Marketers are scrambling right now. They’re rushing to find new data points for targeting to increase return on ad spend. GDPR has played a significant role in why, but it’s more than likely just the beginning of the data privacy challenges, which includes the recently passed California Consumer Privacy Act, ahead. We as an industry must overcome the data challenges by focusing on the opportunities that exist today.

There are two characteristics that make data sets useful and effective: scale and accuracy. Without either one of these, it’s impossible for the data to be effective in generating positive business results or a positive ROI.

So, what are the opportunities? To begin with, marketers and their agencies have been using demographic- and interest-based data for years. Those data points are the most established, most widely available and most commonly used.

At the same time, marketers have spent a significant amount of time and resources identifying and establishing databases of first-, second- and third-party audience segments for targeting. They leverage this audience data through their CRM systems, email and direct-mail marketing and retargeting efforts. It’s taken years to scale and refine these databases to get them to a point where they’re current, accurate and relevant.

In addition to audience data, which typically includes demographic and interest-based data points, there’s also content data. This is where I see a big opportunity for digital marketers. Content is often found through a search engine, where consumers are purposefully choosing to read, watch or interact with a specific topic. In that case, the consumers are often showing intent: intent to purchase, intent to take an action, intent to learn, intent to travel.

Content is often found through a search engine, where consumers are purposefully choosing to read, watch or interact with a specific topic.

A marketer can capitalize on that intent by aligning their product message with that demonstrated interest. Studies have shown that when a marketer’s product or service message is relevant to the content that it precedes, the ad gets a significantly higher completion rate, a higher engagement rate…