Ad Networks BEWARE: Data Collection is Exploding, But Are Free Tools Costing You?


According to and DIGIDay’s “Video State of the State of the Industry Report”, 3 out of 4 brands and agencies use data to enhance their targeting. So, as a network, your data holds unique and powerful value.

Unfortunately, many networks are not leveraging their data to its full potential or worse giving it away unknowingly!

Take for example, this excerpt from an eMarketer article talking about free social tools:

US Data Collection Volume Share, by Channel, 2012 (% of total)“The tools are often deployed as a free service for publishers, but they also carry pretty clear data ownership rights. Certain providers can keep all the data they see across the sites where their widgets are placed and then use that data to power their own media networks.”

In other words, any data they collect on a publisher’s site is now considered the tool-provider’s property.

Once a publisher’s data is collected with these widgets, it can be packaged and sold to the agencies and advertisers as a data-targeted audience. This means a free tool just resold your audience to clients that you are also selling to.

Before you allow any company to enhance your site with a free tool be sure you know what they expect in return.

As my grandfather once said, “The only thing you get free in life is your name. Everything else will cost you something.”

And in this case, free just sounds too expensive.

To ensure you are not leaking data from  your network:

  • MAKE SURE you are getting compensated for any data that is being collected
  • MAKE SURE you have controls in place for who has what access to your data
  • Finally, MAKE SURE whoever has access to your data is a transparent partner in how they are using it, and not being re-bundling your data and selling it without compensating you.