LONDON: Only 5% of media and advertising professionals believe commercial research studies on digital advertising are of a good enough quality, according to a new research study.

Inskin Media and Research Now SSI interviewed 220 industry professionals online and found that the influence of the sales agenda of the company owning the research is seen as the biggest obstacle to producing good quality research.

More than half (57%) cited this aspect and nearly one in four (23%) said they generally disregarded commercial research projects as nothing but marketing/sales tools; 19% considered them largely useless due to quality issues.

“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,” said Steve Doyle, Inskin Media’s CCO, adding that he was “aware of the irony of producing a research study saying research quality is inadequate.”

Methodological rigour has not necessarily been of paramount importance now that anyone with a few hundred pounds can commission a survey on an online platform.

Much research isn’t fit for purpose, said Doyle, “and it’s tended to tar everyone with the same brush.

“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.”

Research agencies (scoring 4.0 out of 5) were regarded as producing the highest quality research, narrowly ahead of industry associations (3.9) and measurement/ad validation vendors (3.6).

Media sellers (3.1) ranked last in terms of the perceived quality of research.

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

A “seal of approval” awarded by an independent industry body – such as Germany’s Qualitätsinitiative Werbewirkungsforschung – was seen as the most effective way to improve how people perceive digital advertising research (cited by 71%) narrowly ahead of a detailed methodology explanation for every study (70%).

Sourced from Inskin Media; additional content by WARC staff