In the Future, Will All Advertisers Be Data Geeks?

Omnicom Group makes big predictions for analytics

The secret to bringing brand advertising dollars online may be data—so say executives from the analytics arm of The Omnicom Group.

Both Dean McRobie, chief technology officer at Omnicom's data and analytics organization Annalect Group, and Josh Jacobs, president of Omnicom's digital media trading desk Accuen, spoke on an Advertising Week panel today called "The Space Between" about the future of analytics. One of the main themes was the difference between the traditional advertising world and the new online sphere of "big data."

In the past, McRobie noted, advertisers looked at just a small sample of their audience through panels and samples. Now, they can collect data on every consumer looking at their ad—in fact, they can usually collect multiple points of data about each viewer. For now, those methods occupy two different worlds, with brand ads (mostly) sticking with traditional measurements and direct-response advertisers taking a more analytics-centric approach.

In the next year, however, McRobie said the dominant trend would involve bridging those two worlds. In other words, 2012 will be about "information fidelity" and filling in the titular "space between," by connecting the broad consumer insights of panels with the individualized, real-time knowledge of online tracking and cookies. 

That all sounds good, but an audience member wanted to know whether ad companies are actually ready to jump onboard these trends. One of the key steps, McRobie said, is making sure that whoever you hire is familiar with the relevant technology because in the future, everyone in the advertising industry will be "partly a data scientist."