New white paper makes case for JICs’ role in era of data abundance

Signals in the Noise

A new white paper jointly authored by Barb Chief Executive Justin Sampson and Work Research Managing Partner, Tony Regan ‘Signals in the Noise’, outlines the explosion of digital media over the past 30 years, and why, with over £20bn invested in advertising annually, media accountability and joint industry oversight of audience research in the form of the joint industry currencies (JICs) is so important.

Signals in the Noise, which follows a successful event held at the IPA in May, explains how the advertising industry has reached a critical point where there is an abundance of data about media audiences, however this increase in quantity has not always translated into an increase in the quality of data. As such, the report asserts the value of JICs, which deliver specific audience data for each medium that is characterised by transparency, objectivity, and accountability, at a combined cost-effective price of 0.27% of total media advertising spend (£60m).

The paper also highlights the trustworthiness of JIC data and makes the point that if agencies are not using JIC data, Signals in the Noise provides a useful checklist of questions to ask of the data they are using.

These include:

  • Do you have a standard framework – such as marketing-mix modelling – for measuring effectiveness? Does it deliver insight that informs better decisions, or does it simply reinforce predispositions?
  • Can you see the data in a relevant context to find out whether the number is a good one or not? Does it demonstrate a good job well done, or something else?
  • Do the findings seem reasonable, e.g. as a quantum, as a trend, against expectations, etc.?
  • Are you listening to a genuine cross-section of UK society, or do you have a partial view of a defined part of the population?
  • Is the data generated from a survey or from the machines that people use? Or is it a combination of people-based and device-based data?
  • Who created the data and why? What’s their incentive and – if necessary – is there any independent validation?
  • What definitions of media exposure have been used? Are these comparable across different media?

Says Justin Sampson, Chief Executive, Barb, and report author: "In this modern world of data abundance, advertisers and their media agencies are entitled – indeed obliged – to ask which data should be trusted to support judgements that are integral to decisions about which media to invest in, and how much to invest.

JICs are an expression of the underlying collective values of our industry, providing great value and should form the bedrock of all campaign evaluation and audience measurement.

Justin Sampson, Chief Executive, Barb

Says Belinda Beeftink, Research Director, IPA: "We all know there’s a remarkable amount of audience measurement data available – but how much of it is trusted, accountable and transparent? In this sea of data, we need beacons of the industry to keep us safe from the rocks of unreliable data, opaque data, and misinformation, to help us chart our passage through to safe waters. This is where JICs play a crucial role."

Read the full ‘Signals in the Noise’ report for free


Joint industry currencies (JICs):

  • ABC: Distribution of published and online media is audited to provide census-level data which complements readership and other audience data provided by other JICs.
  • Barb: Viewing figures for linear channels and streaming services are collected from a representative panel of UK homes and integrated with a census-level count of viewing to broadcasters’’ VOD services.
  • JICMAIL: A representative panel of UK homes uses a web-based collection technique to provide detailed information on the receipt and consumption of direct mail.
  • JICREG: Readership of regional published media relies on an integration of audited print-circulation data and survey data provided by PAMCo.
  • PAMCo: Readership of national published media is generated from the integration of a survey of 22,000 people each year with digital audience estimates supplied through a partnership with UKOM.
  • Rajar: Listening figures for radio stations are collected through a large-scale, people-based survey that uses a hybrid of techniques including smart-phone metering.
  • Route: Exposure to outdoor advertising relies on a range of census counts – e.g. government road counts, TFL pedestrian data, shopping centre footfall – with survey-based research that provides the profile of audiences.
  • UKOM: Online audience measurement relies on harnessing large-scale census data with audience data from a representative panel of people across the UK.
Last updated 01 May 2024