August 19th, 2021

Can Your Data Onboarding Work Better, Faster, Stronger For You?

In the martech world, data onboarding is most often defined as an ID matching process between a brand’s offline data and a publisher’s addressable audience. For example, I have a customer profile with a name and an address; can I match it to a bunch of cookies, a couple of device IDs, and perhaps a Facebook account too to reach that customer online?

That’s part of it, of course, but it’s way too narrow a definition.

Data onboarding is a pointless exercise if the customer data you’re onboarding turns out to be of poor quality, if the matching process itself is leaky, or if it takes forever to syndicate that offline data to your online partners. You need to be sure that you’re reaching the right customers, and that you’re reaching them in time to make an impact.

But it’s not easy to get your data health in order and connect all the bits and pieces that make up your media ecosystem. Those steps require time and resources that marketers don’t always have when they’re trying to convert a new lead or get a new campaign out the door. More often than not, data and match quality take a back seat.

Fortunately, you don’t have to trade quality for speed anymore. Let me show you how.

Better: data onboarding deserves better data

When you onboard new employees in your organization, you don’t just slap a new ID card on them and send them on some random job assignment straight out of the gate. You verify their credentials, assess their skill set, train them to fill knowledge gaps, and match them to a job that’s a good fit for them. 

It’s no different for data onboarding. If you want online publishers to deliver top results for your marketing initiatives, you need to make sure that the customer data you’re feeding them is the best data you can possibly get. You need to use reliable truth-sets to assess the quality of that data, fill in the gaps (there will be plenty), and enrich it along the way with attributes that can help you unlock new segments and raise your marketing game.

One of our clients in the financial services sector was disappointed with the performance of its data-driven online campaigns. Conversions were not much better than with bulk media buys, and the company's return on ad spend (ROAS) was frustratingly low. The client asked us to do a quick data health assessment for the organization, and in so doing, we realized that 30% of its customer records were duplicates. Even after data deduplication, it was still missing key attributes for a large majority of its existing customers: 61% had no phone number, for instance, and 82% had no valid email address.

We jumped in and set up a system to automatically clean up, repair, and enrich its first-party data as it enters the onboarding process, using the most comprehensive data sources in the industry. Today, the company has virtually no more duplicates, 91% of its records have a valid phone number, and its match rate with Facebook and other publishers has improved three-fold.

These features are now an integral part of its data onboarding process, not separate steps, and the impact on overall data processing time is minimal. That’s an important consideration, because...

Faster: there's no use onboarding data if it takes forever

We’ve all experienced it. We get an email promotion for a new trip destination, or for a fashionable pair of shoes. We click through, shop around, take a day or two to think it through, and finally make the purchase. We then receive an order confirmation, a thank-you note, and a week’s worth of retargeting for that same pair of shoes everywhere we go online.

Retargeting is a useful marketing tactic, but if your data onboarding is out of sync with your customers’ most recent activity, it can be a big turn-off for them. And if you’re doing data onboarding in weekly batches, it’s guaranteed to be out of sync at one point or another.

Onboarding delays can affect your marketing performance well beyond retargeting too. Seasonal promotions, up-selling and cross-selling, frequency capping, accurate campaign measurement—they all need your first-party data to be tightly integrated with your media campaigns to succeed.

It took less than 24 hours for our financial services client to start reaping the benefits of its new and improved data onboarding process. In fact, more than 85% of the syndications that Neustar Onboarding is involved with take less than 24 hours to complete. Today’s marketing environment is too competitive to waste your budget on consumer data that’s a week old.

Stronger: a strong partner can take the complexity away

Where do you want your campaigns to run? Addressable audiences are everywhere these days: email, search, display, video, social, podcast, connected-TV, and everywhere in-between. The media landscape is so fragmented today that it’s become nearly impossible for brands and their agencies to keep track of all the ways that publishers and media platforms are identifying their audiences and selling their inventory.

You need to partner with a data onboarding company that has all the right connections, and can immediately and seamlessly syndicate your first-party data to all the right media destinations. Let that partner work out the best way to interface with this or that publisher.

Perhaps your onboarding partner will use a cookie or mobile ad ID today to draw that connection, or they'll use a cookie-replacement token (like UID2, RampID, or Neustar's own FabrickID), an IP address, contextual targeting, or cohorts. They might use an email to push to an email service provider, a phone number to syndicate to a call center, or a physical address to interface with a mail house. You want your data onboarding partner to take care of the minutiae so that you may focus your energy on planning and optimizing your campaigns.

At Neustar, we can ingest every cookie-replacement token currently on the market, and, as a matter of course, we clean and repair client first-party data by adding phone numbers and email addresses prior to onboarding to boost identity resolution. Can your onboarding partner do that? 

Companies that embrace identity-based solutions like ours win in more ways than one: beyond data onboarding, they get a common currency to interconnect all their marketing platforms (e.g., CRM, ESP, CDP, DMP, analytics, measurement, loyalty programs) and minimize data leakage between them. That’s no small side benefit. No one wants to completely dry up their first-party data before it even gets a chance to enter the onboarding process.

If it sounds like you could benefit from a unified identity framework and an identity-based onboarding solution, please get in touch. We’re here to show you the way and help you make the most of your marketing efforts and opportunities.

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