Marketers still don’t fully understand the role of technology in driving business and media goals, and two separate studies indicate that few have learned enough since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study, The 2020 Global Media Technology Report by media consultancy ID Comms, reveals that one-quarter of brands use media technology to gain the best outcome -- up 10% from 2017, when the last survey was conducted.
No advertisers claim to use technology "very effectively."
Agencies are more optimistic, with 41% saying they believe advertisers use technology "effectively" -- up 17% from 2017.
Just 14% of advertisers say they understand "extremely well or very well" how each technology platform in the marketing stack contributes. The remainder say their understanding is moderate or worse.
The worst scores were among media professionals, with a mere 9% saying they understood “extremely well, or very well.”
ID Comms surveyed 190 senior executives at brands and agencies worldwide. Advertisers were from around 10 categories and represent more than $20 billion in global ad spend.
The reasons why respondents think media technology isn’t being used to its full potential include excessive marketplace fragmentation, lack of access to specialist knowledge and capabilities, challenges around integration and limited resources.
In addition, challenges remain in finding good advice, according to the findings. Some 25% of advertisers believe specialist consultants are the best people to advise on technology, followed by 14% of management consultants, and 10 of agencies. Interestingly, 86% of advertisers believe their own lack of knowledge about technology has made them overly dependent on agency solutions, which is likely true.
Some of the sentiment about technology might be explained by data from market research company Savanta that analyzed findings from 500 business decision makers across the U.S. between November 3 and 6, 2020, with regard to working during the pandemic.
Some 41% of business decision-makers think that post-COVID-19, the reliance on remote working will increase in the U.S., and 20% expect to see more investments in building virtual platforms.
And simply because companies will build more technology, it doesn’t mean employees will understand their full benefits.
Take, for example, the 16% of business decision-makers who think automation will increase in U.S., and the 12% who think U.S. corporations will see the development of Robotic process automation software.
Then there's Dentsu. The advertising holding company began an eight-year project that will weave automation and artificial intelligence (AI) into every process across the company globally.
Max Cheprasov, chief automation officer at Dentsu, continues to spearhead the strategy.
He says the project, which began in Japan 2017, has 9,000 automated processes supported by artificial intelligence (AI). The Americas began rolling out the project in media and finance last month, with support from UiPath, a robotic process automation (RPA) company.