When WPP's GroupM unveiled a new data ethics tool earlier this year, it raised questions about what others were doing to create tools, guidelines and policies governing the ethical use of consumer data.
To find out, MediaPost teamed with Advertiser Perceptions to field a survey of advertisers and ad agency executives.
The study, conducted in early September, found that less than half currently have or are planning to develop such policies -- even though the potential for liabilities continues to grow.
More than half said they have no plans (23%) or are not sure if they will (32%).
Interestingly, ad agency executives were far more uncertain than their advertiser counterparts: 37% of agency execs said they were unsure, while only 23% of advertisers said so.
Also, more than half of clients said they currently have or are in the process of developing policies for the ethical use of consumer data, while only 42% of agencies said so.
Assuming that the samples are representative and the respondents gave the questions some thought, it's not surprising that "advertisers" seemed more into this subject than "agencies" because the former operate in relative isolation but an agency may have 5, 10 or 20 clients in different product/service categories, with different types of people running them---some caring, some not caring, some oblivious---all pulling in different directions if "pulling" is even the right word. So an agency respondent, answering for the entire agency would not necessarily be reflecting the unified opinions of all of the shop's clients---even if the respondent knew what they were. Solution: give a less definitive reply.
The data is owned by advertisers, not agencies. So you'd expect the advertisers to be paying more attention.
I see a time when agencies are hired by marketers/advertisers to do the creative and nothing else. Until AI starts doing the creative. But what do I know?
The thing that stands out to me is that 60% more respondents in Agencies were in the "Not Sure" bucket than for Advertisers.
Of the 76% of Advertisers who were "Sure" (i.e. answered Yes or No) 67% answered Yes and 33% answered No. Of the 63% of Agenices who were "Sure" (i.e. answered Yes or No) 67% answered Yes ad 33% ansewered No.
That is the Yes/No ratio of those who knew about the policy was the same for Advertisers and Agencies.
But the question remains, who was the Agency "Sure" rate lower than for Advertisers? Was Advertiser Perceptions able to get to the correct decision makers in Agencies. Was it because, as Ed points out, the Agencies tend to have smaller 'satellite' groups within the Agency that operate differently.
For example, there isn't a plethora of audience data for readership and it is primarily provided by the publishers and/or their industry bodies who would/should be the ones focussing on data ethics policies. The Agency uses that data in good faith that it meets data ethics requirements.
At the other end of the spectrum in online (most media are 'digital' now, so let's get over calling online usage 'digital') there is a plethora of data available. That data can be of high quality and veracity, or pretty much gobbledy-gook. Even more puzzling is how different measurement systems and providers can report on the same activity and come up with such wildly different data, results and inferences. They can't all be right!
CJ, the media time and space sellers are dreaming of the day when all advertisers buy their own media---in-house---and I mean national TV, not digital sales promo spending like search. The sellers will clean up in that event. But I don't see that happening soon.
I agree that the transition to in-house will likely be incremental, Ed. But it will, I suspect, "snowball" as CMOs learn from the more aggressive members of their cohort. Particularly as CEOs and Boards notice the additional ROI on media... of all types.
CJ, It will be very difficult for a marketing company to induce skilled national TV time buyers to join its in-house media buying organization as these people will have no where to go in such a company if they are upward mobile and they will have little to do most of the time. Teaching them other duties may sound like a solution, but few will want such a job. Worse, when it comes down to negotiating with the sellers at least now a large media agency has a fair idea of what is going on regarding pricing and deals in the whole market place as it works on many accounts---but not the in-house buyer. You may think that soon all national TV time sales will be done programmatically ---so this doesn't matter---but that particular dream is not happening---even for much of AVOD and CTV where "premium" content is available. It's just my opionion, but an in--house national TV time buying operation will be a set up for the sellers to charge high CPMs and in any event, will be rife with personnel and cost efficiency issues.