21 Jul 2024 06:00

Advertising & Marketing

Trust in data varies across marketing disciplines

Kantar Millward Brown has transformed its annual Getting Digital Right study into a global Getting Media Right study. Why? Because digital cannot and should not be considered in isolation from the rest of the media mix. 

The study is based on interviews with 330 leaders, representing advertisers, agencies and media companies across the world and covers a wide range of strategic and tactical challenges facing marketers today. Getting Media Right provides a great summary of the challenges keeping marketers around the world awake at night. While there was broad agreement across representatives of each discipline there are some intriguing differences in emphasis that appear to reflect the experience and knowledge of each one.

For instance, trust in different data sources appears to vary widely by constituency. Asked simply, “What sources of data do you trust?” the highest scores went to “In-house data generated by our research of data science teams” and there was little variation between advertiser, agency and media company. There was a similar degree of trust and consistency for “third-party research from our vendors or partners”. However, trust was considerably lower and varied between constituencies when it came to other data sources.

While most advertisers had confidence in data supplied by their media and creative agencies, trust was considerably lower among people working at agencies. Is this because media is a more quantitatively-oriented business and creative more qualitative? By contrast, those at publishers or media companies represented in the survey were far more confident in data from publishers and media partners than either advertisers or agencies. And finally agencies appear more trusting in data coming from tech companies, DMPs or DSPs than either advertisers or media agencies.

I am most intrigued by the high level of trust placed by all three groups on in-house data generated by data science teams in the same company. I cannot help but wonder whether that trust is well-placed. I know our own data analysts find that some advertiser data science personnel have little idea of how brands grow and how best to understand the influence of different variables on each other or across time. Without a good understanding of how brands grow applied to a brand in the context of its specific category and country, data science can produce some banal and even misleading results.

And I cannot help but wonder at the differing levels of trust in data from tech companies, DMPs and DSPs. Is it that ad agency personnel simply take the data at face value whereas clients and media companies are more aware of the data’s shortcomings?


Written by Nigel Hollis, Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst at Kantar Millward Brown.

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