The advertising industry has experienced monumental change over the last few years. The pandemic has in many ways hastened these changes. In order to offer members the crucial insights they need to stay ahead in these unparalleled times, the ARF conducts original research that tackles our industry’s most pressing questions. See this year’s exciting agenda below.
The Future of Panels & Census
The future of media and marketing research will be some combination of panels and census data. Indeed, the WFA’s current cross-platform initiative calls for such a hybrid solution.
Panels once called “truth sets” have lost some credibility as online response rates discount any sense of “known probability of selection”. Unless recruitment is multi-modal, most online panelists have large digital footprints. If you don’t go online often, your chances of being recruited are just less.
But machine generated data, or census as some call it, are challenged by its own biases. First, it is rarely census and it is well known that most underserved populations have a far fainter digital footprint and less likely to appear in these big datasets.
In this project, the ARF will study if and how panels and census can complement each other or do the limits of each create a multiplier of like biases. For both panels and big data, the method will include both direct empirical measures of bias as well as surveys of the ecosystem to understand what companies are doing to address these biases.
Format & Schedule: The study will be delivered as a series of e-reports beginning in late 2021. They can be accessed through a link on this page or by searching with PowerSearch.
The 2nd Annual Benchmark Survey
The Organizational Benchmark Survey was developed to examine the dramatic changes taking place in advertising and marketing research organizations in recent years. Developed by the ARF Analytics Council, last year’s survey produced a set of reports covering the advertiser, agency, research company, media & entertainment and consultancy sectors. The ARF also released access to the raw data for members to interrogate themselves via our interface. (Note, you must download the free Tableau reader before doing so. Find instructions on how to do so here).
These reports and the database have been helpful to members in understanding how their organization compares to others in their sector, with respect to management of the insights and data analytics functions.
The first survey, conducted in mid-2019, found substantial differences between large and small companies and between companies in different sectors. It also revealed some salient trends in research departments.
The study covers what areas within research and analytics are growing and which ones are contracting. It looks at the technical skills that organizations look for in candidates when hiring for research and analytics departments, both now and in the future. It even asks respondents if they are satisfied with the research function in their companies.
This year, questions on privacy regulations, how COVID affected operations, predictions for 2021, and other areas of interest to the ARF community have been included.
Format & Schedule: The second Organizational Benchmark Survey has closed field and the research staff is developing reports comparing results to 2019. The first Advertiser e-report will be delivered late summer and the remaining e-reports will be issued about once per month. All e-reports will be available through this page on the ARF website and searchable through PowerSearch. However, all data (advertiser, agency, research, media and consultancy) will be delivered in a Tableau database for interrogation by summer’s end. Both year’s studies will be available as a csv file for member re-analysis.
Cross Platform Research
The ARF is conducting an empirical study to determine the relationship between the time someone is exposed to a video ad and its performance. This groundbreaking study uses a mix of recall, eyes-on, biometric and neuro techniques to evaluate video effectiveness. The laboratory tests will fundamentally test whether neuro and biometric response to a video ad is a function of linear or curvilinear time. It will include television, desktop, tablet and smartphone. In late 2021, the ARF will extend this study to include exposure times to linear television and digital video and sales response based on loyalty card data to support its laboratory conclusions.
Format and Schedule: The neuro and biometric e-report will be available early fall through this page on the ARF website and searchable through PowerSearch. The raw data will be available as a csv file for member re-analysis at the same time.
Identity Resolution Landscape
The ARF’s Identity Resolution Working Group, within the Cross-Platform Measurement Council, has issued a report which includes interviews with executives from 20 identity resolution providers. The report sheds light on this crucial part of the advertising ecosystem.
The paper defines identity and why it is important, what it is used for and why it matters. It explains why resemblance is not the same as identity, describes several use-cases and goes into detail on what privacy issues are associated with identity. It explains how different identities are connected, various approaches (deterministic vs. probabilistic), and ways to resolve conflict and engage interoperability. It even covers validity and ways to ensure accuracy in ID resolution.
Format and Schedule: The e-report will be available late summer through a link on this page and by searching through Powersearch.
Brand Loyalty and Lifetime Value
Are US households loyal to brands like they were in the past? Or has the proliferation of marketing messages on websites, social media and other platforms affected such loyalty? To find out, the ARF Has evaluated IRI consumer panel data from 2010 thru 2019 and NC Solutions loyalty card data from 2015 thru 2020.
Format and Schedule: The results were first reported as part of our ShopperxScience event in March 2021 and are available as a video and PowerPoint at this time. We concluded that with the exception of a few categories, prior to March 2020, there was a tiny almost imperceptible decline among major brands, but that very small decline could fuel the perception of rapid growth among new and very small DTC brands.
How many Americans share the username and password of a streaming service with a friend or family member? How many use someone else’s account from outside their household? On what types of devices do viewers use different apps? And how much co-viewing occurs on televisions compared to other devices? How many Amazon accounts does a four-person household typically have? The ARF’s Study of Device and Account Sharing investigates these and other such questions. This is a syndicated study intended to create standards and common reference from which companies can develop weights, personification and other factors used by modelers.
Format and Schedule: The study, to be released late in 2021, is licensed at three levels – (1) a basic subscription which will be delivered in a Tableau database, (2) a basic + subscription which provides anonymized persons level data and (3) premium which can be matched at a household level with your panel, CRM data or other first party data set.
What Brands Did in 2020
Research showed that during the 2008 recession, brands that went dark took three to five years to recover their market share. 2020 was like a recessive year like no other. What did brands do and how will their 2020 marketing affect their market share in the years to come? This multi-year tracking project will compare pre 2020 baselines to 2020 advertising and subsequent share of market. We are also looking at brand equity scores and fundamentals across CPG, consumer electronics and other categories.
Format and Schedule: The study is a long-term tracking study and so will be released annually as an e-report at the end of 2021 and the years to come, until recovery from 2020 appears to be complete. The e-report will be available through a link on this page and by searching through PowerSearch.
The 4th Annual Privacy Survey
One of our most anticipated studies of the year, our fourth annual report (see the two previous year’s reports here) contains the perennial questions regarding mobile and PC usage, willingness to share digital data, trust and how well privacy terms are understood. In last year’s survey we added questions related to the coronavirus pandemic, including willingness to share health information, who respondents trust when it comes to information about the pandemic and how well COVID-19 terms are understood. How have consumers’ views on privacy changed in this second year of the pandemic? In 2021, we focused more on the relevance of advertising across the different platforms.
Format and Schedule: As in prior years, we will be issuing an e-report citing changes we have noted over the years in late summer. The e-report will be available through a link on this page and by searching through PowerSearch. The raw data will be available as a csv file for member re-analysis at the same time.
The David Ogilvy Database
What is the relationship between brand and sales advertising? To find out, the ARF is creating a database to enable research on the subject. The annual project’s debut will include over 120 Ogilvy applicants.
The ARF has harmonized this effort with a similar project conducted by IPA in the UK. Each entry will include brand and product category, age, share, consideration, pricing position, growth, sales cycle, campaign objective, primary target, media plan, competitive strategy, outcomes, research used and brand equity.
Format & Schedule: The database has been compiled and is available now as a csv format. Contact your ARF membership representative to access the data and for a codebook. Each spring, additional applications will be added to the database. Late in 2021, we will have converted the csv format to an SPSS file for much easier use.
ARF Podcast Research
The ARF is partnering with Podsights and our streaming audio members to conduct impact research which compares podcast advertising to streaming radio. Format &
Schedule: The e-report will be available through a link on this page of the ARF website and by searching through PowerSearch.
Contact Paul Donato (PDonato@thearf.org) for more information.