Data in Advertising

Sometime back, Martin Sorrell, WPP’s head honcho, was mentioning about data and how it can help creativity. In fact, he went onto the extent that (ad) agencies are no longer in advertising business (

In today’s world, you are surrounded by data. In fact, it is happening right now when you are reading this. Your browser, the webpage, your device, everything is collecting data. From a marketing perspective, it was always a numbers game. Only difference, now, the numbers has become bigger and complicated.

So, what is data? It is nothing but a collection of values - numbers, words, observations. Most creative folks in the agency would be aware of the numbers/stats quoted in the market research done by the planning team or client’s marketing team. It is just that, previously, it was mostly qualitative but now it is quantitative.

While there are tons of information regarding what is data (Read this refresher course …in advertising, I’ve seen data being used in 2 ways - to validate a hypothesis (or assumption) and to find out patterns and then to build inferences.

In marketing, data is usually found categorised as structured  and unstructured. Advertising is about communication & Creativity is the expression of what we want to say.  From a planner’s perspective, it is about identifying the pain-points, the proof-points/reason to believe, and the proposition that needs to be given to the creative team to work on the campaign idea. Hence data needs to be looked from the filters of comprehension and trust. From the above image you’ll see that the more structured the data is - the trust value is high, but the comprehension is very hard. Similarly the more unstructured the data is, the easier it is to comprehend but believability is low.

From a digital marketer and a strategist’s perspective, it is important to find ways of comprehending the structured data & to build mechanisms to make unstructured data, more structured. 

As in the future, more and more smart devices (IoT) come into the market, the volume of structured data is bound to increase…and there is a huge business opportunity is analysing and comprehending structured data for advertising & marketing purposes

How it can be done, I’ll cover in one of my future posts


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