ARF Re:Think 2014 Celebrates Research

Why is this year’s ARF Re:Think conference different from other Re:Thinks? For one it is Gayle Fuguitt’s first as chief of the ARF. For another, there has never been so much great research presented.

The media landscape has seen an explosion of viewing content possibilities. And media research, with the increasing amount of Big Data intelligence, has become the epicenter of business performance solutions. Which is why having events like Re: Think are vital to get issues and measurement solutions out into the media ecosystem. I polled several top researchers at the conference and asked them what their top research priority was, and the range of their answers was significant. Click here to see their responses.

In the area of cross-platform measurement, Project Blueprint, now in phase two, is positioned to become a standardize-able way to combine the measurement of television, tablets, mobile, computers and radio into one measurement platform. Brands are “looking to get better measurement across all touch points and combinations to optimize investments” according to Amaya Garbayo of Kellogg. But the industry is still fairly silo’ed. MediaVest’s Jeff Chaban said that cross-platform measurement, “is not where it needs to be but we are making significant steps.” Artie Bulgrin of ESPN, a major supporter and contributor to Project Blueprint, is experiencing success in monetizing cross platform for his networks. He said, “ESPN is an outlier in that 80% of our deals are done on cross-platform.”

There has been a lot pf press about using set-box data (STB) to help political campaigns win elections. Allant is partnering with Comcast Spotlight to use STB data to pinpoint voters on a hyper local level. Allant’s Eric Schmitt noted that it is “interesting how quickly political campaigns adopted the techniques (of using big data in their campaign targeting). They see success and jump on it…. Political is spurring (STB data use in) other industries.”

Announcements like the TIVO / Symphony AM partnership that combines STB data with passive audio app media usage data adds to TIVO’s cache of data including Fourthwall, TRA and shopper data.  All of these big data sets combine to form a clearer picture of viewer to shopper ROI. But we need to do more. Lee Garfinkel of Draftfcb believes that we are “not using [the] new world of data to its full potential. 90% of ads have been mediocre and still are.”

 Yet Keith Reinhard, chairman emeritus, DDB, spoke for those who believe that we could get carried away by the sheer enormity of big data. “There is a difference between big data and a big idea. The haystack is now so enormous we can't find the needle or we find something that is not the needle.” Obviously great data interpreters and data story tellers are critical.

We may never all agree on the path to cross platform or the value of big data and how it is used in our industry but it is nice to have a forum to present findings and air all the opinions and insights. That is the value of the ARF and its research conferences.

Tags: research, tv
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