On Tuesday, we attended the 2015 4As Data Summit, an annual event which focuses on important industry topics such as data integrity, privacy, and data-driven innovation. This year's event featured two in-depth panels and three informative speakers in a half-day session. Today we'll take a deeper look at two of the presentations we found to be most influential. More information on the entire seminar is available from the 4As.


Q&A Session with 4As President-CEO, Nancy Hill and CEO of Omnicom Digital, Jonathan Nelson

  • The Value of Data: Data is obviously extremely valuable, but Jonathan emphasized that it is nothing without thoughtful analysis. "Data is less than worthless by itself; we need analytical talents to pull actionable insights from it in order to drive the strategy." The industry needs to be sure big data doesn't get too big and lose focus on insights. This requires more collaboration among specialties and a merging of quantitative and qualitative data and talents.
  • The Internet of Things: Much of future advertising opportunity lies within the Internet of Things. These devices (connected thermostats, locks, and much more) were born out of utility. The value from the Internet of Things will stem from the ability to combine this utility with marketing and, ultimately, commerce. Jonathan advised that the market will help to dictate what is right in terms of marketing and utility in this emerging field.
  • Pros and Cons of Custom Content: More and more, users are able to choose exactly which content they wish to purchase, especially in the television space. Brands previously tied to cable subscriptions like HBO and Nickelodeon are branching off to offer standalone subscriptions. This is very positive for consumers because they are able to get exactly what they want and will therefore likely be more satisfied with their experience. This is also good for advertisers because it creates a positive and more targetable environment. The challenge comes when many of these services choose to offer pay subscriptions only, eliminating advertising opportunities.
  • Use a Feedback Loop: Experiment, learn, and grow: Focus on making this simple loop as tight as possible to improve your work. One excellent example of this loop in practice? Amazon. If they have a good idea, it is retained and improved. If they have a bad idea, it is eliminated and another idea is tried.

More detail from this informative session is available from The Drum.


Data-Driven Innovation Panel moderated by WSJ Senior Editor Mike Shields and featuring Josh Chasin, Chief Research Officer at comScore; Christian Borges, SVP Marketing at true[x]; Mike Glaser, Senior Manager at Google Creative Partnerships; Artie Bulgrin, SVP Global Research + Analytics at ESPN; and Simon Rogers, Data Editor at Twitter.

The entire panel agreed that data is driving innovations across platforms, but there is still a long way to go to achieve higher standards for viewability, fraud, and consistency.

A key topic for the panel was personalization, and how data can be used to create more custom messaging. An intriguing case study was provided by Mike Glaser at Google who launched a unique campaign with EA sports. An algorithm was created to pull NFL news and dynamically produce ad creative for 32 different affinity segments, one for each NFL team. In a 17-week period, Google and EA Sports created over 1,000 ads to promote a Madden NFL video game. This data-driven personalized campaign performed 40%-50% better than standard video game creative. The EA Sports campaign also used first-party data to help target across the sales cycle, from awareness down to ecommerce. Glaser believes that with the right talent and insights, this type of customized campaign based on data could be scaled without massive budgets.

The 4As also highlighted the role of convergence in television and how data will continue to be key in how television is planned. "We need a cross-platform measurement from digital to TV," said Artie Bulgrin. "This is a huge part of our future, but we need better tools." The panel agreed that consistencies in measurement, even beyond television, are key in moving data innovation forward.