Report: The Promise Of Big Data Is Recognized But Rarely Realized

While big data is seen as competitive advantage, the report card is mixed on the ability to fully utilize it to accomplish key business objectives.


A new report from the Winterberry Group and IAB, “Data As Competitive Advantage,” explores the role of “big data” within organizations. While interviews and survey respondents polled for the report find data generally to be a “competitive advantage,” the results of the research overall present a more mixed picture.

According to the report, marketers and publishers are having the greatest success in using first-party data to better understand their own customers. However, use of data has been less successful in advancing core business objectives (e.g., growing revenue). The report found “the most common data-driven use case in deployment today” was programmatic media buying, with just over 70 percent of respondents doing programmatic.

Data as competitive advantage

The findings were drawn from phone interviews and online surveys of “more than 100 advertisers, marketers, publishers, technology developers and marketing service providers (primarily based in North America, and conducted between August and September 2015).”

First-party data is well-regarded and being deployed effectively. However, third-party data has been utilized less successfully, and accordingly, satisfaction levels reflect that. IAB Big data report

While all are supportive of the concept of “big data” and its use in theory, the report reveals that there are practical challenges in understanding, valuing and fully leveraging data within an organization. Indeed, organizational challenges appear to be the primary barriers to fully understanding and integrating data to advance key business objectives.

The report concludes by arguing that to realize the promise of big data, corporate and marketing leaders will need to buy in fully and make data into “the lifeblood of their strategic organizational leadership.”

The report contains a great deal more information and nuance about the topic than I’ve been able to include above. You can download it here.

(Some images used under license from


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