IAB: Marketers Eager to Optimize Data Tools [Study]

More than 60 percent of marketers want better integration for data tools, according to a recent study.

The study, authored by Winterberry Group in partnership with IAB, surveyed more than 50 marketers, advertisers, publishers, and marketing service providers about both understanding of data technology and hopes for future use. More than half, 60.9 percent, of respondents said that better integration of data tools would optimize use of data technology in marketing and advertising. The same number of respondents said that they would like better processes for sharing data among tools and more experienced data professionals to lead integration efforts.

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In order to optimize data, technology toolsets are going to have to function more smoothly in conjunction with one another, according to Patrick Dolan, executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO) of IAB. “The biggest challenge right now is harmonizing data and getting more transparency, so that these various systems in data can interact with each other and become more valuable to customers and to marketers,” says Dolan.

Marketers likely seek better integration for data tools because most are using a variety of toolsets to manage data. To that point, 51.5 percent of respondents said they are currently using five to 10 toolsets to manage data, while 9.1 percent are using 31 or more. Dolan expects to see more integration for toolsets as functionalities improve but also expects the numbers to fluctuate as marketers discover new uses for data.

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“You’re going to see some integration,” says Dolan. “New technology that’s going to evolve. For the foreseeable future there’s going to be a lot of dynamism or the toolsets that are available and the evolution of this ecosystem. I think it will ebb and flow, but there’s going to be a lot of activity.”

According to the study, respondents are most often using their toolsets to track audience analytics; 82.9 percent said that audience analytics for segmentation and targeting were the highest priorities for leveraging data technology. Programmatic media buying was almost as important, with 80 percent reporting to having used data technology for automated ad buying.

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Marketers are probably using data toolsets for audience analytics more often than they are using tools to manage integration of social or cross-channel measurements because they have a better understanding of how to use analytic functionalities. Respondents reported a vastly superior knowledge of data analytics technology than with newer data sources such as social media and video content.

Dolan believes marketers’ confidence in areas like social and video will improve as the channels mature, and believes that cross-channel proficiency will soon be standard. “Display ads through exchanges are the most mature [of the set],” says Dolan. “Once marketers master that, they can start sending messages through video, mobile, and social. You start with the core and move out.”

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