Report Spotlights Murky Data Ownership Issues

A new report from data management and research firm Unified explores the challenges companies face to access their own data, especially when a decision is made to switch agency partners.

"Marketers trust their agencies and partners to spend millions of dollars on their behalf but that trust must be given responsibly," says Jason Beckerman, Chief Executive Officer, Unified. "They need to do their due diligence, demand data ownership and establish a strategy to leverage that data for the future."

One of the best ways to guarantee transparent access to social advertising investment data is to have it outlined within agency contracts, says Beckerman. Although the vast majority of brands (87%) state that it is important to own their social media ad data, 65% of marketers could not say that they included clauses addressing ownership in their contracts, with the most popular answer indicating that they didn’t know (43%).

"To set their social advertising up for success, marketers need to take the necessary steps to gain control of their data and hold their partners accountable," he says. 

More than half (59%) report partial to no transparency into how campaigns performed, and 53% report partial to no transparency into how much was spent on campaigns. 

It’s clear that developing full-picture analytics was more aspirational than actualized, reports Unified. Only 12% received analysis about pricing opportunities, versus 71% who desired to in the future. 

Other insights marketers wanted to see include data and spending account best practices (56%), analysis of all audiences beyond topline views (55%), and an investment summary by publisher (52%). 

Forty-six percent of respondents said  they have to wait from a week to more than a month to acquire social advertising data, versus 22% who receive it within a few days. 

"Marketers think they have their bases covered but then realize too late, often in critical moments such as agency transitions, they don’t," says Beckerman. 

There is also confusion over ownership when brands break up with their agencies. Most don't know the length of time needed to access data after they switch agencies, and 86% are not fully confident in their ability to access historical campaign performance.

The top three social campaign activities that marketers says they would like to engage in but are not doing today are: having a contingency plan if they switch agencies (52%), enriching and organizing raw data (47%), and independently verifying performance data (45%).

Nearly two in three marketers (64%) use more than one agency when developing social ad campaigns, with half reporting using three or more partners. They handle a lot of media chatter. Nearly half of marketers reported having five or more social ad accounts, while nearly a quarter (23%) cited using more than 10 to support their brands. 

The division of labor is split between internal staff and agency partners, with the most common response saying there is an equal division between internal and external teams (32%), followed by most of the work done by an agency partner (28%). 

The report queried 120 mid- to senior-level brand marketers across 18 unique industry sectors and 17 industry roles in March and April 2018. Additionally, qualitative surveys were answered by 77 agency representatives. 

More on the report can be found here.
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