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Most of adland finds digital ad research 'inadequate'

19 Jan 2018  |  Ellen Hammett 
Most of adland finds digital ad research 'inadequate'

Just 5% of media and advertising professionals believe commercial research studies on digital advertising are of a good enough quality - with much of it being viewed as a Trojan horse to promote a sales agenda.

57% of the 220 industry professionals interviewed online by Inskin Media and Research Now SSI between August and December 2017 said the influence of the sales agenda of the company owning the research is the biggest obstacle to producing good quality research, while 23% said they generally disregard commercial research projects as 'nothing but marketing/sales tools' and 19% consider them 'largely useless'.

With a score of 4 out of 5, research agencies are regarded as producing the highest quality research, followed by industry associations (3.9) and measurement/ad validation vendors (3.6). Media sellers rank last with a score of 3.1.

Inskin Media's chief commercial officer, Steve Doyle, said the industry has been "deluged" by studies on digital advertising over the last decade.

“Unfortunately, much of it isn’t fit for purpose and it’s tended to tar everyone with the same brush," Doyle said.

"Paradoxically, 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.”

61% of respondents cited the quality and detail of the methodology as the most important factor in assessing the validity of research, followed by its relevance to current industry issues (54%).

According to respondents, the most effective ways to improve how people perceive digital advertising research are with a "seal of approval" awarded by an independent industry body (cited by 71%) and a detailed methodology explanation for every study (cited by 70%).

Industry professionals most prefer to hear about the insights from research in face-to-face presentations (cited by 56%), followed by infographics (45%) and trade magazines/blog posts (37%). Webinars are the least favourite method, cited by just 14%.

“The rise of online survey platforms means anyone with a few hundred pounds can produce one but hopefully the industry will start demanding far more rigour and detail about the methodology, as well as taking into greater account the agenda of the company producing it,” Doyle added.

“Indeed, the support for an independent seal of approval is reminiscent of what’s happened in Germany. The major trade bodies along with Google and Facebook launched ‘Qualitätsinitiative Werbewirkungsforschung’ – an initiative to increase transparency and quality in advertising effectiveness research.”

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