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How B2B marketers can activate first-party data in their CDP

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How B2B marketers can activate first-party data in their CDP

Customer data platforms (CDPs) centralize data from customer touchpoints. In B2B buying decision-making is often spread out over many individuals within an organization, marketers can use CDPs used to guide purchasers through the sales funnel.

“A CDP joins disparate systems and improves operational efficiency, providing a centralized location to collect, clean and control customer data,” said Cecilie Burleson, manager at consultancy EY, at The MarTech Conference.

Valuable first-party data in the CDP

First-party data comes to marketers by way of the information customers share and the behaviors they engage in through an organization’s digital touchpoints. All the data gets centralized in the CDP. This includes customer attributes and preferences, their behaviors, as well as other digital activities and events.

Without a CDP, the data is split across various data warehouses, data lakes, a CRM, or in separate departments like sales, marketing or legal.

“While first-party data is more limited in volume, it’s going to be of increasing value over time as regulations continue to get more strict and third-party cookies go away,” said Joel Wright, EY’s senior manager, technology consulting – digital, analytics and marketing technology.

Read next: What is a customer data platform?

Zeroing in on customer preferences from unified first-party data

When the data is unified in customer profiles, a better picture emerges. Marketers can act on this data by making engagement more personalized and efficient. It also provides a better alternative to the costly and tedious process of stitching together data from outside third-party sources.

“Knowing explicitly what a customer wants to see based on their preferences and interests really leaves the guessing or reliance on inefficient third-party stitching behind,” said Burleson.

Consolidating sales data into the unified CDP helps marketing teams see what actions drive those sales.

“This will help you to optimize to see what drives more leads and then also how leads really can contribute. Having that seamless cross-channel activation and optimization truly [helps marketing teams understand] how you can orchestrate the customer journey,” Burleson said.

“Having more confidence in what campaigns are working, and more visibility into that data, can build more efficiency in marketing budgeting and minimizing waste,” said Wright.

Connecting B2B buying teams in the CDP

The centralizing muscle power of CDPs also brings order to complicated B2B buying.

“From a B2B standpoint, how do the individuals in an organization play a unique role?” asked Burleson. “Not just one person is likely going to be key to the interactions within an organization. It’s often a collection of different team members and each team member from that organization that you’re targeting.”

“Different team members in different parts of the organization will be going to your website to research very specific offerings that matter most to them individually,” said Wright. “One person could be researching the benefits of an offering. Another might be doing a price comparison. And another person might be looking into integrations and features.”

Looking at each of these interactions in isolation only gives the marketer a partial look at a larger picture.

“When you place all the profiles together at an account level, you start to get a clearer view of the various individuals, but also how the company itself is engaging,” Wright explained.

Knowing how individuals fit within the organization at the account level helps marketers choose the most efficient way to move customers through the funnel.

Gathering more first-party data through B2B engagement

Further engagement creates more data and intelligence to help move B2B prospects through your funnel. That data can also be analyzed for insights on the next best action to take. It can also help segment customers to make marketing campaigns more efficient.

But why would customers hand over that information? There has to be a value exchange.

“Think about what would entice you to provide your contact information to a company,” said Wright.

A cash giveaway or contest might seem too gimmicky in a B2B context, he suggested. Instead, the foundation of a long term business relationship is built with relevant, helpful communication. A prospect might sign up for tips about their industry, for instance.

Relevance establishes trust with the customer because it shows that you, as the marketer, are aware of business challenges that they face.

Read next: 3 challenges to building customer trust

Often when customers encounter forms to fill out, they will abandon the exercise if they’re giving out too much info. Therefore, it’s best to establish the minimum amount of data your organization needs in order to act intelligently on the data you gather.

“Considering that you likely won’t need much else to continue the dialogue, maybe you only need the name and the email address,” said Wright. “And you should still limit the number of data fields to get the essentials and increase conversion on the form completion.”

Building more first-party data through testing

There’s often a risk in alienating customers by asking for more first-party data. In addition to keeping the ask to a minimum, marketers should also test and optimize their collecting practices.

“It shouldn’t just be throwing something up there and leaving it,” said Burleson. “You want to have a framework in place to collect data and continuously improve.”

First, assess the data that you have available already. Then, brainstorm more ideas about what new methods could be tested.

Instead of filling out forms, maybe there are business-specific offers that could entice customers to share more data.

“As you’re testing, what are the success criteria that you’re testing against?” Burleson asked.

Also make sure to leave time to evaluate the test, and then keep testing to further improve your process of engaging customers and becoming more intelligent in your messages to them.

“You’re always refining, and things are always going to change along the way,” said Burleson.


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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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MARKETING

The Biggest Ad Fraud Cases and What We Can Learn From Them

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The Biggest Ad Fraud Cases and What We Can Learn From Them

Ad fraud is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the latest data indicates that it will cost businesses a colossal €120 billion by 2023. But even more worrying is that fraudsters’ tactics are becoming so sophisticated that even big-name companies such as Uber, Procter & Gamble, and Verizon have been victims of ad fraud in recent years. 

So what does this mean for the rest of the industry? The answer is simple: every ad company, no matter their size or budget is just as at risk as the big guns – if not more. 

In this article, I summarize some of the biggest and most shocking cases of ad fraud we’ve witnessed over recent years and notably, what vital lessons marketers and advertisers can learn from them to avoid wasting their own budgets. 

The biggest ad fraud cases in recent years 

From fake clicks and click flooding to bad bots and fake ad impressions, fraudsters have and will go to any lengths to siphon critical dollars from your ad budgets.

