From 2018 to 2019: onwards and upwards for media

We discuss with Media division CEO Andy Brown his best moments of 2018 – as well as what he’s looking forward to going into 2019.
20 December 2018
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We put some time in with global CEO Andy Brown to discuss his best and brightest moments of 2018 – as well as what he’s most looking forward to going into 2019.

First things first: what has been the most significant development of 2018?

This year we started tracking and measuring voice activation – and we’re already seeing the ways in which it is changing consumer behaviour. As with any new technology, voice activation has both upsides and downsides for the research industry. But according to this year’s iteration of DIMENSION – our annual report looking at the trends affecting the marketing industry - the effect it’s had is already marked, with 14% of connected consumers in the UK now using smart speakers. We expect this to only rise further over the coming year.<

The arrival of GDPR in May was a hot topic for the industry. How has it impacted market research so far?

Market research stands to benefit significantly from GDPR. It’s marked out a clear divide between market research and other data solutions, but perhaps most importantly it’s brought the importance of provenance of data and transparency – which sits at the heart of market research – right to the front of consumers’ minds.

What macro trend has had the biggest impact on research in 2018?

GDPR has of course been a significant trend this year. But in terms of the biggest trend influencing market research, behavioural data has pipped it to the post.

People are increasingly looking for ways to make behavioural insights work more effectively by integrating them with smaller, “primary” research solutions, rather than focusing solely on ‘big data’.

Of all the campaigns you’ve seen in 2018 – which has been your favourite?

The Colin Kaepernick campaign for Nike stands out for me. It hits a winning combination of very low spend but great audience judgment. Nike made a clear choice to prioritise their younger audience over less valuable segments in the process. It completely dominated the news cycle, and according to our data, half of the social content around the campaign was positive. On the other hand, negative reactions encouraging a boycott of Nike products increased from 5% to 29% following the announcement.

As for 2019, which trend do you expect to really take off?

As 2019 comes around, I think we’ll see an increasingly bigger focus on the integration of data. Specifically, syndicated data solutions of all types will be directly integrated with advertisers’ first-party data. What’s more, a recent study from ANA showed that 75% of its members now have some form of creative or media capability in-house – which suggests a growing appetite for advertisers to directly integrate media and creative insight themselves.

What challenges face market research in the year ahead?

With the arrival of digital, there’s been a slight lean towards larger-scale, deterministic data. While large-scale data gives advertisers the ability to mine databases at scale and grow usership within a defined userbase, it often lacks the wider visibility to grow market share through new opportunities. Our view is that, going forward into 2019, brands need to strike a balance between that deterministic data and higher-quality probabilistic data.

Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to next year?

It’s always hard to pick just one thing – but I’m particularly excited to see the evolution of our annual DIMENSION report as it moves into its third year. We’ve captured some brilliant insights in previous years which have had real impact on the industry – and no doubt this year will be the same.

Apart from DIMENSION, I’m looking forward to a continued migration towards more integrated data sets and holistic measurement more generally – I think the industry will see the pay-off in spades.

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