New Report From Unified Identifies “Data Ownership Dilemma” In Social Advertising

June 12th 2018

Unified, the leading social advertising data and intelligence provider, today published a report titled “The Data Ownership Dilemma: A Defining Moment For Social Advertising Industry.” In it, Unified explores the challenges associated with the social advertising industry’s existing data management landscape, stemming from the sector’s explosive growth. The report details brand marketers’ positions on owning and accessing their data, identifying and managing their social data stakeholders, gaps in their reporting expectations and other looming challenges for those in the space.

The report draws from a survey of 120 mid-to-senior-level brand marketers across 18 unique industry sectors, conducted in partnership with several brand innovators. Additionally, qualitative surveys were answered by 77 agency representatives. The survey results reinforce the increasing industry focus on data ownership, as 87 percent of marketers polled state that they perceive social advertising data ownership as important, and nearly 70 percent indicate that it will become even more pivotal in the next 12 months.

“Marketers are recognizing the need to be in control of their data to ensure the performance of their social advertising business now and in the future. Data ownership and transparency continue to be some of our clients’ biggest challenges, so to see the survey reinforce this wasn’t a major surprise,” says Jason Beckerman, CEO and co-founder, Unified. “However, the report also reveals a substantial gap between marketers’ perceived level of data ownership and transparency and the level actually available to them. Too often, marketers think they have these boxes checked, but when they dig deeper, they realize that they have major discrepancies that are leaving their businesses vulnerable.”

Of marketers polled, 59 percent report partial to no transparency into how their campaigns performed. 53 percent report partial to no transparency into how much of their spend went directly to their campaigns, versus how much was spent on fees and other associated costs. Without this transparency, marketers are, in effect, operating in a blind-trust relationship with their agencies, potentially creating missed opportunities and a diminished ROI.

“It’s hard to bring all of your performance data together so that you get a truly overarching perspective of how things are working, and understand that trigger to pull to optimize your campaigns,” says Matthew Pritchard, VP, Digital Marketing, Campbell’s Soup Company. "Data also becomes a key decision factor when you’re shifting agencies, and one that will continue to be a challenge. I think data ownership is becoming an increasingly important part of any MSA or contract, and I think it will become a key part of every transition plan.”

Jason Beckerman further explained, “One of Unified’s goals is to improve the advertising industry’s standards of data ownership and transparency. Marketers should come to expect and demand that they have complete access to all of their advertising data whenever they need it. Not doing so places them at a sizable financial and strategic disadvantage.”

Other key findings from the report highlight:

  • Deficiencies in Data Capabilities: Marketers cite that the top three social campaign activities that they would like to engage in but are not able to today are: to have a contingency plan if they switch agencies (52 percent), to enrich and organize raw data (47 percent), and to independently verify performance data (45 percent).
  • Reporting Shortfalls: The top reporting attributes that marketers do not currently have but desire in the future are: missed pricing opportunities (71 percent), roadblocks experienced (66 percent), data and spend account best practices (56 percent), deeper audience insights (55 percent), and an investment summary by publisher (52 percent).
  • Disparate Teams, Partners and Social Accounts: 64 percent of those polled report that they have used multiple agencies on a single social campaign, and half reported using three or more partners. Nearly half of marketers report having five or more social ad accounts. This creates challenges when attempting to coordinate data, drive ad effectiveness or simply produce direct comparisons across critical metrics, preventing marketers from making informed decisions about their social advertising spend, strategy and performance.
  • Discrepancies Between Perception and Application of Data Ownership and Transparency: 46 percent of marketers say they have to wait anywhere from a week to more than a month to receive social ad campaign performance data. The majority of respondents did not know the length of time needed to access data after they switch agencies, and 86 percent were not fully confident in their ability to access historical campaign performance if they did.

To review the entire report, please visit

About Unified

Unified helps marketers make informed and impactful decisions with the industry’s only business intelligence platform purposely designed for social advertising. With experience collecting and enriching nearly $4 billion dollars of social investment data, Unified is passionate about providing Fortune 2000 brands and agencies greater transparency into their many teams, tools and strategies. The Unified Platform and service teams are specifically built to ensure data quality, optimize investments and answer critical business questions. Unified has offices in Austin, New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta and Los Angeles.


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Eamon Levesque, 212-334-9753 ext. 102