New research has found that only five per cent of media and advertising professionals believe commercial research studies on digital advertising are of a good enough quality.
The influence of the sales agenda of the company owning the research is seen as the biggest obstacle to producing good quality research – cited by 57 per cent of the industry professionals interviewed online by Inskin Media and Research Now.
Nearly one in four (23 per cent) generally disregard commercial research projects as nothing but marketing/sales tools, while 19 per cent consider them largely useless due to quality issues.
Research agencies (scoring 4.0 out of five) are 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) rank last in terms of the perceived quality of research.
Inskin Media Australia’s commercial director, Georgia Woodburn, said 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”.
“Unfortunately, most of it isn’t fit for purpose and it’s tended to tar everyone with the same brush,” she said.
“Paradoxically, it’s also created the problem of undermining genuine findings if the company doing the research has a commercial interest in proving them, so the results are mistakenly ignored when it comes to improving strategy and planning.”
Woodburne added that she’s aware of the irony of producing a research study saying research quality is inadequate.
The quality and detail of the methodology (cited by 61 per cent of respondents) is the most important factor in assessing the validity of research, followed by its relevance to current industry issues (54 per cent).
A ‘seal of approval’ awarded by an independent industry body is seen as the most effective way to improve how people perceive digital advertising research (cited by 71 per cent), narrowly ahead of a detailed methodology explanation for every study (70 per cent).
“The rise of online survey platforms means anyone with a few hundred dollars can produce a survey, but hopefully the industry will start demanding far more rigour and detail about the methodology, as well as taking into greater account the agenda of the company producing it,” Woodburne said.
Industry professionals most prefer to hear about the insights from research in face-to-face presentations (cited by 56 per cent of respondents), followed by infographics (45 per cent) and trade magazines/blog posts (37 per cent). Webinars are the least favourite method (cited by just 14 per cent).