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The Drum Digital Transformation Festival launch

Gordon Young
Editor-in-chief at The Drum

Why the media sector lags the financial industry when it comes to real-time data

The financial industry has been using real-time data to help traders generate untold amounts of money for over a decade, now as we enter the age of 'big data' other industries are looking to follow suit. However research shows that the advertising industry is missing out on the opportunity, with publishers in particular denying themselves the true value of their audience, according to a report.

Over two thirds of publishers believe real-time data can help them better monetise, but only one-in-four are able to do so, according to research from Forrester, as media owners looking to monetise their ever-increasing digital audiences continue to struggle with tech.

The study - commissioned by Pubmatic and entitled Real-Time Data Analytics: Empowering Publishers to Make Better, Faster Decisions - claims that although 62 per cent of publishers find real-time data leads to an increase in revenue, only 27 per cent claim they are actually receiving real-time data

Of the 110 survey participants, 65 per cent of claimed they used data gleaned from supply-side platforms SSP/exchange analytics data for critical operational decisions, further still, 62 per cent reported that using data in such a fashion found that it led directly to an increase in revenue.

More than half (56 per cent) of large publishers say they are challenged by the inability to get a single view of multiple data sources while 59 per cent say they are frustrated with disparate platforms and 54 per cent with disparate metrics.

John Stoneman, vice president for EMEA at PubMatic, told The Drum the financial services industry (where getting intelligence ahead of the rest of the market can produce insights worth vast sums of money) is much more sophisticated in its use of data, compared to media.

He further explained: “Real-time is an inevitable goal for the entire digital media industry. The financial industry got there around a decade ago and now real-time data is available to any internet user, free of charge.”

By contrast to competitors in the market, Pubmatic has a ‘real-time’ solution that delivers data within 90 seconds on average, according to Stoneman. “Based on all of our competitive insights, we know that we are first-to-market with a real-time solution and have a head start on our key competitors.”

He added: “Real-time is also more complex in digital media than finance because it's not just numbers and data being relayed. Digital media creates advertising creative with multiple formats sent to multiple devices.”

Speaking further about the disparity in publishers’ ambitions over the use of data – compared to the reality of the situation - he further commented: “Developing a real-time data analytics solution within digital media is technically challenging and costly to set up and maintain and only leading companies have a solution that is truly real-time (within seconds, not several minutes).”

Another contributory factor to this lag in how the respective industries are able to use data in real-time, is that many large publishers partner with several ad tech companies in order to assemble their automated advertising offering.

The primary reason for doing so is to assess which company’s offering is producing the best results, but ironically this means that companies are losing the ability to leverage their data on a more timely-basis.

In addition, the choice to partner with multiple ad tech partners makes it difficult for publishers to gain a “single customer view” - an insight that is key to publishers as audiences increasingly switch between screens for their media consumption.

“That means that their data is floating around on several platforms - sometimes on 10 to 20 different platforms. The goal for all publishers, going forward, should be to consolidate inventory in a holistic end-to-end platform, so that they can simplify yield management, data management and measurement,” said Stoneman.

“This is especially important for emerging formats, like mobile and video, because with the average U.K. household now having 7.4 connected devices, advertisers need to increasingly deliver consistent and targeted cross-platform messages to maximise advertisement effectiveness.”

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