Commentary

Real-Time Bias: 64% Of Marketers Basing Decisions On Biased Data

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of marketers turn to ad tech providers for data into the latest trends and best practices in online advertising, while only 35% turn to independent researchers and 26% to governing bodies. This leads to the majority of marketers basing “important business decisions” on what could be biased data.

These findings come from ExchangeWire, a UK-based publication focused on the data-driven marketing industry. The study is the first from its ExchangeWire Research division, a newly launched arm of the company. 

This problem will only worsen as our industry growth explodes,” stated Nick Graham, global director of digital marketing at Huawei Technologies, one of the brands interviewed for the study. “We need only consider how a phenomenon such as the Internet of Things (IoT) will fuel even more demand for credible data, and over the coming years, vendor proliferation from ad tech through to the IoT will be immense.”

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Nearly half (43%) of respondents said a lack of data focused on emerging channels is a barrier to “sourcing accurate, credible, useable research,” with 43% of respondents also saying that “the data available today is too generic.” ExchangeWire notes that some believe data is too old to be relevant -- that it simply can’t keep up with the ever-evolving, real-time landscape.

There is, of course, some irony in a company announcing the launch of its research division by asserting the industry's need for independent research, but the point being made appears valid.

“Technology spend by CMOs is expected to increase tenfold in 10 years from $12 billion to $120 billion, according to Ashu Garg, general partner, Foundation Capital. With that in mind having the right data available to support such significant investments is vital,” stated Rebecca Muir, head of research at ExchangeWire Research. 

ExchangeWire conducted its research by polling 139 senior marketers in January 2015, “all of whom had previously expressed an interest in emerging digital advertising technology,” claims ExchangeWire.

“As a brand, we appreciate that true research neutrality is hard to come by,” added Graham in the statement. “Both consultancies and leading research providers have ties with the industry, and ad tech vendors have similar ties, which makes quality independent research all the more rare and valuable.”

The topic of independent research in the ad technology space recently came to light when Nielsen acquired eXelate, a data management platform (DMP) in the digital programmatic ad space. Jim Nail, principal analyst at Forrester Research, said to Real-Time Daily that the questions floating around the industry include: “[Is Nielsen] buying eXelate for the data to improve their measurement capability? Are they moving into the selling of data to marketers? Are they moving into the the middle of the transaction, in the exchanges?”

Nail added: “That is a huge strategic issue for them, because they’ve always been the neutral arbitrator -- the umpires sitting on the side. As a DMP, that doesn’t necessarily compromise their neutral stance, but depending on how they execute, and the revenue model they use, it could move them into a part of the media transaction that they have never been in before.”

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