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You Can't Escape Big Data, But You Can Hide...For Now
By: Brian Keller
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The merger of Nielsen and Arbitron assures that this one firm will be the sole supplier of advertising currency for all the major ad mediums — TV, online, and radio. They’ll be watching you and so will others as they look to master the media. They have friends and they'll be compiling. You can’t escape. 

You might as well buy that something you want now. You know what you want. They've been telling you what you want. Your habits help them. Don’t lie to the wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/kid or pet. You are doomed. They know where you live and what you watch and where you “surf.” You will buy what they want you to.
  
You did it to yourself.

“The interaction of connected consumer electronics and digital media is creating vast and limitless amounts of user data, now commonly coined "Big Data." Many new business models are forming around these data, but for advertising, data have always been at the core of its business. Data of all varieties and volumes enable stakeholders to invest proportionally to the value of their media assets — whether TV commercials, video programs, gaming apps, online publications or advertising messages.” —Heather Way, E-Commerce Times
 
And it gets better. There is no more “media buying”; there is now “audience management.” You're being managed
 
The transformation from media buying to audience buying has focused on the automation that is renovating online, social, and mobile. Now, TV audience targeting is changing due to the massive amount of data available, given by the consumer themselves. This data is dictating the way media is planned and purchased by advertisers (clients and agencies).
 
There are two significant trends that will have a dramatic impact on TV advertising,” asserts Dave Morgan, founder and CEO of Simulmedia, which is one of a new generation of companies leading the charge toward TV audience buying. “The first trend is data, the sudden availability of massive amounts of highly granular data — both in terms of what people are doing on TV and what they are doing off of TV. The other significant trend is toward automation.”
 
The next time you play Candy Crush, see what rock star you are on BuzzFeed, listen to Spotify, set your location on Instagram, or lie about your body type on match.com (not everyone is athletic and toned. Stop it.) you are helping to provide data very specific to you. Traditional targeting has long been audience-based using demographic, geographic and time-based information. “This new audience-based data and targeting practices segment consumers based on who they are, the devices they use, and the media content they consume.
 
When you’re devouring content you're supplying data points and are supporting, almost, pinpoint audience-targeting methods, both audience-based and interest-based. Don’t complain as you are supplying the information. Resistance is futile.
 
Big Data creates new ways for advertisers to measure the audience.

Commonly referred to as "look-a-likes" or "personas," audience segmentation models frame large audience descriptions taken from smaller subsets. This targeting method means larger user reach for digital media campaigns. Ad agencies and clients have been successfully experimenting by using audience segmentation allowing them to predict consumer action based on your own (first-party) data, which includes information from websites and social channels you visit. 
 
Data from your online behavior can be combined with your purchase data and other broad interactions you may participate in. It refines audience segmentation. In other words they know where you “surf” and where you shop, play, vacation, etc. Every time you have a transactional experience, you’re tracked. They know where you are. Just give in.
 
There is hope, for now, since you are probably not on one device.
 
There is no one method that measures the overlap and melding of traditional media and new media over broadcast and cable TV, Internet, mobile, and Web properties. There is a fractured approach to data collection and reporting, and no method, so far, to standardize the process. So, you won’t hear your name mentioned in an ad for now.
 
As you continue to use Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Chromecast, etc. they will be pushing for a single-source evaluation of the impact of the video content you consume, as it will be necessary to understand total viewing to be able to quantify a program’s value and its advertising effectiveness. They don't have it yet. Don’t rest easy. They will, one day, find you.

However.

There is long-term hope. If you want to remain untargeted, just unplug. Shut down the computers. Turn off your devices. Disconnect WiFi.” Go to a local bookstore and newsstand for information. Don't go to a library. They are evil and wired. Go to a local market, a local hardware store, etc. Walk, bike, or take public transportation. Make purchases in cash and ask the cashiers for handwritten receipts. Ask them to wear blindfolds. For an evening out, move to Baltimore or visit there. Go to the Village Square Café, owned by Roseann. She's an ex ad agency big shot from where data was used religiously. She fled. Tell her that Beyond Madison Avenue sent you. She’ll know what to do. You will be safe…for now.
 
But we know you won't unplug. How do we know that? Hah!! 


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About the Author
Brian is the Creative Director at  teeny agency in Baltimore. He graduated from the University of Maryland (English),went to grad school at NYU (Cinema Studies), & attends  University of Baltimore School of Law.
 
Brian's been working, primarily, in the digital space for years but enjoys all communications avenues.
 
He has built the creative departments at two agencies.
 
He likes skateboarding  with his son. He also  falls off his skateboard and amuses his son.When not amusing his son or riding bikes or playing basketball or working he writes for Beyond Madison Avenue & that's why Beyond Madison Avenue appears twice in this sentence.  
 
Find him online here and at www.teenyagency.com
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