Report: First-party data, direct control top advertiser media priorities

New Kantar survey into how data is being used by advertisers highlights the importance of in-house data sets in media strategies but also the challenges of harnessing it

Advertisers are increasingly looking to take direct control of their media spend and they’re looking for more ways to harness first-party data to improve these advertising efforts, a new report finds.

The fresh Kantar Data Strategies for brand growth report takes a look into how data is being used and considered in media strategies, as well as current thinking around media spend and delivery. According to the results, 82 per cent of advertisers want to take more control of their media spend, and 76 per cent believe data should be used by everyone including the agencies they work with.

The report found 83 per cent of respondents are pursuing a direct-to-consumer strategy, and 78 per cent are planning to strengthen their data platforms in order to better understand and segment consumers. What’s more, 81 per cent are actively looking to use their own data alongside primary research in their advertising efforts, and 75 per cent recognise the value of syndicated data in media and advertising activity.

The greatest hurdle is harnessing this data. Just shy of four in 10 said the greatest challenge to their brands’ advertising and planning strategies is profiling their audience across all touchpoints. In addition, 30 per cent saw a lack of cross-media reach and frequency data as a potential roadblock, while 63 per cent struggle to generate insights on competitor media activity. Benchmarking against competitor activity is considered critical to the bulk of advertisers today, and 86 per cent expect its importance to either stay the same or increase in the next few years.

Kantar’s research also found 60 per cent of advertisers expect enhancing first-party data sets with data from other sources will become increasingly important in coming years, and 59 per cent see real-time data delivery becoming more important. The way data is analysed, from insights to guide short and long-term strategy, to dashboards and visualisations, are all expected to gain importance, too.

As part of the research, Kantar mapped different internal and external data sources by characteristics. In-house data topped nine of the 11 categories, particularly for trustworthiness and relevance to objectives.

Another notable finding of the survey was that two-thirds believe understanding and retaining current customers is more important that customer acquisition.

“Winning brands will be those that combine creative and context as effectively as possible, using real-time intelligence to understand audiences and competitor activity,” the Kantar report authors stated. “This will allow them to leverage the full power of their own direct consumer relationships, bringing relevant stories to the right audiences at the right time, in order to drive growth.”

The Kantar survey canvassed the views of 672 advertising executives from 39 countries who account for US$423 billion in global advertising spend collectively. The respondents either had direct responsibility for data and research or are data users within their brands and encompassed marketing, analytics, strategy, marketing technology or consumer insights positions.

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