Hasan Arik
Hasan Arik 11 April 2022

Four Media Data Challenges for Advertisers to Crack in 2022

Recent global uncertainty —including the pandemic, cost of living increases, and war threats in Europe — is pushing us all to our limits, in ways we never expected. In the world of advertising and beyond, agility and efficiency have become key, and, quite rightly, this shows no sign of changing.

Despite optimism about increasing advertising budgets, growth has recently slowed and there remains intense industry competition, indicating that the light at the end of the tunnel is still a little way off.

Which begs the question: How can global brands truly make sure they are getting maximum return on their media investments? One fundamental answer is both slightly simpler and more complex than you may think: Effective data management.

Data management can often be overwhelming for global advertisers that are juggling a multitude of different data sets, often impeding the speed and accuracy of their decision making. Optimising media data management should therefore be a top priority. 

So what currently holds back advertisers from making the most of their massive pools of media data?

1. Make Sure the Data is Current, Complete and Easy to Access

Current estimates suggest we create 1,145 trillion MB of data across the entire digital ecosystem daily. The media data in this constant stream of information can be an incredibly powerful tool for any advertiser, but only if they have the ability to effectively manage and organise it so that it is both useful and usable.

The more up-to-date the information, the more flexible and efficient a global media management team can be. This is where a media data management programme (MDMP) can provide support; a tool that centralises access to clean and harmonised data from all touchpoints — whether it be online or offline; mobile or desktop; in store or ecommerce.

By taking on the heavy lifting of ingesting large quantities of data and rapidly turning it into actionable insights, MDMPs allow marketers to get a clearer view of their global data, tracking inefficiencies and highlighting waste with greater precision and speed.

Pulling together media data from all local markets and all data sources can seem a daunting task, but the beauty of good MDMPs is their ability to collect, clean and organise this data so that it really can be used to improve investment decision making.

2. Make Sure the Data is Accurate

This sounds like a no-brainer but it’s harder than it seems.

Nothing clouds a global brand’s vision like inaccurate or incomplete data. It can lead marketers to make incorrect decisions and produce unpredictable outcomes. Gaining fast access to data that MDMPs collate is worse than pointless if that data cannot be trusted.

The flood of data gathered by global brands often means that local reports are filed in different formats, languages and programmes. Duplicated or out-of-date data can slip into the system, warping results and leading to time and effort wasted on unnecessary data collection and subsequent data cleaning.

To combat this, global brands need to create a single source of media data truth that can be reliably drawn upon by all stakeholders.

In practice, this means managing all local information in one solution, before adding and updating it into a master data system to ensure it can be accessed from anywhere across a brand’s internal systems, allowing teams to make agile and precise business decisions.

With all data available on the master system, this creates a single data source that delivers the raw material for the discovery of actionable insights, and which minimises the need for continual local market data requests. This single source of media data truth can become the powerhouse behind making more profitable media investment decisions.

3. Make Sure you Have the Full Data Set that you can ‘Slice and Dice’ to your Heart’s Content

Media in-housing is back. Last year 38% of marketers looked to in-housing some of their media investment processes, highlighting the importance to some advertisers of owning, or at least controlling better, both the media process and the data that lies behind it.

However, all marketers should look beyond simply in-housing media functions or processes and consider in-housing all of their media data; giving them control of, and instant access to, their planned and actual media spend and performance data.

For multi-market advertisers who may struggle to keep track of their local market data, bringing this capability in-house allows historical analysis to be better utilised for future planning, and better visibility of committed spends for greater financial agility.     

From marketing and media teams to finance and ZBB departments, the creation of a trusted, owned, in-house media data source should be a priority for brands.

4. Make your Data Useful for Local Markets as well as for Global Teams

No matter how large a media company becomes, no matter how many employees it has, and no matter how many continents it covers, one core truth remains: media is essentially local in nature. 

Buying activity on Facebook or Google or any other global media partner must fit within the overall LOCAL media strategy and it’s important not to forget the selling of more products happens, locally, so make all media data management tools useful for them too!

Local markets all function in different ways, as do the interactions and working practices of local agencies and clients. And this can cause discrepancies and confusion when local data is translated into global data.

These cultural challenges are the biggest issue a global brand faces and, as Peter Drucker said, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. No technology will be able to iron out the problems caused by cultural miscommunications, and pushing a global-first solution will only create more local tensions and confusion.

Putting local teams first is the best way to avoid this. Local data should be collected and rolled up to meet global requirements, with both sets of data kept for reporting.

This means that local processes, taxonomies and language are preserved so that local teams can still access and use the data. If local teams get value from a media data solution, they are far more likely to take greater care over providing accurate and timely inputs.

Taken together,  overcoming these four challenges will create a single source of media data truth that uses an accurate and current view of media data to create the foundation for better informed media investment decisions.

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