Are Match Rates (Really) Just a Number? AdExchanger

Advertisers are obsessed with finding potential matches and using data to fine-tune their approach. Most major brand advertisers already use or are in the process of signing up with a data management platform (DMP) to get more value from their customer data. With first-party data, bigger is better – the more data an advertiser has, the bigger their particular audience segment and the better the scale they can achieve when they try to reach that audience across devices, apps and websites.

This pursuit of data targeting at scale has popularized the concept of match rate, which usually refers to the percentage of users within a given audience segment that a DSP recognizes. This pursuit of data targeting at scale has popularized the concept of match rate. The best match rates in the world don’t do any good in a closed ecosystem that prohibits data from being applied elsewhere. It is a poor proxy for the question marketers actually care about: What percentage of an audience segment can advertisers actually reach with their ads?

It is definitely the case that marketers seek the ability to ‚unlock‘ their data for marketing activation, and that’s ideally in a non-closed ’stack‘. However, common understanding and a desired definition for „data portability“ do have a foundation in the ongoing matchrate discussion. In particular because there are further restrictions e.g. in suitable ad inventory and formats, we need to get as much of the marketer’s valuable first party data activated programmatically, as possible – for the time being, the match-rate is the best available indication here. Fully agreed, it needs to be viewed holisticly across all instances in the activation process.