Media buying is a data-driven business these days, with data being used in all aspects of the media buying process -- everything from media planning, to programmatic media buying and ad personalization, to campaign measurement/attribution and accountability and insights.   

Because of the complexity of the current data ecosystem, the ANA Trust Consortium recently released a buyer’s guide focused on advertisers' most typical data use case – the use of external (third-party) data for programmatic media buys.  The full report is available here.  It is intended to provide advertisers with greater visibility into the quality of the datasets they use for their media buys.  

Specifically, the guide is designed to help advertisers who are:

• Evaluating data to use for an upcoming campaign/initiative

• Conducting a post-mortem to understand why targeting an audience did or did not work

• Conducting a review or audit of vendors

• In the process of evaluating or signing a contract with a new data vendor

The guide also includes a helpful checklist for advertisers to use when considering a new data partner, as well as a list of questions to ask data vendors during the vetting process – including agencies who may be providing advertisers with data for their buys through their own in-house data partners.  

Of course, the data ecosystem for media buying is likely to continue to change in the near term, as the major web browsers either have already (Safari, Firefox, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer) or will be (Google’s Chrome) phasing out third party cookie tracking (to date, the primary way in which identifiers have been used to construct data sets).  These changes notwithstanding, it will always be good practice for advertisers and agencies to conduct sufficient diligence on the data they use to power their media buys, so that they can fully assess the value the data provides.