Digital publishers struggling to get real-time data

Digital display advertising is growing at a torrid pace, and the publishers that are able to leverage real-time data analytics are likely to be the best positioned to capitalize, according to a Forrester Consulting report.

With ad dollars increasingly shifting from traditional to digital environments, and digital ad spending increasingly moving to real-time programmatic sales, access to real-time data is becoming ever more important to publishers, according to a study by Forrester Consulting. But publishers are struggling to get that real-time data.

Forrester predicts that overall digital display advertising dollars will undergo massive growth in the next few years, from an estimated $20 billion in 2015 to $38 billion by 2019.

[Related: What is data-driven marketing? ]

"Publishers who successfully grab their share of these growing budgets will have done so because they were armed with critical insights derived from the aggregation, analysis and deployment of data from a wealth of sources coupled with differentiated speed to market," Forrester Consulting writes in the report.

Forrester was commissioned to write the report, Real-Time Data Analytics: Empowering Publishers to Make Better, Faster Decisions, by marketing automation software company PubMatic. Forrester Consulting conducted an online survey of 110 publishers and media organizations (60 in the U.S. and 50 in the U.K.) to evaluate their use of real-time data in analytics tools.

[ Related: 6 digital marketing pros define programmatic advertising ]

Digital publishers must keep it real (time)

Forrester Consulting found that 67 percent of publishers, regardless of size, believe that real-time data is important to their efforts (and 62 percent said real-time data leads to an increase in revenue). But only 27 percent of respondents said they receive data in real-time.

Forrester reached four key conclusions:

  • Real-time data drives publisher growth. Publishers say that access to real-time data analytics helps them make timely, better-informed decisions that increase revenue generation and uncover new revenue opportunities.
  • Most publishers do not receive their data in real time. Real-time bidding (RTB) is executed instantaneously, but only 27 percent of publishers receive their data in real time. Another 15 percent say they receive their data every few minutes.
  • As publishers grow, so does their appetite for data and need for actionable analytics and insights. Data resources grow in number and volume as publishers grow. In turn, this means publishers struggle to organize, analyze and prioritize data to maximize their speed-to-market. Forrester found that 60 percent of large publishers struggle to manage the volume of data they receive with the tools at their disposal. Additionally, 48 percent of publishers are frustrated by the speed at which they receive data.
  • Aggregating multiple data streams into a holistic view is a challenge. Publishers are frustrated by the difficulty involved in taking disparate data streams based on disparate metrics delivered by disparate platforms and turning it into a single view with seamless access to mission-critical information. Forrester found 56 percent of publishers struggle to get a single view of multiple data sources, 59 percent are frustrated with disparate platforms and 54 percent with disparate metrics.
"The opportunity for growth is tremendous, but optimizing ad inventory, connecting consumers with relevant content and growing revenue is increasingly difficult as the market becomes more crowded with a multitude of data sources," Kirk McDonald, president of PubMatic, said in a statement today. "Leveraging tools that provide comprehensive analytics and an intuitive, singular platform will enable publishers to get ahead of real-time."

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