Is someone playing with your data? How and for whom?

A company’s own data traditionally means the company’s own customer database, or identified customers and related information on, say, their buying behaviour. In the world of digital marketing, such data actually means much more. A company’s own digital channels and web advertising, for example, offer sources of useful data.

Although quite often the data is on the so-called unidentified customers, that data can be refined to create more valuable audiences. To put it very strongly, every cookie offers a huge opportunity when in good hands.

Systems exploiting data are typically managed by some of the marketer’s partners. The principles and practices of such exploitation varies by agency. While some agencies seek to build their own big “generic data pool”, others create custom-built models.

Marketers should understand the difference between these models and check the operating model of their own partner.

Generic data pooling

In generic data pooling, data obtained from various web sources, such as research data, client web data and data from a third party is integrated into a single big pool of cookies, owned by the agency. Such data enables the enrichment of the existing audience data or new audiences are created out of the cookie pool. Data pooling is aiming at continuously finding new and more profitable target audiences.

In the data pool, it is possible, for instance, to identify visitors who visit a number of tourism marketers’ websites. Out of these visitors, an audience is created at whom, say, travel insurance or luggage advertising is targeted.

An effective solution for data exploitation – provided that this is also approved by the marketer and the rules are explicit.

Client-specific model

We at Dagmar trust in client-specific data exploitation models where the client’s own data forms the basis. Various players’ data is integrated with this data so that the client always knows the origin of all data sources.

This does not limit data usage potential but makes it more transparent.

This model too involves enriching, exchanging and refining data to find the most relevant audiences. But clients do not need to be afraid of having their own data falling into the hands of an unknown third party.

Potential problems associated with generic data pooling

A party makes commercial use of your data
A marketer should find out what all is done with the generic data pool. Is there any other party that makes commercial use of your data? Does the pooler resell your data? What is the value of the data in this case? How to ensure that a competitor does not make use of this data?

It is quite possible that the benefit from data pooling covers or exceeds the one mentioned above, but the scenario should be made fully clear if that has not yet been made.

Inhouse expertise & insight do not increase
With marketer’s own data, the marketer can continuously enhance his/her insight of the best audiences, the best data and the regularities of optimisation, in which case the big picture of the performance remains with the marketer. In generic data pooling, it is more difficult to seize on detailed customer-specific targeting data than in the customer-specific model – i.e. it is more difficult to understand the impact of the customer’s own data.

Data is not actually in the marketer’s use
Web data is needed in analytics projects, for example. Generic data pooling has been faced with situations where a party managing web advertising has been unable to provide customer-specific data afterwards. This may delay the marketer’s analytics development for many years at its worst.

Requirements of EU legislation
Amendments to the 2018 EU legislation should be considered upfront; they require of marketers a good understanding of ways of using their cookie data. If the team play between the agency partner and the marketer is open, documentation can be performed as required.

If any of the above worries you, please ask your agency partner the following questions:
Where will my digital data be gathered, especially that from the website and web advertising?
Is this data always available to me and available for use from systems retrospectively too?
Is my data combined with some bigger data pool?
If yes, what is being done with the pooled data and in whose use is it?
Can competitors exploit my data?
Marketers have the right to ensure fair cooperation and to protect their own data.

Take possession of data

It pays to pay special attention to making better use of one’s own digital data this year: enhancing expertise in one’s own organisation, analysing and enriching one’s own data as well as exploiting the enriched data in an intelligent way in customer touchpoints.

The hottest trend of the year is finding new valuable data partners. We at Dagmar are eager and ready to look for new growth potential to our clients.

We will help you assess the current status of data exploitation – where data is, how to use it now, where to get it more – and suggest concrete next steps for the future. We will help find genuine and transparent data partnerships of second and third parties in the market, where data produces benefits for both sides and creates win-win situations.

Contact: Antti Kallio,