2012 TRENDS: An avalanche of data

(Read introduction: Coming up next, review of the 2012 media trends.)

The avalanche of data available to companies who operate in the digital sector and the performance measurement of their projects will be a major issue in 2012.  All of the experts, whether their specialty is interactivity, mobility, social media, or online video, agree on one fundamental point: it is no longer possible to ignore the need to measure the impact and gauge the success of content and marketing strategies.

But how does one go about this in an uber-connected world, where data on audience, usage, engagement, sharing, conversion (and countless other aspects) flows—often in real time—and is generated by a multitude of platforms? How does one go about this in a world with an abundance of analytics tools yet few if any measurement standards or key success indicators?

Even once the established players adapt to the multiplatform and social realities of the digital environment (as was the case this year for comScore Canada, Google Analytics, Facebook  and Twitter, among others), the challenge remains massive for all involved, given the management effort, continuous analysis, and actions involved in wading through this sea of information.

Paradoxically, companies have never been in a better position to cost-effectively collect and store immense quantities of data, which is prompting a keen interest in all things related to big data. Furthermore, and following the example of other trends in the digital sector, particular attention will be paid to mobility and social media measurement, and the dialogue will be once again be led in large part by the advertising sector. It is clear, however, that this issue now goes far beyond purely marketing and promotional objectives.

Performance measurement is clearly a responsibility of every business, but it has also become an industrial issue in all sectors. In the audiovisual content production and broadcast sector in particular, a number of measurement consortiums and certification bodies have been created in recent years, sometimes on an initiative by the television sector (as in the United Kingdom and the U.S.), other times on an initiative by the advertising sector (as with 3MS from IAB) or by ODJ in France.  In certain cases, progress has been marginal, and in others a membership system has confined the application of standards to a limited number of players.

This trend is here to stay, and the Canada Media Fund will continue to do its part in 2012. Since late 2010, we have led a concerted drive towards digital performance measurement across the country, notably via the creation of an advisory committee and the introduction of a discussion forum. The result is a measurement framework that will be applied to all digital media projects funded through the Convergent and Experimental streams of the CMF and an implementation plan for the measurement system that will be introduced in the first quarter of 2012.

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