How accurate third-party data leads the way for advertisers

January 5, 2024 by Anne Shannon, Eric Farkas

Experian received top ranks for hashed emails (HEMs) and demographic data from Truthset Data Collective

Advertisers, technology partners, and agencies are all chasing accurate data to power their marketing strategies. Turns out, not all data is created equal and unless you’re working with the right partner, high-quality data can be hard to find. That’s because accuracy can vary widely across the industry and the partner you choose is important. A recent study conducted by data validation company Truthset showed that 51% of the data used for ad targeting and audience measurement is wrong, with average accuracy rates ranging between 32%-69% across data providers.

The data quality challenge
The lack of high-quality data poses multiple challenges in the advertising world:

  • Wasted ad spend: without accurate data at the start, marketers can’t reach the right audiences, resulting in wasted impressions.
  • Privacy and compliance: in an increasingly privacy-centric world, advertisers need to be especially mindful of accurate targeting to avoid putting their brand reputation at risk.
  • Poor campaign performance: low-quality data skews metrics and attribution models, making it difficult to measure campaign success and optimize spend.

Low-quality data can come in different forms like inconsistent or outdated information – think demographics (age, gender) and interests (dog versus cat lover) or simply the wrong relationship can be made between datasets. Data records can be incomplete or duplicative and data segments could be misclassified or inaccurate. For example, a kids snack food company may think they’re targeting a 35-year old man, who lives in the suburbs with his young family when in fact it’s a 65-year-old woman who moved to the city after her kids went to college. It’s wasted dollars!

Build the data foundation
Data quality needs to be addressed if advertisers and advertising technology partners want to fulfill consumers’ demand for personalized marketing. Per eMarketer, more than 75% of internet users worldwide said they were willing to share their email address, brand interest, and name in exchange for personalized experiences. Without accurate data, marketers won’t be able to provide the level of personalization that consumers desire.

Validation can help advertisers evaluate third party data and help build trust across the ecosystem. Companies like Truthset review and provide an unbiased evaluation of data fidelity and quality on a regular basis.

“As cookies and mobile ad identifiers continue to phase out, consented, durable identifiers (hashed email, postal addresses) are going to serve as the foundation for identity solutions of the future,” said Chip Russo, President at Truthset. “And the only way to ensure you are transacting on the highest quality identity and demography data is to actively validate the data you rely on with a third party.”

Not all data is created equal: Experian leads the way
In Q3 2023 Truthset reviewed Experian’s marketing data – as well as several other large data providers – and found:

  • Experian is the #1 data provider in terms of largest volume of high-accuracy hashed e-mails (HEMs) with demographic data
  • Experian ranks #1 in accuracy for 15 marketing data attributes, including but not limited to Age, Gender, Home Owner/Renter, Geography, Education, Presence of Children, and Pet Owner
  • Experian consistently has the largest number of HEMs with demographic data that are 90% or more likely to be accurate

“As a member of the Truthset Data Collective, Experian received top ranks across a variety of categories for its data,” continued Russo. “The entire digital advertising world runs on data, but focusing on data accuracy is going to drive the next phase of innovation for the industry, enhancing ROI for advertisers, CPMs for publishers, and relevant experiences for consumers.”

As Truthset’s recent study highlights, the data matched between hashed e-mails and postal addresses is crucial, underpinning everything from targeted ads to TV audience measurement. Highly accurate HEMs linked to high-quality demographic data should be the foundation of any marketing plan. Advertisers are able to overcome the complexities of identity resolution by tying online and offline touchpoints together to deliver a consistent message across channels.

Companies are striving to eliminate marketing waste and provide consumers with personalized marketing and the advertising industry can have confidence that Experian’s marketing data has been externally validated as being highly accurate. The accuracy of our data will power smarter marketing initiatives, like insights, targeting, identity, and measurement.

Let’s start a conversation about how we can fully realize the potential of data-driven advertising together.


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