SINGAPORE: Many marketers across Asia Pacific are finding it difficult to integrate large amounts of data from different sources to enable them to make decisions in real time, new research has said.

Research firm TNS polled 2,700 marketing professionals across eight countries – Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand – for its TNS Marketing Monitor report and found that around one third (35%) were managing real-time data as part of their role.

Those in Indonesia led the way, with 39% there handling real-time data, compared to just 27% in South Korea.

Whether having direct involvement with such data or not, the majority of respondents said the volume of information available was limiting their ability to take quick and informed decisions.

Seven in ten (70%) reported difficulties integrating data from a multitude of sources, while two thirds (68%) said insights were not actionable enough and six in ten (60%) reported that these were coming through too slowly.

One consequence of this, the report found, was that marketers were tending to rely on traditional methods of measuring campaign success – sales uplift and market share uplift were the top two metrics cited.

"Despite their importance, these metrics are retrospective and do not empower businesses to track the ongoing reception of campaigns, react to live issues and make the changes that could nudge their marketing activity in a more favourable direction," Jon Foged, managing director at TNS Singapore, told Marketing Interactive.

Social media monitoring ranked only fourth in respondents' priorities for measuring real-time campaign performance, and its use varied widely.

China, for example, has a sophisticated social media infrastructure but just 30% of marketers said they were monitoring it with a view to informing marketing decisions. That compared with figures of 55% and 50% for Singapore and Malaysia respectively.

The importance of properly addressing the issue was stressed by Nitin Nishandar, managing director of brand & communications, Asia Pacific, TNS, who said that "Real-time data needs to deliver real-time value – otherwise it's just distracting noise".

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive; additional content by Warc staff