Communication planning in a disrupted world


DIMENSION explores many of the key communication planning, buying and measurement issues and themes from the twin perspectives of those leading the media industry and the consumers they are trying to reach.

The study offers a transparent and comprehensive view of the challenges – and opportunities – created by the increased availability of data, automation and changing consumer behaviour.

Communication planning in a disrupted world


Online adults





Key Findings

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We surveyed 5,000 ‘connected adults’ across the UK, US, France, Brazil and China and spoke to 40 leaders internationally from all sides of the industry.

Some of what we found is surprising, and all of it is enlightening. Here is a brief summary of the key insights we’ve uncovered:

Consumers views

  • Many expect to see major brands sharing their messages across multi-media

    - 85% claimed they notice multi-media campaigns

    - 51% think this is a good way of communicating with them

  • Consumers are aware of, and even welcome, specificity in targeting and relevance in content

    - 78% reported seeing ads they recognised as being specifically shown or tailored to them

    - 64% agree they prefer ads that are relevant to them

But the picture isn’t all positive …

  • 71% agree that some ads are shown too often                  

  • 55% agree they often see ads for something they’ve already bought

  • 20% claim to always use an adblocker               

...Amongst those with adblockers, 47% claim to like or tolerate advertising, suggesting that their concern is with aspects of online advertising, as opposed to with advertising as a whole.

Leaders Views

  • The phrase ‘not all data is equal’ was used by many. Just because something is quantified does not necessarily mean that it is either accurate or objective.

  • Industry leaders recognise the need to improve the whole online advertising experience for consumers. Reliance on automation is feeding retargeting and over-frequency at the expense of longer-term brand-building strategies.

  • Most recognised the debate was moving away from simply looking at multiple channels, and measuring each within its own silo, towards the need for more consumer-centric planning.

  • Frustration was expressed at the lack of fair and equal access to data – an inclusive cross-channel measurement system is desirable.

  • Whilst a degree of automation within the media process is inevitable (and desirable) the importance of human involvement (particularly in planning) cannot be overstated.

  • Many felt the world of communication is too complex for any one organisation to manage every facet. The challenge now is optimally structuring teams of multiple specialists.

  • Data-sharing partnerships will become more common, potentially altering the construct of the industry and the traditional roles of agency, media owner and brand.

Country Findings

Learn more about the insights by country

Is advertising changing for the better or the worse?

I notice advertising for brands across multiple media

I see an increasing amount of ONLINE advertising that is relevant

I often see ads specifically shown or tailored to me

Base: 5,213 connected adults. Source: Kantar Media, Dimension study, Oct - Dec 2016

The new skills are in data scientists, mathematicians … (but) I think the jobs of a creative strategist, a planner in a creative agency, plus strategic and communications planners in a media agency, (these) will become really coveted and highly valued positions over the course of the next ten years.

Mark Howe

Google, EMEA

DIMENSION – 10 things to know


Throughout this study we’ve had privileged access to some of the industry’s most senior thought leaders.

Here is a summary of some of their key thoughts and opinions:

  • For advertisers

    Applying short-term data to drive short-term buys at the expense of all else risks damaging a brand’s equity.

    Online advertising needs a different set of consumer-centred rules. Offline media learnings cannot simply be translated.
  • For agencies

    Automation is positive but not at the expense of human-based interpretative and strategic skills.

    The future is collaborative, not transactional.
  • For media owners

    Partnerships with clients, agencies and specialist suppliers are the future.

    Mobile represents a huge and exciting opportunity – but content needs to be properly adapted.
  • For adtech

    Look beyond the technology and consider the consumer’s experience of online advertising.

    Lift your eyes from the algorithms to consider the broader world of communication and measurement.


Dimension Report

Listen to the whole report

Communication planning in a disrupted world

Reaching and engaging consumers in the right way

Gaining competitive advantage in a data-driven world

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Download your copy of DIMENSION to understand the challenges – and opportunities – created by the increased availability of data, automation and changing consumer behaviour.