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How Accurate Is Your Current Data Onboarding Provider?

  • LiveRamp
  • 2 min read

Assessing The Accuracy of  Your Data Onboarding Vendor

When it comes to selecting a data onboarding vendor, accuracy should be one of the most important criteria driving your choice. After all, why bother onboarding your data if you can’t reach the same people in your file?

With this in mind, it’s important to understand the precision level that a data onboarder can truly support. It’s also wise to be wary of vendors who make accuracy claims with IP matching – unless you’re doing broad geo targeting or targeting employees at large businesses with static IP addresses.

But why be wary of these vendors?

Reasons Why IP Address Matching Is Inaccurate

Because deterministic match data is difficult and costly to acquire at scale, many data onboarding services use probabilistic models that rely on IP address matching. Here, matches between an IP address and a cookie can be easily collected any time an ad is served or a browser page loads.

However, in order for these matches to be useful for data onboarding, the IP address has to be mapped to PII. This is done by geolocating the IP address and matching to a street address – a process that is very inaccurate.

In fact:

  • Accuracy levels for matching IP addresses to physical addresses are reasonable at the country level, but quickly fall off beyond that. One of the largest providers of IP geolocation data to AdTech companies collects data at the ISP node level and can at best match to a 3-5 mile radius with 1000 to 2000 households.
  • Accuracy at the household level is further compromised by the fact that most consumer IP addresses are dynamic (vs static) and change when modems are rebooted, causing estimated geo-mappings to rapidly become out of date. VPNs and proxy servers also distort the picture at the household level, causing users to appear at the location of the server relaying traffic.
  • Devices on the same IP address cannot be clearly associated with specific individuals.

So what’s the answer?

The solution lies in selecting a data onboarding vendor who can offer accuracy at scale – who offers deterministic matching at the consumer level.

Match rates come up in every evaluation of a data onboarding service. This number is critical to understand because it determines how much data can be activated and put to use in online marketing platforms.

Here are 5 questions every marketer should be asking their data onboarding partner about match rates.