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Back to Basics: What is Data Onboarding?

The buzz surrounding the importance of utilizing offline data for online marketing campaigns has been hitting the AdTech space hard, and everyone is trying to jump on this bandwagon. But what exactly is offline data, and how do you onboard it into an online space, especially with all these data privacy restrictions? Reaching the right person, whether offline or on, at the right time is critical in any campaign.

This article will tackle what offline and online data are, how companies match them, and how the two can help you in your marketing efforts.

What Is Offline Data?

Offline data, of course, originates from offline sources. This ranges from in-store purchases to loyalty card data and more, and can be pulled from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data files or data bought from offline data vendors.

As much as a consumer spends their time online, those actions offer a only a tiny view of who they are and how likely they are to be a good fit for your product or brand. Offline data is a very important resource when looking to create a marketing strategy, especially a successful, people-based data strategy because it fills in the missing pieces that you are looking for in the online transactions.

As powerful as offline data is, it does indeed sit offline, and for the longest time, people have had tremendous difficulty connecting it to online users in an effective way, all with privacy of the consumer in mind.  

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What Is Online Data?

Online data captures the behaviors, interests, and interactions of consumers that are exhibited across the internet, as gathered by cookies. By capturing the ways in which consumers are interacting across these different digital touch points, marketers can build a detailed picture of them: what content they’re consuming, on what device, and what specific actions they’re taking. These data points are combined to provide rich consumer insights, which can be utilized for content development, ad targeting, and creative messaging.

What Is Data Onboarding?

Data onboarding is the process of transferring offline data to an online environment for marketing needs. Data onboarding is mainly used to connect offline customer records with online users by matching Personally Identifiable Information (PII)  gathered from offline datasets to find the same customers online. There are important considerations to take into account when handling PII, and will be covered later on in this article. CRM data onboarding happens when data is uploaded to an online territory and then matched to online profiles/audiences which are then used to create online segments and delivered display ads.

What Are the Benefits of Data Onboarding?

Combining online and offline data in one central platform, such as a data management platform, provides you with a complete view of your customers and prospects. These insights will help with audience targeting, enable you to deliver more personalized marketing campaigns, and maximize the ROI generated from your marketing efforts.

Onboarding your offline data and matching it to online profiles allows for a holistic cross-platform understanding of your consumers. This means you are able to know more about each individual customer, perform better segmentation and general insight generation, and send better targeted ads. The ads that you may have been sending offline to a specific targeted customer can now be targeted to the same customers profile ONLINE and, with that, your campaign just gained a consistent and relevant tone and message across all media platforms!

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For example, a shoe store has a bunch of Loyalty Card customer data sitting offline that they would like to bring online to retarget consumers who have bought a specific line of flip-flops. An onboarder will onboard that data, match it to a cookie (online profile) and send targeted ads to that customer because they have already shown interest offline, in the store. Because their offline data matched to an online profile, the shoe store has a high likelihood of converting that customer online, because of the data collected when they swiped their loyalty card in the store.

Introducing Lotame Onboarding

Lotame Onboarding is a fully managed service to bring your offline data online and into Lotame’s Data Management Platform (DMP) in compliance with industry privacy standards. We offer this solution as a managed service to Lotame DMP and non-DMP clients alike.

With the help of our onboarding partner, LiveRamp, Lotame will help you bring your valuable offline data into Lotame’s DMP, while removing all Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Your PII-free data can then be combined with other data sources for a holistic view of your consumers across screens. Once inside the platform, this data can be used across dozens of activation channels in the advertising and marketing technology ecosystem.

How Does Data Onboarding Work?

Unique identifiers in the offline world of advertising can range anywhere from email address to physical address to a name. In order to bring that data online, a “match” must be made between the offline profile (consisting of those things) with the online profile (cookie).

The Lotame data onboarding process is pretty straightforward. Lotame will create a private and secure place for you to upload your offline files, and in as little as three days, your anonymized, PII-free offline records will begin populating in your Lotame account for media targeting, analytics, content personalization, and more.

Best of all, you will have a Lotame representative with you every step of the way to ensure your offline data is brought online in a smooth and seamless way.

Taking Privacy Into Account

Privacy is and should always be on any data onboarder’s mind. Lotame makes it a point to keep your onboarded offline data in a safe, secure ecosystem. We never come in direct contact with a client’s Personally Identifiable Data (PII). Your uploaded file will be sent directly to LiveRamp using an industry-standard Secure File Transfer Protocol, or SFTP, and will be living on LiveRamp’s secure servers. We can neither access nor modify your file; but, if you request it, we can delete what is there. Because you are uploading a file that contains PII, such as name, street address, telephone number, and more, Lotame never transacts in that process or gets a hold of that information.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please reach out to info@lotame.com for more information.

by Haley Adam, Product Marketing

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