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Setting a Standard for Data Transparency

  • - Sandor Jones
  • 2 min read

For marketers, data remains the most valuable commodity to drive rich, omnichannel campaigns that reach an audience where they are. We’ve previously discussed the importance of having high-quality data that is transparent. Marketers allocating budget towards data to enrich their campaigns need to be sure their data is fresh and privacy-first.

Marketplaces have not historically provided details into the quality or transparency of the data—whether segments accurately assign demographic or behavioral attributes to an identified user. As the amount of and need for data grows, this becomes a problem. 

To that end, a standard on naming conventions has not previously been developed, leaving two data vendors calling similar segments completely different names. Additionally, with increasing regulations around the globe, like GDPR and the impending CCPA stateside, it’s imperative that the data supply chain be transparent. Data buyers also need to be educated on which criteria is being used to determine whether or not sourced data makes the quality cut. All data should have a clear indication on its source, how long ago the data was collected, and to what extent it has been manipulated, along with conventions in naming and segmentation. 

Recognizing the need for these guidelines, the IAB Tech Lab developed a Data Transparency Standard and Compliance Program to hold sellers to a baseline expectation on the level of transparency needed for a buyer to make an informed data purchase decision. At LiveRamp, data transparency is fundamental to everything we do, from identity resolution to the Data Marketplace, so we’re proud to have played a key role in helping define the standards for the program. 

The program also mandates the use of a Data Transparency Facts label—similar in spirit to FDA nutrition labels on packaged foods—to give marketers, data sellers, publishers, and agencies clear visibility into audience segments. The label includes who provided the data, how the segment was constructed, what audience segment the label describes, and where the original data was sourced. In addition to helping establish this program, we’re proud to adopt this initiative to bring greater data transparency to all data buyers. 

Here’s the IAB Tech Lab’s Data Transparency Standard and Compliance Program, which outlines conventional standards that marketers can use to ensure the data they are purchasing meets standards.  

Already using third-party data and want to gauge the transparency and trustworthiness, just like if you were dating someone? Check out this interactive page, “Would You Date Your Data?”