With the trajectory of today’s marketing landscape, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that even the C-suite can get lost in the mountains of data that have been piling up. Part of this build-up can be attributed to the incredible evolution that social advertising has undergone in just five short years.
This is evident in how social networks have been steadily chipping away at digital advertising market share. Facebook, for example, is predicted to account for 23% of all digital ad spending in the US. That translates to roughly $1 of every $10 spent on advertising overall, not just digital. You can expect this to continue for the foreseeable future.
There’s a good reason for the exponential growth in spending: social advertising is an extremely lucrative opportunity for brands, considering the breadth and depth of data available to effectively reach any audience. This has not gone unnoticed by social networks either, who have been keeping up with this demand in stride with continuous releases of new ad types, targeting, and measurement capabilities each year.
As both social data and the number of players involved to manage it grows, marketers increasingly feel helpless to gain access to their data, receive more transparency, and ultimately achieve the performance they need to impact the bottom line.
To give you an example of how important it is to address these issues appropriately, let’s say you’re responsible for marketing at a major food and beverage company with brand recognition and a global footprint. It’s incredibly likely you’re working with several teams, tools, and agencies, across hundreds of markets to execute campaigns on multiple social platforms. It’s also incredibly likely that each internal team and agency partner is using different tools, reporting methodologies, and processes that have led to data silos, low visibility into execution, and a lack of data ownership.
This can be scary, especially with so much money on the line. I get it. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you and your teams know what challenges and trends to look for, you’ll be well ahead of the curve.
What Is Data Ownership?
To start, it is vital to define data accessibility. We describe it as the complete and uncompromised access to all social advertising data, no matter how many sub-brands, teams, or partners are in a company’s marketing supply chain. As social campaigns become increasingly complex, it stands to reason that more teams are needed to execute them. Without taking the necessary control of their data, a brand that switches agencies will undoubtedly spend months moving years of data and millions in budget dollars to its new partner—assuming they can even gain access at all.
Research has shown that there are 6.1 unique companies connected to a single campaign line item on average, which is a whopping 221% increase over the previous 24 months. This number illustrates just how important access to data and ownership has and will only continue to become, especially as the investments in social advertising keep rising.
With so many cooks in the kitchen, it is often unclear who set up the ad accounts, who has access to them, and what happens if the partners in this supply chain change.
But here’s the secret: the most successful brands will ensure that all teams, both externally and internally, will be given the level of access to complete and accurate data as the brand sees fit. This helps streamline reporting methodologies, potentially reduce human capital fees, and ensure best practices are shared uniformly across their brand portfolio.
Seeing More Transparency
Nearly 2 out of 20 — or roughly 8%— of marketers feel confident that they have the complete transparency and intelligence they need to be successful. This troubling stat isn’t too surprising, however, when the number of brands that cannot guarantee that they’re always in control of their data remains high.
Transparency is not only crucial for performance but is essential to better understanding the social advertising supply chain. More specifically, which teams, tools, and tactics are the most effective, and what investments are being made on a brand’s behalf. In short—no transparency means no accountability, and with no accountability there could be a lot of waste in the brand’s investment portfolio.
If you recall all the complexities of the food and beverage example, you can see how this problem can take on a life of its own. This is especially true as distribution channels shift and evolve when new agency partners and marketing initiatives rotate in and out. As a result, the visibility into substantial investments marketers make, along with audience and performance data, is substantially obscured, putting any attempts to measure ROAS at grave risk efficiently.
To achieve this, brands must ensure three things. That they own their data, that all teams and agencies connect ad accounts into a single platform, and that they have the enriched intelligence needed to make sense of random, raw data.
2018 is almost guaranteed to bring many innovations from social networks and tech vendors alike. As marketers continue to increase investments and campaign volume, it’s more critical than ever that they roll back the curtain and identify the potential skeletons in their closets as it pertains to data ownership and transparency.
Those that do, in addition to implementing a high-performance intelligence strategy, will soon find their competition in the rearview mirror—all while minimising media waste and supply chain fees.
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