MM Awards

Data – the new oil

David Murphy - Sponsored by: Research Now SSI

Liam Corcoran, VP ad and audience measurement EMEA at Research Now SSI, considers the value of data in the advertising cycle.

The media landscape has witnessed dramatic change over the last few years, a trend that isn’t slowing down. Big traditional advertisers have cut spend in the face of digital disruption and are demanding greater transparency. Media agencies are reporting slower revenue growth and are under significant pressure to demonstrate better return on investment for their clients.

Uncertainty over how to address the exponential growth of digital advertising has also added new complexity to developing marketing strategies: Where should I buy?  Who should I buy from? How do I know that
my campaigns are reaching the right people, that they are being seen, that they are being placed next to the right content and are delivering ROI?

Marketers are facing the dilemma of where to spend their budgets and whether they should be shifting spend from traditional channels, such as TV, to video on demand (VOD), as consumer behaviour changes. To justify this move, marketers need to be able to accurately report on which channels are most effective and providing the best ROI. The industry needs more real-time insight and new non-legacy approaches.

Leveraging data to drive better business results
Most businesses recognise that in order to achieve greater ROI on marketing investments, they have to get smarter about how they use their data. As companies continue to invest billions in technology to collect and house proprietary data, they need a way to tap into and leverage this investment.

They need to be able to make well-informed, strategic decisions, which strengthen their overall ROI, by tracking consumer behaviour, integrating it alongside their existing data, and being able to understand “why” customers behaved in the way that they did, by talking to them directly. Data can influence multiple points along the advertising cycle, from strategy and targeting to performance and optimisation.

Using data to understand audience behaviour
There is some thinking in the market that there is more data online than we can possibly imagine. However, the true value of data is not the volume of information that a business has, but how that information is used.

Data can inform advertising strategy, but the challenge is that, despite having a wealth of primary data, many marketers only have part of the picture. By partnering with data companies such as Research Now SSI, it is possible to get a 360-degree view of the intended target audience.

Marketers can enhance the data they already have by matching it against extensive panel data and leveraging the deep profiling that has already been done for them. Research Now SSI has over 11m panellists, in more than 40 countries, with an average of over 350 attributes on each panellist providing deeper, multifaceted insights from the ideal target audience.

It is possible to take this a step further, going beyond first-party (e.g. CRM) data and primary research data by appending third-party data, such as transactional or retail sales data, where the combination of data from all three sources can achieve a single customer view. Research Now SSI, for example, can offer social data appends as well as those from other third-party sources, such as Experian and Acxiom.

Using data for advertising measurement
The next step in the cycle is to validate, optimise and measure the advertising, ultimately to inform the complete marketing strategy. Understanding how advertising is performing, whether single channel or across a mix of channels, is key to optimising advertising spend and demonstrating ROI.

Combining the ability to measure online and offline exposures with traditional surveys provides data that helps brands to measure vital KPIs, including brand uplift and intent to purchase, across its intended target audiences.

It is important for marketers to think about campaigns holistically and to understand which channel or mix of channels are most effective, in order to begin attributing spend to each. For marketers who are looking to justify a shift in spend to online, this insight is critical to help demonstrate the improved ROI.

Driving better marketing decisions
Data has been described as the new oil; it will help drive the economy of tomorrow and the most effective marketers will be those who know how best to leverage data to inform their strategy. The recent merger of Research Now and SSI provides marketing professionals with access to better and more scalable premium data, providing greater reach and scale globally.

By enhancing first-party data with primary research data and third-party data, businesses will be able to make better marketing decisions. Ultimately, when data is optimised it is possible to have a 360-degree view of how customers and non-customers are interacting with a brand and how campaigns are performing, from reach and awareness to impact and ROI.