Marketers and agencies divided over media data trust

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 18 May 2016

Print and TV are the most trusted channels when it comes to transparency and brand safety, but views over audience data vary greatly between marketers and their media agencies, a new study has found.

Marketers believe online video and search provide the best high frequency, granular audience data, whereas media agencies rated online video data poorly, instead selecting online display and television as most trusted for audience metrics.

Although marketers and agencies agree digital channels have stronger metrics around proof of performance, stronger oversight is required to lift trust in digital to the same level as traditional media. Mobile data was one channel that consistently rated poorly, particularly by media agencies (see charts below).

The Audited Media Association of Australia (AMAA) research, which polled 315 client-facing media agency executives and marketers, found several areas they don’t see eye-to-eye, including the metrics the industry should focus on in the coming 12 months.

Marketers indicated proof of performance (chosen by 66%) and cross-media audience metrics (49%) as the two areas on their radars.

Media agency executives said cross-media metrics (59%) and ad viewability (52%) were the two most important areas with under half (45%) focused on proof of performance.

That only 36% of marketers noted viewability as an issue says more about marketers being focused on campaign outcomes rather than the nitty gritty of campaign execution, AAMA CEO Josanne Ryan tells AdNews.

“In our interviews with marketers, some of them said that they felt like they were flying blind because the industry is changing so much and they are grappling with keeping up,” she says.

“You can’t be an expert in everything and you’ve got to rely on your agency to do that.”

Ryan says viewability is an inherently complex to measure and understand while the myriad ways agencies trade media only adds to client confusion. This opens up an opportunity for media agencies to keep clients abreast through better education.

“The more knowledge agencies can share than the more even those scores will be, but marketers also know things that agencies don’t — they look at it through a different lens,” she adds.

Agencies and marketers broadly support stronger oversight of digital channels to build trust and confidence into the system.

More than half of respondents (54%) called for better digital oversight, compared to TV and radio (both 16%), out of home (15%), newspapers (13%) and magazines (10%). Perceptions about online video audience data are a thorny issue for the TV industry, which recently launched a new research body to tackle “inaccurate claims”.

Specifically, media agencies believe better oversight is required in programmatic trading (42%), mobile (31%) and online display (29%), while marketers highlighted social media (28%) as their major area of concern.

Audited data was regarded as more trustworthy than non-audited, while marketers regard their media agencies as the champions of accountability.

Trust in channel data

AMAA report on trust - channel data

Trust in audience data

AMAA insights on trust report - audience data

Trust in performance data

AMAA insights on trust report - performance data

Source: 10 Insights on Trust in the Media, Audited Media Association of Australia.

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