Yes, we said it.
Marketers have been told for years that match rate is the best way to measure the quality of your audience.
We're here to tell you that's false.
In addition to being a potentially misleading metric, there are several problems with using match rate to gauge the quality of your audience data.
The actual metric you should be paying attention to gauge how much of your audience you can target is something we at Primer call “reach rate.”
What's Wrong with ‘Match Rate?’
Match rate is merely the number of records found for a certain dataset in a particular ad platform’s database. For example, a 40% match rate on Facebook for a dataset of 100 profiles indicates that 40 of those profiles were found to exist on Facebook.
But here’s the catch: A 40% match rate doesn’t guarantee that you’ll actually reach all 40 of those people on Facebook.
For starters, match rate does not take into account audience relevance. Just because a list has a high match rate does not mean that the audience is interested in the products or services being offered. In fact, a high match rate could actually indicate that the list is made up of a large number of uninterested or irrelevant users.
Second, match rate doesn’t take into account the size of the audience. A list with a high match rate could still be small and not provide a significant ROI. On the other hand, a list with a lower match rate could still be large and highly targeted, providing a better ROI.
Third, match rate can be easily manipulated by buying or renting lists that are not targeted to the business or campaign. These lists can have a high match rate, but they will not provide a good ROI because they are not relevant to the business or campaign.
Finally, match rate doesn’t indicate that the audience is actually active on that platform. Someone who has a profile on Facebook isn’t necessarily on Facebook – ever!
A Better Metric
While match rate can be a useful metric to consider when evaluating audience lists, it should not be used as the sole metric. Instead, we recommend considering other factors such as relevance, size, and targeting when evaluating the quality of audience lists.
Primer enables precise, hyper-specific targeting across all ad platforms. You can build audiences based on any combination of attributes that you have on your leads — title, company, company size, the technology used, lost opportunity, growing website traffic, etc. We’ll match that list on all ad platforms regardless of whether they use business or consumer data to identify users.
We do this through identity resolution and data enrichment.
Primer takes your existing lists (or your targeting criteria) and works with more than ten GDPR and CCPA compliant data providers to enrich those lists with the data points that ad networks use for matching — the ones we discussed above. Primer automatically syncs your enriched lists to your ad accounts as audiences, so they are ready to plug into newly effective campaigns.
At Primer, we use match rate to gauge initial data quality. But we use reach rate to measure our true addressable audience. We've included this handy graphic below to help you visualize:
Match Rate Only
Match Rate + Reach Rate
How Primer Defines ‘Reach Rate’
Reach refers to the number of unique people who saw your ad. Reach rate can be calculated by taking the reach of your campaign and dividing by the total size of your audience. By measuring reach, you can get a better understanding of the size of your audience and the potential impact of your campaigns. This can help you optimize your targeting and budget allocation to maximize the ROI of your media campaigns.
Here are some tactics we use at Primer to increase our own reach rate:
This allows us to be competitive in the auction for ad space within our desired placements. The more we spend, the more dollars the platform(s) has to work with when bidding within the auction.
Adjust your campaign goals
More often than not, marketers will run campaigns through Facebook and LinkedIn with the chosen goal of “conversions”. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that approach, we find that it severely limits the reach of our ads. Instead, we run our campaigns with an “awareness” or “traffic” goal. This allows us to optimize for ad impressions and reach as opposed to forcing Facebook or LinkedIn to optimize for things like form submissions or some other down-funnel action.
How Primer Can Help
We partner with over 12 different data providers to source additional data points for your audience, thereby increasing your list’s match rate on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google.
Additionally, our unique approach to campaign setup and optimization informs our customer’s media strategies, allowing them to see an increase in reach. More information on these strategies can be found here.