With a growing abundance of media audience data, advertisers and agencies must not lose sight of the importance of transparency, objectivity, and accountability, according to a new IPA white paper.
The white paper, jointly authored by Justin Sampson, Barb CEO and Tony Regan, managing partner at Work Research after an event Signals in the Noise event of the same name, described how the industry is at a “pivot point” or “transition” with a move away from last-click attribution and cookies, and a newfound focus on data and audience measurement at board level.
The report emphasised that there was no such thing as “raw data”, as every data source, collection, construction and interpretation is shaped by value choices, and with the proliferation of digital distribution “nobody can work effectively from the rawest form of data that gush from internet-connected devices”.
Sampson and Regan also highlighted the cost-effective price and value of Joint industry currencies (JICs), including ABC, Barb Audiences, Jicmail, Jicreg, Pamco, Rajar, Route and Ukom, which make up 0.27% of total media advertising spend (£60m).
Sampson said: “In this modern world of data abundance, advertisers and their media agencies are entitled — indeed obliged — to ask which data should be trusted to support judgements that are integral to decisions about which media to invest in, and how much to invest. JICs are an expression of the underlying collective values of our industry, providing great value and should form the bedrock of all campaign evaluation and audience measurement.”
Belinda Beeftink, the IPA’s research director, said: “We all know there’s a remarkable amount of audience measurement data available — but how much of it is trusted, accountable and transparent?
“In this sea of data, we need beacons of the industry to keep us safe from the rocks of unreliable data, opaque data, and misinformation, to help us chart our passage through to safe waters. This is where JICs play a crucial role.”
The report also suggested a checklist of questions for agencies to interrogate the non-JIC data they are using for planning campaigns:
>> Do you have a standard framework — such as marketing-mix modelling — for measuring effectiveness? Does it deliver insight that informs better decisions, or does it simply reinforce predispositions?
>> Can you see the data in a relevant context to find out whether the number is a good one or not? Does it demonstrate a good job well done, or something else?
>> Do the findings seem reasonable (for example, as a quantum, as a trend, against expectations)?
>> Are you listening to a genuine cross-section of UK society, or do you have a partial view of a defined part of the population?
>> Is the data generated from a survey or from the machines that people use? Or is it a combination of people-based and device-based data?
>> Who created the data and why? What’s their incentive and — if necessary — is there any independent validation?
>> What definitions of media exposure have been used? Are these comparable across different media?