Let’s take a look at some of the most high-profile and harmful ad fraud cases of recent years that have impacted some of the most well-known brands around the world. 

Methbot: $5 million a day lost through fake video views 

In 2016, Aleksandr Zhukov, the self-proclaimed “King of Fraud”, and his group of fraudsters were discovered to have been making between $3 and $5 million a day by executing fake clicks on video advertisements. 

Oft-cited as the biggest digital ad fraud operation ever uncovered, “Methbot” was a sophisticated botnet scheme that involved defrauding brands by enabling countless bots to watch 300 million video ads per day on over 6000 spoofed websites. 

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Due to the relatively high cost-per-mille (CPM) for video ads, Aleksandr and his group were able to steal millions of dollars a day by targeting high-value marketplaces. Some of the victims of the Methbot fraud ring include The New York Times, The New York Post, Comcast, and Nestle.

In late 2021, Aleksandr Zhukov was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay over $3.8 million in restitution. 

Uber: $100 million wasted in ad spend 

In another high-profile case, transportation giant Uber filed a lawsuit against five ad networks in 2019 – Fetch, BidMotion, Taptica, YouAppi, and AdAction Interactive – and won. 

Uber claimed that its ads were not converting, and ultimately discovered that roughly two-thirds of its ad budget ($100 million) wasn’t needed. This was on account of ad retargeting companies that were abusing the system by creating fraudulent traffic. 

The extent of the ad fraud was discovered when the company cut $100 million in ad spend and saw no change in the number of rider app installs. 

In 2020, Uber also won another lawsuit against Phunware Inc. when they discovered that the majority of Uber app installations that the company claimed to have delivered were produced by the act of click flooding. 

Criteo: Claims sues competitor for allegedly running a damaging counterfeit click fraud scheme 

In 2016, Criteo, a retargeting and display advertising network, claimed that competitor Steelhouse (now known as MNTM) ran a click fraud scheme against Criteo in a bid to damage the company’s reputation and to fraudulently take credit for user visits to retailers’ web pages. 

Criteo filed a lawsuit claiming that due to Steelhouse’s alleged actions — the use of bots and other automated methods to generate fake clicks on shoe retailer TOMS’ ads — Criteo ultimately lost TOMS as a client. Criteo has accused Steelhouse of carrying out this type of ad fraud in a bid to prove that Steelhouse provided a more effective service than its own. 

Twitter: Elon Musk claims that the platform hosts a high number of inauthentic accounts 

In one of the biggest and most tangled tech deals in recent history, the Elon Musk and Twitter saga doesn’t end with Twitter taking Musk to court for backing out of an agreement to buy the social media giant for $44 billion.

In yet another twist, Musk has also claimed that Twitter hid the real number of bots and fake accounts on its platform. He has also accused the company of fraud by alleging that these accounts make up around 10% of Twitter’s daily active users who see ads, essentially meaning that 65 million of Twitter’s 229 million daily active users are not seeing them at all. 

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6 Lessons marketers can learn from these high-profile ad fraud cases 

All of these cases demonstrate that ad fraud is a pervasive and ubiquitous practice that has incredibly damaging and long-lasting effects on even the most well-known brands around the world. 

The bottom line is this: Marketers and advertisers can no longer afford to ignore ad fraud if they’re serious about reaching their goals and objectives. Here are some of the most important lessons and takeaways from these high-profile cases. 

  1. No one is safe from ad fraud 

Everyone — from small businesses to large corporations like Uber — is affected by ad fraud. Plus, fraudsters have no qualms over location: no matter where in the world you operate, you are susceptible to the consequences of ad fraud. 

  1. Ad fraud is incredibly hard to detect using manual methods

Fraudsters use a huge variety of sneaky techniques and channels to scam and defraud advertisers, which means ad fraud is incredibly difficult to detect manually. This is especially true if organizations don’t have the right suggestions and individuals dedicated to tracking and monitoring the presence of ad fraud. 

Even worse, when organizations do have teams in place monitoring ad fraud, they are rarely experts, and cannot properly pore through the sheer amount of data that each campaign produces to accurately pinpoint it.

  1. Ad fraud wastes your budget, distorts your data, and prevents you from reaching your goals

Ad fraud drains your budget significantly, which is a huge burden for any company. However, there are also other ways it impacts your ability to deliver results. 

For example, fake clicks and click bots lead to skewed analytics, which means that when you assess advertising channels and campaigns based on the traffic and engagement they receive, you’re actually relying on flawed data to make future strategic decisions. 

Finally – and as a result of stolen budgets and a reliance on flawed data – your ability to reach your goals is highly compromised. 

  1. You’re likely being affected by ad fraud already, even if you don’t know it yet

As seen in many of these cases, massive amounts of damage were caused because the brands weren’t aware that they were being targeted by fraudsters. Plus, due to the lack of awareness surrounding ad fraud in general, it’s highly likely that you’re being affected by ad fraud already. 

  1. You have options to fight the effects of ad fraud  

Luckily, as demonstrated by these cases, there are some options available to counteract the impact and losses caused by ad fraud, such as requesting a refund or even making a case to sue. In such cases, ad fraud detection solutions are extremely useful to uncover ad fraud and gather evidence. 

  1. But the best option is to prevent ad fraud from the get-go

The best ad fraud protection is ad fraud prevention. The only surefire way to stop fraudsters from employing sophisticated fraud schemes and attacking your campaigns is by implementing equally sophisticated solutions. Anti-ad fraud software solutions that use machine learning and artificial intelligence help you keep fraud at bay, enabling you to focus on what matters: optimizing your campaigns and hitting your goals. 


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