Winning brands will be those that combine creative and context as effectively as possible, using real-time intelligence intelligence to understand audiences and competitor activity, writes Manish Bhatia.

Data provenance has come into sharp focus in recent years as clients double-down on trust, privacy and quality. As we head into 2023, a year in which such considerations will only grow, we have consensus that people-based measurement is our industry’s bedrock.

Whilst panels have been the foundation for understanding real-world behaviours since the analogue era, it’s taken more recent events – particularly around privacy regulation – to see it fully reappraised. Consented panels will cement their role as a source of truth to complete the measurement jigsaw, alongside media owner or platform first-party data, and advertiser first-party customer data.

Now it’s time to focus harder on what we do next – because with the right ground truths in place, businesses should rightly wish to build upon them.

The future of data

To understand what that means for our shared future, look at the work we’ve done to design and deliver cross-media campaign performance tools that are now live in markets in Latin America and Europe and in development in the UK through Origin, the initiative led by UK advertising trade body ISBA. Both offer a glimpse of the increasing momentum from within the advertising community.

That’s because clients and data partners increasingly require holistic, de-duplicated people measurement to report on all viewing activity, across all platforms. Therefore, the future of data means operating flexible and open methodologies, integrating insights from large-scale data sets from multiple sources, alongside ground-truth panel assets.

According to Kantar’s Media Reactions 2022 study, consumer exposure to advertising on an increasingly diversified range of online media channels continued to grow throughout the year. Consequently, taking a data-led approach to planning and media choices became more essential as budgets were squeezed. Kantar’s data shows that campaigns are seven times more impactful among a receptive audience – making it strategically important to use real-world data on consumer attitudes to guide increasingly scrutinised investment decisions.

Advertisers want impartial, reliable and granular sources of truth to offer clarity about real reach if they’re to make the best campaign investment decisions. Some 63% of advertisers find it difficult to generate insights on competitor media activity, whilst 82% of advertisers want to take more control of their media spend and 81% of advertisers are actively looking to use their own data alongside primary research. We’re increasingly delivering data to track and report back campaign performance on an overnight basis to help advertisers optimise their campaigns in flight.

Maximising ROI

If there’s a platform that’s underperforming, it’s now possible to move spend towards an alternative. Conversely, using data in this way will also show over-performance, and can help advertisers double-down so they maximise the ROI on their advertising.

This will be hugely valuable for advertisers as they attempt to track consumer journeys across all the different – and growing – touchpoints of our global media ecosystem. Additionally, with the contextual market projected to be worth $376bn by 2027, and broad approval from ad execs matched with leaps in technology, it’s safe to predict contextual targeting will become a dominant targeting strategy over the medium to long term.

Winning brands will be those that combine creative and context as effectively as possible, using real-time intelligence to understand audiences and competitor activity. This will allow them to leverage the full power of their own direct consumer relationships, bringing relevant stories to the right audiences at the right time, in order to drive growth.

One of the greatest challenges to brands’ advertising and planning strategies is profiling their audiences across all media touchpoints. Another is budget optimisation across media, and the potential roadblock caused by a lack of cross-media reach and frequency data. However, our continued expansion and product developments will ensure we’re focused on innovating in the right places and at the right speed.

Discover more on what we believe is next for 2023 by downloading our latest Media Trends & Predictions Report.