Audience Segment Naming: Transparency is Key

Posted in Audience Series, Blog

PlaceIQ’s Audience Series sets out to highlight the importance of segments in the advertising world. As the pioneer of mobile’s application to location intelligence, and leaders in the mobile audience field, PlaceIQ has the knowledge you need. Key audience experts from each PIQ department — from engineering, to data science, to sales — will tackle a new topic each week to give a 360-degree view on this vast, ever-changing industry.

Niladri Batabyal
By Niladri Batabyal

What’s in a name?

Whether you’re a Madison Avenue veteran or a relative newcomer to advertising and audience buying in general, you’ve surely encountered a number of “marketing friendly” audience segment names that have left you scratching your head and chuckling under your breath.

Though cleverly conceived and presented with exemplary literary prowess, I often wonder if Fortune 500 CMOs wake up each morning wondering how they will directly engage and spread their brand’s message to all of the “Sumptuous Cyber Elitists” they are trying to reach.

Like many other thought leaders in audience analytics today, we take a slightly different approach here at PlaceIQ: full transparency. The history of audience naming is seemingly indicative of a shift away from an industry driven by deal making and a “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality to one in which disruptive product innovations in audience engagement and customer insights are the norm.

In recent years, we have seen a noticeable shift toward auditable analytics and deeper understanding driven by big data and a magical new world of mathematical models and machine learning. Having worked on the “other” Street for a number of years, I’m sure that I’m not the first to draw a direct comparison to the seismic shift we had in the broker/dealer world dating back to the Late 1970s when preeminent physicists and mathematicians left academia to understand capital markets like never before.

So, what’s next?

Hopefully, the Data Scientists won’t completely take over and start naming audiences “Subprime CDO Enthusiasts”.

More importantly, let us hope that this transition period that has yielded greater transparency as a by-product continues to breed an environment of learning across all functional areas. A very interesting article in Forbes from a few months back describing “The Dangers of Cargo Cult Data Science” summed up the ramifications of our new world order quite well: “We have a responsibility to not talk to laymen in a deceptive way.”

Complexity and simplicity: equally important philosophically but polar opposites in reality. Can we ever expect to find a way for them to meet in the middle?

Here are a few rather random suggestions how:

  1. Our friends over at Next Big Sound pair their Data Scientists with designers. That’s surely a great way to kick start creativity and ensure that both sides of the brain are delivering!
  2. “Recipes” can be simplified while still preserving all of the relevant facts. In The 4-Hour Chef, author Tim Ferris presents condensed recipes using a series of shorthands for full meals that take up less than two lines. Consider how you can simplify the methodology behind your science to present to anyone who is interested.
  3. It’s still customer first. The data can prove (or disprove) a theory, but the intent of the final report is to provide clear and direct value to any number of different audiences that are reading it.

PlaceIQ’s Audience Series sets out to highlight the importance of segments in the advertising world. As the pioneer of mobile’s application to location intelligence, and leaders in the mobile audience field, PlaceIQ has the knowledge you need. Key audience experts from each PIQ department — from engineering, to data science, to sales — will tackle a new topic each week to give a 360-degree view on this vast, ever-changing industry.