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Dave Carpenter is Head of Digital and Sarah Treliving is Digital, Data and Technology Director at Goodstuff Communications. The agency launched as a communications planning specialist in 2004, evolved into a full-service media agency and recently became part of digital-first marketing network, Stagwell. Dave and Sarah chose to answer UKOM’s Agency Q&A as a pair – and who are we to argue with the current holders of Campaign’s coveted Media Agency of the Year?

Q. The sheer number of data suppliers out there is mind-boggling, so why did Goodstuff chose UKOM-endorsed Ipsos iris, and why now?

Dave: Put simply, it is because Ipsos iris has the UKOM stamp of authority – being the recognised currency in the industry makes this tool a must-have for us.

Sarah: As well as being a trusted source, Ipsos iris provides data sets that allow us to plan across media, not just within digital. Having the same data points for digital and print, via PAMCo, and organised into time slots, aligns the planning processes across digital and TV. Digital used to be based on audiences derived largely from cookies, which pulled focus away from timeframes/slots which is how consumption is looked at in offline media planning. Having a complete data set allows us to analyse the best media for audiences in the context of when product decisions are made, which we can then map to post-campaign performance.

Q. Everyone has an opinion on digital audience measurement and what should be in the mix. What's the single most important factor for you?

Dave: As an agency that has championed independence and still has this spirit at its heart, independent governance is incredibly important for us. Having trust in the data collection and methodology is also key to ensuring we have the trust in the tool and its outputs. 

Sarah: Yes having an accurate, independent third party source of audience measurement allows us to go deeper than headline stats reported by entities championing their part of the industry. 

Q. There's more depth and flexibility to the Ipsos iris data than was available via UKOM endorsed data in the past. Are you using these new features yet and if so have they improved your work for clients? 

Dave: Yes, we have been using these features. They allow us to point at specific moments in time where something has changed and this brings additional insight to both our own client reporting, but competitor analysis and implementation planning too. 

Sarah: I agree with Dave, it has facilitated multidimensional competitor analysis and comparisons across media outside of digital.

Q. At UKOM we've spent time explaining that comparisons with previous data are unhelpful, that long-term past trend data isn't the key benefit of Ipsos iris. Are you comfortable that the arrival of Ipsos iris in 2021 marked year zero, a reboot? 

Dave: It’s a challenge for us not being able to trend Ipsos iris with historical data from the previous supplier, particularly looking at our clients and their competitor sets. We appreciate it’s important for UKOM not to be overconstrained in its development by the need to trend historical data but we look forward to that capability naturally developing over time with Ipsos iris.

Sarah: We do find the data valuable. Dave is being modest above, he is using the location data in particular to challenge analogue TV plans on the basis he can see digital penetration on a comparable basis. 

Q. Media owner tagging boosts the depth and breadth of data available in Ipsos iris. As an agency with close links to publishers and platforms, how would you persuade even more of them to make tagging a top and ongoing priority?

Dave: Talk about competitors – it always seems to get businesses moving, rightly or wrongly.

Sarah: Transparency is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have, and independent verification removes barriers to partnering with the media. We can’t, with confidence, advise clients on what we can’t see.

Q. Looking to the future, and imagining no constraints, how would you like to see online audience measurement evolve in the UK?

Dave: Connected TV is an increasingly interesting area of growth and something clients are demanding a better view. Having an independent single view of the market would be incredibly beneficial. 

Sarah: Cross partner and media reach and frequency is an ongoing challenge. Attention is an evolution that we are exploring - planning against it but also in post measurement.

Q. Is it important to have an audience measurement solution that is tailored to the UK's unique situation?

Dave: The UK is of sufficient scale and complexity to warrant its own industry solution but it’s important that on the broad metrics it allows a relatively fair comparison with other markets.

Sarah: 45% of UK browsing is not on Google or Meta so the rest of the UK’s behaviour is also critical to look at for what we do to be called media planning. That said GAMMA is also incredibly important to success and Ipsos iris is adding comparable dimensions to be confident about audience stats here too.

Q. With a single source multi-device panel, Ipsos iris is more interoperable with other data sets, including PAMCo and IPA Touchpoints. Would you consider integrating iris with your own proprietary systems?

Dave: Yes, that would be valuable. Goodstuff would be careful to weigh the benefits with and financial and resource costs from a technical, talent and access POV. 

Sarah: We do see the benefit, yes, we know that insight is found when data sets are combined to find new, nuanced and growing behaviours.

Q. UKOM data from Ipsos iris feeds PAMCo with the online element of audience measurement for published media. Is this combined data set valuable to your agency?

Dave: Massively. We believe in the power of publishing brands – as they start to move to a more digital-first look of the world, we need to be there with them to truly understand their footprint and create powerful partnerships for our clients.

Sarah: We have restructured our agency teams to facilitate cross specialist responses in publishing and digital – so data sets supporting this approach are very valuable.

Q. As a reward for answering these dastardly questions, we're moving you to zero online presence for a month. What do you switch back on first and why? 

Dave: I wouldn’t know what to do with all of the extra time on my hands. I certainly wouldn’t know the best way to create brownies in the microwave with only three ingredients.

Sarah: I would probably starve and be slightly loopy with the lack of human contact. My TV viewing would also drastically reduce.

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