The brief

What is the impact of an increasingly complex and data-rich media landscape on the media planning process?

The accepted wisdom nowadays is that media-generated data is leading to more informed decisions, underpinned by clever technology and executed through smart online channels, thereby delivering better outcomes for brands. In this brave new world 'traditional media' (for want of a better description) need to get with the programme - and programmatic - or risk becoming obsolete.

Yet, in the midst of this data-driven hullaballoo, Binet and Field's recent analysis of the IPA Databank quietly demonstrates that overall advertising effectiveness, far from improving, is actually in decline.

Why the contradiction? Our theory is that, despite more data being available than ever before, decision-makers are increasingly relying on heuristics and personal biases to help them navigate the planning process. This is being driven by three main factors:

  1. Complexity: created by the myriad combinations of media channels, platforms, and ad formats that are available to advertisers nowadays.
  2. Data overload: resulting from the torrent of occasionally conflicting data and research headlines that pour through the advertising trade media and wash over us every day.
  3. Specialisation: the increasing focus of agency and client roles developed to help organisations cope with the challenges and exploit the opportunities created by the first two factors.