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Nearly all agencies, ad platforms and advertisers are now using audience targeting to serve digital display ads. More than nine out of 10 agencies and ad platforms said they used targeting, according to data platform eXelate’s research from April 2013, and more than eight out of 10 advertisers said the same.
But how they go about that audience targeting—and what data they use to determine their audience—is a varied proposition.
The study found that third-party data was a key element for targeted digital ad campaigns. More than half of agencies surveyed used third-party data in their digital advertising efforts, and 39% of advertisers and ad platforms each said the same.
Where third-party data really came in handy was in targeting digital display ads. The highest percentage of agencies and advertisers, 85% and 63%, respectively, said it was their preferred data source. For digital display ads, first-party social data was less useful, in use by 27% of agencies and 31% of advertisers.
Third-party data will continue to have a big impact on how marketers deploy their digital advertising. An October 2012 study from eXelate and Digiday additionally found that 68% of ad agencies, 62% of marketers and 84% of ad platforms planned to increase their third-party data budget in 2013. Ad agencies and marketers each planned to raise their third-party data budgets by over 25%. Meanwhile, ad platforms intended to increase their third-party data budgets by 44%, as advertisers increasingly look to utilize these networks and exchanges specifically for their targeting capabilities.
Each group had their own reasons for doing so, but the overarching message was that data drives better results with more precision.
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