Who is the key decision-maker at Google?
Not Eric Schmidt nor Sergey Brin nor Larry Page nor any other member of the Google management team. At Google, decisions aren’t made by people, they’re made by data.
At its core, Google is an engineering company and engineers believe in math, science and data. This can make the Googleplex a difficult environment for right-brained thinkers.
Data equals accountability. Don’t rely on your gut or a few focus groups. There are too many data points that can, and must, be considered. To leverage all the available data, major agencies are building demand-side platforms to buy large quantities of advertising inventory and decide on an ad-by-ad basis what message to show based on data gathered about the individual device where the ad will be displayed and the person using that device.
Unfortunately, this type of targeting is misunderstood (at best) and deemed creepy (at worst) by consumers. In general, people don’t like knowing that someone else is making money of their data. That’s why I ran an experiment to sell my data directly to marketers on eBay.
BlueKai does something similar, letting people control their data and earn money that can be donated to charity.
Marketers must rely on data, not opinions when making decisions. Meanwhile, agencies and publishers must find new and innovative ways to use data and add value or else they risk being disinter-mediated.
“Data trumps opinion. I love this phrase. How true it is, especially in a creative agency where you can, and almost always do, have varying opinions.”
“Digital advertising has allowed us, as marketers, to reduce emotion and replace it with hard data.”
“PM Laziness = basing prioritization/product decision on gut when a few hours in data would have given you a clear answer.”
“Data is only as good as the actions taken from it.”
The only Android you should trust is sitting on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Just try not to catch him in the middle of a data dump.
June 16, 2010: Google has made its foray into the demand side platform space. On 6/2, it announced the acquisition of Invite Media. I put this deal in context in today’s MediaPost column, ”Google Invites SEM Attributes to Display.”
June 20, 2010: CNET asks, “Is Google far too much in love with engineering?“ I answer, “Let the data (and by data, I mean profits) decide.”
July 16, 2010: In this chapter I share an example of my wife, Lisa, being served a highly-targeted ad while checking her Yahoo email. While I have no updates pertaining to such behavioral targeting practices nor has anyone cracked the code on cutting consumers in on the action, but I am happy to report that I’ve almost completely weaned Lisa off of Yahoo and onto Gmail.
Sept. 21, 10: As Seth Godin points out, people don’t care about privacy, they care about being surprised.