Data Management for BrandsData has taken on a life of its own in the online advertising world. It has its own value as a currency and commodity and its own ecosystem in the cloud -- newly independent of the tools, people and platforms that transact upon it.

Consumers are gaining control over “their data” with technologies like that allow them to control and eradicate their data footprints today -- and likely monetize them tomorrow. Brands are becoming more savvy and protective about ownership and access to their customer and transactional data. And regulators are working to maintain order.

Clearly, data is creating new opportunities and conflicts in advertising. There are more channels, devices, social spheres and platforms available to exploit data. More tools are available to mine it. And while the cloud has been transformative in terms of access and simplicity for users and businesses alike, it is also extraterritorial, fluid and unruly from a regulatory standpoint.

Things are not getting any simpler. Which is why brands must take a long hard look at data access, control and management issues -- making choices about technologies and partners with data in mind.

The Liberation of Data

In the era of the cloud and with the separation of trading desks from DMPs and the increasing need to merge media data with first-party data, data has its own life separate from the media activation channel.
For brands, this shift means new power to exploit your own data. Yet you still need a technology partner to capture, process, store and distribute that data in a multitude of ways. So where is the healthy balance? How can brands maintain trusted partnerships and yet draw clear boundaries and manage risk in a complicated ecosystem?

Here are a few issues every advertiser should be considering in a world of emancipated data:

Technology lineage

Take a good hard look at the technologies being used by your partners and who owns it. There are companies that have built significant advertising platforms on the demand side without media ownership interests and there are others that own media as well as the ad technology. If you can trace the parentage of your trading desk back to a publisher, you may have some thinking to do.

Converge your data gathering infrastructure

If you are a global brand working with multiple agencies in many territories, your media dollars may be activated through a dizzying array of ad servers, DSPs, optimizers, etc. Each of these technologies presents an opportunity for data leakage and discrepancy. Furthermore, the more technologies being used to support your business, the higher your integration and maintenance costs. Brands can better control the overall cost of doing business by talking to their agencies about consolidating onto fewer global data gathering technologies.

Watch your access

The company who does your buying should be a custodian of your data for the purposes of informing your strategy and executing your transactions, but there’s no reason for your data to be inaccessibly stored and managed within a captive DMP. Insist upon your data being managed within an open technology infrastructure with sophisticated and proven data delivery capabilities and integration prowess.

Demand accountability

Finally, don’t take lightly the regulatory implications of cloud-based computing and privacy. If you advertise globally, your compliance must be cross-jurisdictional, too. Does that little technology start-up you are working with have the resources and staying power to properly protect your data? Be sure all your technology partners know the regulatory ropes and stay on top of them.

The changing nature of data management and storage is altering the relationship between brand and intermediary, and both sides must be aware of the implications.

Data access and control must inform how brands contract and work with agencies and other partners. In a world of extreme channel complexity and growing need for data stewardship, agencies with strong data practices, partnered with leading technologies without any media bias, are in a great position to help brands navigate the new landscape.

Title image courtesy of Mopic (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: Check out Why Most Big Data Projects Fail + How to Make Yours Succeed