IAB Survey: Marketers Using a Hodge-Podge of Data-Tech Tools

Trade Group's Study Showed Marketers Use Upwards of 12 Systems

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Patrick Dolan, IAB
Patrick Dolan, IAB

When assessing data-management technologies, marketers want platforms that handle an increasing variety of data sets, primarily for things like predictive analytics and audience segmentation. That's according to a recent survey of 50 top level marketing, data-services and tech-development execs for a report commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Those surveyed appear to rank data management for programmatic ad buying as a primary application for the types of platforms discussed. The report found 80% of participants said open-market programmatic ad buying was a central purpose. Around 60% said they cared more about using data platforms for digital ad content optimization and private-market programmatic ad purchasing.

Today the IAB released the paper, "Marketing Data Technology: Cutting Through the Complexity," produced in conjunction with Winterberry Group. The study does not name any specific tech firms or data-management software products.

On a scale of 1 to 5, participants said tools for segmenting audiences and predictive analytics indexed high -- at 4.17 -- among the most common purposes for the marketing data technologies they use or want.

Another key factor in choosing the right tools: reporting capabilities. The survey revealed the quality of reporting -- or measuring efficacy of data-centric efforts -- ranked at around 4.5 in terms of importance.

The study focuses primarily on how marketers judge technologies used for third-party data efforts, rather than first party, CRM or loyalty data. Patrick Dolan, executive VP-chief operating officer of IAB, suggested that including first-party data systems might have required its own separate study.

Despite the common mission to use these technologies to streamline and simplify data management and analysis, the wide array of tools execs are using is daunting. The study showed they use "upwards of a dozen distinct toolsets" on average. Some use more than 30 technologies regularly for data management and use.

Of course, there are systems that can be employed for several purposes, however the survey showed execs are "split down the middle" when it comes to choosing one of these package options versus purchasing tech on an a la carte basis for particular applications. According to the paper, "the preponderance say they're driven more by a desire to support best-in-class performance than they are by a desire to align with a specific technology-sourcing strategy."

"Working with Winterberry Group, we surveyed companies to learn what differences there were between using integrated versus non-integrated technologies, and whether one approach was better at increasing the efficacy of digital advertising," said Mr. Dolan. "The surprise for us was that the companies surveyed are utilizing vastly different tools and toolsets to meet similar goals."

What's on the horizon? Execs said they want to apply the data technology they're evaluating to attain "the still-unrealized potential of cross-channel integration" to enable programmatic buying everywhere they aim to communicate with consumers.