Should clients have access to agency digital analytics?

Has Nestlé opened a can of worms by saying brands should look at their own programmatic data, Gurjit Degun asks.

Technology is creating rapid changes in adland as an increasing number of brands and agencies tap into programmatic buying. With 59 per cent of UK display advertising expected to be sold programmatically by 2017, according to eMarketer, those that have not entered the space risk being left behind.

The subject was on the lips of many delegates who gathered at the Media360 conference last month.

But Tom Laranjo, the managing director at Total Media, believes this isn’t just hype.

During a debate on programmatic buying, Laranjo highlighted the benefits of being able to apply behavioural insights to ads. "There are huge opportunities," he said. "Think of all the insights you know about your brands’ customers and how much better it would be if you could use those insights in media in real time."

As with any new way of working, there is a raft of issues the industry has yet to explore. But when Gawain Owen, the digital lead at Nestlé UK and Ireland, pointed out at Media360 that he has logins to all programmatic data handled by the company’s agencies, and that all clients should, it did beg the question of whether this is a viable option.

That said, it is arguably a media agency’s job to sift through the huge amount of data gathered to make sense of the numbers. Becca Braithwaite, the media director at DigitasLBi, said that not every company has the same resources as Nestlé.

She argued that clients should have access to their digital analytics – but on a daily rather than hourly basis. "We are transparent about our costs, so there’s nothing to be feared around providing analytics," she explained. "But there is a line in allowing clients to change things in the systems – for example, updating bids."

Bob Wootton, the director of media and advertising at ISBA, suggested that anyone spending millions will want "a level of scrutiny" on how their money is being spent, so agencies shouldn’t shy away from giving brands an insight. However, he warned that clients need to understand how to interpret the data so that they do not misconstrue the information.

YES Nigel Gilbert, vice-president, strategic development, EMEA, AppNexus

"Marketers need a level of visibility into the results of their campaign for internal accountability. What is important for a marketer is understanding the way technology is driving efficiency and effectiveness in their media buying."

YES Grant Millar, chief executive, ZenithOptimedia UK

"By including clients, you benefit from a level of trust around use and ownership of data and a willingness to test new methods and technologies. We welcome client involvement in our process. It is a challenging area for many clients."

YES Paul Rowlinson, chief operating officer, Mindshare

"It is essential that clients have visibility of where the programmatic marketing budget is spent and can see how it is performing. Working in partnership ensures that everyone can make collective decisions to drive maximum returns."

YES Luisa Cameron, head of digital, Vizeum

"Data from digital media activity should be available to clients. However, it is important that the data is interpreted in the right way. Agencies are being tasked to help navigate the data to drive real, valuable insights."