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Nearly 80% publishers & marketers want to outsource data strategy

Almost 70 per cent (69 per cent) of publishers and marketers said that their organization collects audience data. Lotame (www.lotame.com), the data solutions company, released its ‘Data Activation & Success Report’. As more publishers and marketers invest in audience data collection and activation, the report examines how these organizations use audience data, manage it and evaluate its success. For the study, more than 300 senior decision-makers in digital media and marketing were polled.

When asked to describe how valuable audience data was to their organization, nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) said it was “very valuable.” Together, 96 per cent said collected data was either “very valuable” or “somewhat valuable.”

For the 31 per cent that do not collect data, a lack of resources and education were the biggest hurdles. One-third (33 per cent) said that they did not “have the internal resources in place to do so,” while 31 per cent said “I don’t know where to even begin.” Another 21 per cent said “I don’t have the tools or technology needed.”

“Research finds that audience data is still underleveraged by publishers and marketers,” said Jason Downie, Chief Strategy Officer at Lotame. “For all these organizations, data strategy development, management and execution require sizable investments in talent and technology – and many simply don’t have the in-house capabilities or infrastructure.”

Relatedly, among respondents that do collect data, when asked if they could have data strategy, management and activation as a managed service versus in-house, 78 per cent said “yes.” Thirty per cent said they would switch to a managed service because “we need help executing the tactics,” while 22 per cent said they “don’t know how to optimise data to the full extent.”

The most common use case for audience data was “to make my content or messaging more relevant” (60 per cent), followed by “to help my campaigns perform better” (59 per cent); “to sell more advertising inventory” (53 per cent); “to win new business / RFPs” (42 per cent); and “to sell my data” (32 per cent).

“One-third of brands and publishers are creating new monetization opportunities by becoming second-party data providers,” added Downie.

“This speaks to a demand for data quality. Second-party data is another company’s first-party data sold directly from the source. This means you understand where the data is coming from and how reliable it is from the beginning. In the transparency era, this is incredibly powerful.”

When asked how they benchmark data strategy success, more than half (56 per cent) of publishers said an “increase in returning visitors, uniques and pageviews” was key. It was followed by “optimisation of ad inventory” (49 per cent); “increase in advertising spend” (46 per cent); “overall ROI and monetisation opportunities” (38 per cent); and “increase in winning non-endemic advertisers” (33 per cent).

“Publishers are focused on driving traffic and growing audience,” said Mr Downie. “This has a cascade effect on their ad success and the value they can claim for partners. So, it’s no surprise that data is being evaluated by traffic volume and pageviews.”

Among marketers, the top-5 metrics for data success were: 1) “increased brand loyalty” (58 per cent); 2) “increase in ad performance” (49 per cent); 3) “increase in conversions/purchases” (43 per cent); 4) “overall ROI and monetisation opportunities” (29 per cent); and “decreased ad waste / more effective ad spend” (26 per cent).

“There’s a lot of talk about waste in advertising right now,” said Mr Downie. “But brand loyalty continues to be the focus for marketers. It’s how they judge the success of their data by a large margin.”