Second annual global review of DDMA: Data continues to grow in importance for marketers

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Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 1.04.49 pm.jpgThe second annual Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising revealed that data is playing an increasingly central role as a pillar of marketing, advertising and customer experience practice around the globe, with 81.3 percent of marketers describing data as important to their efforts, an increase from 80.4 percent in 2014, and 59.3 percent calling it ‘critical’ to their efforts, up from 57.1 percent in 2014.

The study, conducted by GDMA (an alliance of 27 independent marketing associations around the world) and U.S. research and consulting firm Winterberry Group indicates that 74.1 percent of marketers remain confident in the value of data-driven marketing and advertising (“DDMA”) and its potential for future growth. Among the survey’s 17-nation panel, 56.3 percent said they increased their annual DDMA expenditures last year, while 68.6 percent expect to increase spending further in 2016).

These metrics were slightly down on 2014 levels (when 77.4 percent of panellists indicated confidence in DDMA and 63.2 percent increased their respective spending since the prior year). The year-on-year dip could reflect the finding that participants cited improved measurement and attribution techniques as the single most important initiative would support their organisations’ ability to drive more value from DDMA.

The Global Review’s findings were compiled through an online survey of 2,938 advertisers, marketers and other industry participants, in 17 countries, between July and September 2015. It to benchmark their campaigns, allocate budgets in line with global best practices and develop strategies for using data in meaningful, responsible and consumer-friendly ways.

Says Jodie Sangster, chair GDMA and CEO ADMA: “Data-driven marketing is increasingly impacting business functions and shaping whole of business strategy. Technological advances are transforming the ways organisations can harness data to meet business objectives but it is clear that measurement and attribution methodologies need to evolve in order to better support marketers build value case. Improved measurement capabilities along with an appetite for more skills and training around analytics are a global requirement and should be a key focus of our industry in order to continue to foster growth and innovation.”

GDMA Infographic-Print.jpgThe key findings of the report are:

• Data matters… more: Among nearly 3,000 experienced marketing and advertising practitioners across 17 global markets, 81.3 percent described data as important to their

is the largest study of its kind undertaken by a global consortium of marketing associations and aims to provide insights into how technological, macroeconomic and media change is transforming the marketing and advertising landscape and enable marketers efforts, representing an increase from an already large majority (80.4 percent) who said the same one year ago. An even larger proportion (59.3 percent, versus 57.1 percent last year) went so far as to call it “critical” to their efforts.

• The bull market remains in force (though may be tiring): 74.1 percent of worldwide panellists said they remain confident in the practice of DDMA and its potential for future growth, though optimism tempered slightly compared to a year ago, when 77.4 percent of panellists expressed similar enthusiasm. With respect to individual markets, this “confident majority” grew in only one country, Germany.

• Measurement is the key: The global participants called for improved measurement and attribution techniques and better training in respect to analytics and audience segmentation when asked what would help advance their ability to derive value from DDMA programmes. Panellists benchmarked (on a 1-to-5 scale with 5 indicating a factor is ‘critical’ to deriving more value) improved measurement at 4.24 with better staff training at 4.22).

• The customer is king: For the second year in a row, global panellists said their desire to be “customer-centric” is fuelling their DDMA efforts more than any other single priority.

• First-party data rules: Far fewer practitioners are engaged in the use of “third-party” data (which typically includes compiled, commercial datasets that are licensed on an open market) to support their acquisition marketing efforts. Just under two-thirds of the global panel (65.5 percent) said that third-party data licensing is included among their DDMA use cases.

• Funds continue to flow to DDMA: More than half (56.3 percent) of global panellists said they increased their annual DDMA expenditures this year, though the extent of that spending growth dipped slightly compared to the 63.2 percent that said they did the same last year. Further, 68.6 percent expect that their organization’s DDMA budgets will increase next year–a robust majority though slightly smaller than the 73.5 percent that said the same last year (regarding their expectations for this year’s spending)

• Digital, digital, digital: Panellists said they increased their proportional spending on social media, web content, search and online display advertising more over the past year than on any other addressable channel, reflecting the findings of last years’ research but with more consistency across markets. This is likely because these are the media that are delivering the greatest improvement in return-on-investment.

Says Jonathan Margulies, managing director, Winterberry Group: “Both data and the practice of ‘digital’ represent an industry transformation that is truly global in its scale. And our second annual study reveals a wealth of commonality of experience, learnings and challenges between marketers around the world. Data is adding value to enterprises across the globe and the research offers an important validation of how responsible marketers intend to use, and safeguard, data for the betterment of consumers’ everyday brand interactions.”

Focus on Australia

What’s driving data-driven marketing and advertising activity (DDMA) in Australia? Australian panellists said two primary motives–the desire to be more “customer-centric” and ‘the desire to align with consumer media preferences –guided their marketing agendas. Panellists benchmarked each at 4.03 and 3.57 respectively (on a 1-to-5 scale); compared to the global index of 3.03 and 3.12 respectively.

In line with the overall global trend, Australian marketers were slightly less confident in the value of DDMA than last year. However, marketers anticipated an increase in spending across most DDMA channels in 2016.

The availability of necessary talent/marketing expertise is regarded as more of a barrier to driving DDMA in Australia than globally; Australian marketers ranked “availability of talent” as 2.84 (on a 1-to-5 scale with 5 indicating a factor is driving a great deal of DDMA investment), which is considerably less than the global average of 3.56.

However, mirroring global responses, Australian panellists said that improved campaign measurement and attribution tools along with better staff training in respect to analytics, segmentation and targeting, are important to deriving more value from DDMA programs. Using a 1-to-5 scale (with 5 indicating a factor is critically important to deriving value), Australian panellists ranked these in similarly to their global peers at 4.35 (global 4.24) for improved measurement and 4.21 (global 4.22) for analytics training, respectively.

Australian marketers struggle with burdensome regulatory barriers slightly less than their global peers; panellists benchmarked such guidelines at 2.92 on a 1-to-5 scale, where global panellists pegged regulatory barriers a
s more limiting, at 3.04.

There were 467 respondents to the study in Australia.

The Global Review was made possible through the support of MediaMath– a respected leader in data-driven marketing strategy and technology.

Says Ari Buchalter, president, Technology at MediaMath: “As the customer journey becomes more complex and, marketers are having to find ways to engage with their customers at multiple touch points – both online and offline – along the path to purchase. Data is core to this and, as the study reveals, it is set to grow in importance as it become central to marketing efforts across the world.”

A more detailed analysis of the The Global Review, including its worldwide analysis and an appendix providing snapshots of response across each of its 17 participating markets, can be downloaded at

Says Sangster: “The Global Review has established a global bench mark to track the continued evolution of data-driven marketing and provides valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities it is bringing to the global marketing landscape. It also means that the 27 associations that make up the GDMA can work collegiately to drive forward best practice and thought leadership in order to foster further growth and development.”