like AdRoll and Facebook can be leveraged for this purpose.

Charity Outreach

(17:36 – 18:21) Charity Break: The Parenting Place 


(18:21 – 23:34) The Rise of Data Measurement Tools: The demand for more data has resulted in an influx of startups and tools dedicated to data measurement. This highlights the growing interest and importance of data in the field of marketing and advertising.

Enhancements in Google Analytics: Google Analytics has made significant strides in improving data measurement by providing tools that integrate online and offline sales data. Through a partnership with Salesforce, Google Analytics now facilitates efficient data analysis and management, leading to smarter advertising decisions. Google has improved attribution modeling, helping marketers attribute sales or opportunities back to their advertising efforts. This makes it easier to evaluate the success of various marketing strategies. Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) is a free tool that enables the combination and analysis of data from various sources. This offers a comprehensive view of data, aiding in better understanding and decision-making.

 The Variety of Available Marketing Tools: The market offers a range of tools for various purposes, including A/B testing, heat mapping, data visualization, attribution, and polls. These tools are available at different price points, catering to varying budget requirements. Marketing automation tools offer additional data for segmentation and conversion, enabling a clearer understanding of the effectiveness of marketing efforts. Google Analytics attribution capabilities and A/B testing tools are highly recommended for understanding the effectiveness of digital advertising. Platforms like, Optimizely, and Google Experiments are also great options for testing user experience after website visits.

Combining the Changes in Data and Advertising

(23:34 – 25:57) Smarter Advertising: With the changes discussed, it’s observed that the best advertisers are investing in data and narrowly targeting their advertising, making them more efficient. This suggests a shift from working harder to working smarter.

Complications in Digital Advertising: The increased sophistication in digital advertising has made the process more complex. In the past, it was straightforward: find a publication, place media, and measure clicks. Now, advertisers need to build audiences, segment them, and constantly optimize through experimentation.

Impact on Brands and Media Buyers

  •  Challenges for Brands Working with Media Buyers: Brands working with media buyers on a commission model may face difficulties. As ad buys are broken down into smaller targets, media buyers face more work without additional compensation. This might lead to resistance to these changes, and brands may need to explore other compensation models.
  • Opportunities for Agencies: For agencies offering media buying services to clients, these changes present opportunities. Agencies should consider shifting from commission-based models to hourly, pay-for-performance, or flat-fee models for digital advertising. This ensures compensation aligns with the complexity of the program.
  • Possible Models for Agencies: The different compensation models include hourly, pay-for-performance, and flat fee models. Hybrid models are also possible, providing flexibility based on the client base and the complexity of the work.

Summary of Key Takeaways

(25:57 – 27:38) The Role of Data in Modern Advertising: New technologies have made highly targeted and scalable marketing possible through programmatic advertising. These technologies allow advertisers to build a loyal audience by tailoring their message based on the customer journey. Free tools like Google Analytics facilitate attribution modeling and A/B testing, leading to improved advertising strategies. There’s a shift in digital advertising, with leading advertisers investing more effort in targeting, audience building, and measurement, resulting in lower media costs and higher returns. Traditional commission fee structures may need reevaluation due to increased workloads. Alternate models should be explored to maintain a beneficial relationship between brands and agencies. The key takeaway is to use technology and rich data sources to advertise smarter, not harder. Reevaluating current strategies and leveraging data for better results are encouraged.

Join Us Next Time

(27:38 – 28:46Conclusion: In this episode, we discussed the impact of technology on data and advertising, focusing on the rise of programmatic buying, audience nurturing, and advanced measurement tools like Google Analytics. We highlighted the importance of smarter advertising driven by data and the need for reevaluating traditional commission fee models in media buying due to increasing complexity. The key takeaway was to utilize technological advancements and data to market more intelligently and efficiently.

In the next episode, we’ll unravel the concept of “actionable insights” in marketing. We’ll explore their crucial role in business success and the Iterative Marketing methodology. The discussion will focus on simplifying data interpretation and formulating strategies for continuous improvement. Stay tuned to learn how these insights can transform your marketing approach.

Have a great week and we’ll see you next time. This concludes this week’s episode. For notes and links to resources discussed on the show, sign up to the Brilliant Metrics newsletter.

Iterative Marketing is a part of the Brilliant Metrics organization. If you would like more information on the marketing services provided by the expert team at Brilliant Metrics, reach out today for a free discovery call.

The Iterative Marketing Podcast,  a production of Brilliant Metrics, ran from February 2016 to September 2017. Music by SeaStock Audio.Learn more about Iterative Marketing and listen to other episodes on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

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