DIMENSION: More data than ever – and more challenges

Media industry leaders face a daunting task. Technology has completely reshaped the business, and it’s not done yet. Everything – from how (and by whom) content is created, through to how it’s delivered and consumed by the end-user – has been and continues to be transformed.

Our DIMENSION report interviewed 40 industry leaders across four of the world’s largest advertising markets (the U.S., Brazil, France and the UK) to get their take on how the industry is operating with the technology and skills available in today’s data-driven world. Their consensus? Data is reshaping the industry, and understanding how to best use it is thus an essential skill.

A catalyst for change

The single biggest change to occur within communications has clearly been the arrival of the internet and the digitalization of media. Digital media also generates a tremendous amount of data, so it is not surprising that without exception, all of the leaders interviewed identified ‘data’ as a critical driver of change within our industry.

Our leaders were united in their views that the breadth and depth of the data now available and accessible from multiple sources is on a scale we haven’t seen before. And that this brings both opportunities and challenges.

One challenge we’ve seen arise lies with the sheer number of ads being served. The market is becoming over saturated, and inundated consumers are becoming less tolerant. Some of the leaders we interviewed believe the need to reassess strategy in this area is crucial:  

“The downside of greater precision in the online ad marketplace is that there can be a saturation of “relevant” ads being delivered. We may be reaching the point where consumers have been exposed to all that they can in a given day and the industry needs to re-think at what point oversaturation actually begins to erode effectiveness.”
Jane Clarke, CIMM, US

“If I got one more sale by re-targeting fifty times, [but] I’ve annoyed hundreds of people in the process, was that one extra sale worth it? Probably not.”
Toby Horry, Tesco, UK

"Blind and unthinking [online targeting] is like going into a department store and walking briefly past the shoe section, glancing at the shoes, and saying you quite like those, and then for the next hour having some sales man running around the store [after you] saying buy these shoes, buy these shoes. There is no depth, no brand context, no consumer understanding.”
Nick Emery, Mindshare Global, UK

While we may have more data than ever before, just because something is quantified does not necessarily mean that it is accurate, unbiased or helpful. The phrase ‘not all data is equal’ was an oft repeated watch-out from our leaders.

Wherever it comes from – and clearly there are multiple sources of useful data for almost any circumstance – data alone without analysis has little value. Skill is required to concentrate those numbers down to an essence, to extract the insights of value to the business. And business judgement is also key to ensure that data-driven strategies don’t impact the customer experience. As our experts also noted, leveraging data to get the best results for your business thus requires deep expertise.

“We collect a lot of data; what’s really important now is how to convert this data into strategic assets, and how this data will fuel our future strategies.”
Nick Gyss, L’Oreal, France

DIMENSION is a landmark new study from Kantar Media exploring 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.

Learn more about DIMENSION here

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