Ad Tech Lies You’re Being Told: Lie #1 Data is the Deal

If you’re a lawyer, regardless of your intentions, you have to put up with lawyer jokes. If you sell used cars or vacuums door-to-door, there’s a heritage that you inherit. Likewise for any display advertising, the attitudes around how ads work remain skeptical. While we get the disinclination to buy into display ads on a grand scale from large providers, we’re proud that Cliques is different so we’re attacking the issues head on in a new series called Ad Tech Lies You’re Being Told. 

In this way, while you can mock us for our weird inclinations (Ben loves owls; Andrew is stridently defending disc brakes on road bikes), you can’t fault us for our integrity in what we’re offering through our platform. Here’s the first of many lies being told to sell you display advertising.

Lie #1: Our data is better at acquiring new customers.

Data-driven. Data-focused. Big Data. Choose your buzzword around data, add a chart and a graph (always up and to the right) and every ad tech company has the secret sauce to unleash micro collections of data that can find a perfect consumer. There is no greater lie than having “big data at your fingertips” as a means to reach a new customer

The truth is that data is what people talk about when they back their shiny dashboard up to the same repackaged pool of digital impressions that comes from every major ad exchange. This, in turn, drives mediocre results. It doesn’t matter if you rub outdoor marketing or de-saturated photos of Elon Musk pondering, ad services from big exchanges & DSP’s don’t prospect new customers. (They are successful at retargeting, but that’s converting the clients you already have.)

We’re by no means saying that big data (whatever that actually refers to) is bad. Quite the contrary–if it were up to us, we’d use data to make decisions about what socks to put on in the morning.  In fact, some sources indicate that analysis had a good last quarter. But in the murky, convoluted world of big ad-tech, big data is almost always shorthand for “we use some mix of algorithms & manual labor to A/B test 3rd party audience segments that have been diluted to the point of futility.”  So do yourself a favor: the next ad-tech vendor you talk to, ask them where they get their big data from.  Or better yet, next time you go to Burger King, ask them where they source their ground beef from.

What makes us different? We use content and a closed network of focused publications sorted by culture to ensure we’re reaching a new customer that is interested in your outdoor, bike and ski product. The result is a click-through rates five to ten times higher than the industry average. (We don’t do retargeting.) That means new eyeballs driven to your website, which means more selling.

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