Ad targeting (placement/content) is projected to be the leading focal point of future data-driven marketing activity, with respondents to a Winterberry Group survey [pdf] released in January 2012 rating it an average of 4.4 on a 5-point scale of data use significance. Other use cases closely following ad targeting in terms of future significance include market research/customer behavior analysis and offer optimization (both at 4.3), as well as content optimization and cross-channel touchpoint optimization (both at 4.2). Ad inventory forecasting and ad verification (both at 3.5) are projected to be the least likely activities to be significant for future data utilization.
In terms of current data-driven marketing activities, ad targeting (4) and market research/customer behavior analysis (3.9) are also rated the most significant.
Prior Marketing Campaigns Provide Best Data
Data from “From Information to Audiences: The Emerging Marketing Data Use Cases” indicates that advertising and marketing thought leaders are realizing the most value from utilizing data from prior marketing campaigns (i.e. for retargeting), rating this source a 3.7 on a 5-point scale. Web analytics providers (3.4) are rated the next-most valuable sources, with social media and/or mobile applications (3.3) close behind. Search engines (3.1), data originators, such as market research providers (3), and commercial data compilers (3) are also valuable third-party marketing data sources, while data exchanges (2.6) and list brokers and managers (2.5) are rated least valuable.
According to a comScore and ValueClick study released in November 2010, retargeting is the online targeting strategy that offers the most lift, although it has low reach.
Interest Driven by Insights, Hindered by Talent
Meanwhile, respondents to the Winterberry survey indicate that the growing ability to derive insights from deep first-party data assets, along with a growing understanding of the tactical needs of multichannel integration, are the leading reasons driving deeper interest and investment into marketing data, rating each an average of 4.1 on the 5-point scale of significance. Pressure from the “C-suite” to exploit the high-ROI potential of direct and digital channels (4) and to deliver quantifiable performance or performance improvement (3.9) are also significant factors.
Marketers appear to be affected by a talent shortage, though, rating a shortage of data-savvy marketing talent (4) as the top hindrance to their interest and investment in marketing data, closely followed by siloed collection and management of data within the company (3.9). Marketers are also struggling with poor insight among sales teams (or media buyers) into the relative value of data, and an insufficient data strategy (both at 3.8).
Quality Beats Recency
Meanwhile, quality and accuracy of a data set is far and away the most critical attribute in driving its value, rated a 4.4 on the 5-point scale, beating recency/”freshness” of the data set, insights into online /digital marketing interactions, and scale/coverage of the data set (all at 4.1). The length of the data history (3.7) was voted the least important in driving the data set’s value.
About the Data: Developed in research partnership with the IAB, the Winterberry Group’s findings are based on the results of an intensive research effort that included in-person, phone and online surveys of more than 175 marketers, agency executives, data compilers, technology developers and other industry thought leaders around the globe, 54% of whom best describe their job role or function as executive management.