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Research reveals increased data usage, but lack of transparency in digital advertising

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Data from first- and third-party sources have become essential to reaching consumers with relevant and personalized messages that boost brand metrics and, ultimately, drive business impact. However, despite the ubiquity of data among agencies and advertisers alike, both the sources and quality of data are misunderstood and mistrusted.

According to the Bazaarvoice and Ad Age report “More Data, More Problems: Trust, Transparency & Targeting in 2017”, which was based on interviews with more than 300 marketers, agencies, and media, brands are looking for more transparency and accountability from their data partners.

The study suggests that, despite nearly all (95 percent) of the marketers surveyed saying they employ first- and third-party data in their media plans, 64 percent are not fully clear on the origins of their data sources. Additionally, nearly one-quarter of both brand marketers and agency buyers do not know how often their data sources are refreshed.

Three-out-of-four marketers surveyed said they are not entirely confident that their data is reaching in-market consumers. Further, only 23 percent of agency buyers are fully confident that their third-party data partners deliver against KPIs.

More than 60 percent of respondents said using first-party data is “very important” to their overall marketing strategy. Additionally, respondents consider the ability to surface potential new customers as the No. 1 quality of “good” data. When asked what they considered the top indicator of “good” data, 50 percent of all respondents said engaging with ratings and reviews or product detail pages was the No. 1 indicator for predicting if a consumer will buy.

“Based on our research with Ad Age, it’s clear that using data in digital advertising is not going away, but marketers must ask the right questions about their data and demand more transparency from their partners to achieve returns on their ad spend,” said Toby McKenna, senior vice president of global advertising at Bazaarvoice. “Thirty-four percent of brand marketers and 24 percent of agency partners believe their data partnerships lack innovation, so there is a lot of room for improvement.”

To inform the survey, Ad Age utilized a third-party research firm to interview more than 300 marketers from agency and brand-side backgrounds. The respondents reflected a mix of mid-level to senior professionals from small to large companies across a range of industries and verticals. Read the full report from Bazaarvoice and Ad Age about trust and transparency in digital advertising.

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