NEWS19 January 2018

Study finds perceptions of digital ad research sullied by ‘sales agendas’

Media News UK

UK – An online study from InSkin Media and Research Now SSI has found that only 5% of advertising and media professionals find commercial research on digital advertising to be of sufficient quality.

Advertising graph on tablet computer

Over half ( 57%) of the 220 industry professionals surveyed believe that the sales agenda of the company owning the research obstructs the production of quality studies. Additionally, 43% felt that there is a lack of industry appreciation for high-quality research.

Almost a quarter of respondents ( 23%) view commercial research projects on digital advertising merely as sales or marketing tools, while 20% said they consider these studies ‘largely useless’ due to poor quality.

'Commercial research’ is defined in this study as all research activities directly or indirectly funded by for-profit organisations (such as media seller, adtech companies, media buyers, as well as by industry associations).

Research agencies were deemed to produce the highest quality research, with a score of 4.0 out of 5, closely followed by industry associations ( 3.9 ). Media sellers were perceived to be producing the poorest quality research, with a score of 3.1.

Methodology was cited as the most important factor in assessing the quality of a piece of research ( 61% of respondents) with relevance to current industry issues also important in ascertaining validity ( 54%).

When asked how the perception of digital advertising research could be improved, 71% agreed that a ‘seal of approval’ awarded by an independent industry body would be the most effective means of improving quality.

Additionally, 70% said a detailed explanation of methodology would help.

Steve Doyle, chief operating officer at InSkin Media, said: “The industry has been deluged by studies on digital advertising over the last decade, most of which is used as a Trojan horse to promote a sales agenda.”

He claimed much of the commercial research conducted in the media industry “isn’t fit for purpose”, adding: “It’s also created the problem of undermining genuine findings even if the company doing the research has a commercial interest in proving them, so the results are mistakenly ignored.”