As brands increasingly implement global data strategies, agencies must get creative about collecting data in emerging markets.
Outside of data-mature markets, such as the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, access to data varies. In Latin America, Asia and other emerging markets, programmatic spend is lower and deterministic data sits behind walled gardens, making it difficult for agencies to do behavioral targeting.
Global data providers that agencies work with in the United States, such as Acxiom and LiveRamp, lack the same footprint in emerging markets, making first-party data difficult to come by.
“As marketers spent more in digital, you had the ability to capture cookies and understand behavior,” said Lisa Donohue, CEO of Publicis Spine. “Markets that didn’t have as much digital spend don't start with that base.”
In Latin America, the difficulties of collecting data at scale are exacerbated by a publisher market that’s slow to adopt programmatic. Most of the scale outside Google and Facebook is still concentrated among traditional news publishers in the region, which sell roughly 80% of their inventory through direct insertion orders, said Daniel Czaplinski, co-founder and CEO of Retargetly, which Publicis works with to aggregate behavioral and subscription data from mid-tail publishers in the region.
“If you’re not Google or Facebook, it’s really hard to get scale,” he said. “We started going to mid-tail publishers that were giving out hashed PII data tied to a mobile or cookie ID.”
Where data is fragmented in Latin America outside of Facebook and Google, it’s behind the walled gardens of Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu in Asia. Outside of these platforms, it’s difficult to access any kind of deterministic data at scale.
“You really have to go through the big buys to operate,” Donohue said. “Based on all their commerce and media platforms, they really have the core of the data.”
And in markets like Russia that have strict regulatory requirements, it’s difficult to access and deploy data quickly.
“You’ve got to make adaptations for that market before you can get going,” Donohue said. “That tends to effect the speed you can move.”
By working with a handful of global and local data providers in Latin America and Asia, Publicis is able to tie together a scaled data asset using its identity resolution platform, Spine, to get the most coverage for clients in a region. Still, the limited availability of PII data in these markets keeps local agency teams from developing really innovative audience-targeting strategies.
Where Publicis can do identity resolution in markets like the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, emerging markets are just starting to identify the right audience segments “much like the early days of programmatic in the United States,” Donohue said.
Sometimes the effort it takes to get access to data in these markets outweighs the targeting benefits it can offer brands.
“There’s only a certain level of data you can derive enough value from for the work it takes to get the data,” Donohue said. “You have to weigh the economics. It’s a classic notion of a point of diminishing return.”
The landscape, however, is slowly changing. While it’s still hard to access PII, geolocation and deterministic data in Latin America, marketers are pushing publishers to evolve their business models so they can unify their global targeting strategies. And brands are starting to buy more media programmatically and globally, opening up more third-party data in emerging markets.
“Global brands want to replicate their data strategy in all markets,” Czaplinski said. “Brands eventually will ask publishers to [sell programmatically], or they will take their budget wherever they can get precision marketing and data.”