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For Advertisers Looking to Reach African American Audiences, Data May Not Be Your Friend

We looked at an assortment of advertising segments purported to be African Americans across the 3rd party data ecosystem. According to our accuracy scoring method, the rate at which these segments accurately identified/reached African American audiences ranged from .12 to .66. And the average was .27.



That means, on average, for every dollar spent targeting an African American consumer (using these segments), 73 cents was spent reaching non-African American consumers.


Brands say they are looking to be more equitable in their advertising, but for many this is more of a box-ticking exercise, selecting African American 3rd party segments without being able to question if those segments are actually accurate. African Americans make up 13.4% of US consumers, but only are targeted by 1.4% of advertising spend.[2] It may be likely that this stat dramatically over-estimates the amount of African American targeting happening if we account for data quality.



How did we figure out these numbers and how can the industry do better?

Truthset is a data intelligence company focused exclusively on validating the accuracy of consumer data. Truthset uses a Wisdom of the Crowds methodology to compile a likelihood of truth for any individual record that can be used to validate the accuracy of data and power more accurate consumer interactions, called a Truthscore ™ . This Truthscore can be used to select and improve segments from 3rd party providers for most demographic attributes, not just age and gender.

This scoring allows us to look at different segments and understand where brands may be missing the mark on reaching their target audiences. Given the cultural sensitivity of multicultural audiences and the value brands are placing on being more equitable in their advertising, we want to help them find the most valuable segments to target.

In general, marketers should be careful to work with reputable data providers. So how do you avoid spending money on those records that aren’t in your target market? It’s simple! The easiest way to improve your targeting is to use Truthset Scored segments, available wherever you buy 3rd party segments, like LiveRamp Data Marketplace, Adobe’s AAM, Lotame, The Trade Desk, Xandr, AdSquare, Salesforce/Krux, etc.

Truthset Scored segments only include the records that meet a threshold for accuracy, meaning we’ve removed the IDs least likely to be the purported attribute of the segment, in this example IDs of different political affiliations. This leaves only the more validated IDs for advertisers to run their impressions against.

If you have any questions about how you can improve the ROI of your marketing with independently validated audience segments, contact us.


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