NEWS28 October 2010

The long, slow evolution of advertising research

Features UK

UK— Evolving advertising research requires an understanding of consumer emotions, the creation of new listening techniques, the fusion of different types of data and the integration of engagement metrics. But will the industry ever get there?

OTX’s David Brandt, BrainJuicer’s Will Goodhand, BJ&A’s Brian Jacobs, HPI Group’s Terry Prue, Conquest’s David Penn and Yahoo’s Laura Chaibi were on hand to debate the question at the Research Advertising Research conference in London yesterday.

All agreed change was needed, but the issue of most concern in the room was whether innovation was wanted and, indeed, whether it was actively pursued by research buyers.

On the whole, Jacobs suggested this was not the case. “We’re stuck in a cosy rut, working for clients who want the same old data,” he said. “Research needs to listen more, ask less questions and stop pretending that 30-year old techniques are still relevant.”

Some clients are starting to change, though, he said – warning researchers that they need to be ready to evolve to meet the challenges advertisers present in the future because “long-held beliefs are going to be questioned”.

Brandt acknowledged that new innovations and techniques have a place in the advertising researcher’s toolbox, yet “reports of the death of surveys are greatly exaggerated”, he said.

Summing up, Penn said: “It’s a slow process to change the industry, and it takes clients to change too.”