92% of brands surveyed in India see first-party data as important to marketing: Google, BCG

Digital marketing maturity
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Digital marketing maturity framework deep-dives into the increasing prominence of the use of customer or first-party data by marketers to help them towards personalized advertising, and more.

At the annual edition of Google’s Think Platforms, Google shared insights on how India has fared on the path to digital marketing maturity by unveiling insights from the Digital Marketing Maturity framework. 

In a global study compiled by BCG and Google, the report provides a direction for brands to measure themselves objectively on the effectiveness of their Digital Marketing campaigns and attain digital maturity. Brands across 10 industries were assessed on their level of digital marketing maturity across stages varying from Nascent to Multi-moment across regions including India, Japan, South East Asia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Of the Indian brands surveyed this year, 6% of Indian brands were found to be delivering best-in-class ‘Multi-moment’ experiences, where customer journeys are dynamically improved toward business outcomes, making it the highest in the region.

Optimizing in a single and then multiple channels, the study called out more than 80% of Indian brands sit in the two middle maturity buckets ‘Emerging & Connected’ as they begin to responsibly manage data, automate media buying and messaging. And, encouragingly, only 8% of Indian brands were at the lower end of maturity ‘Nascent’.

Also read: Only 3% of digital marketers in India are measuring ROI correctly: reports LinkedIn

Matt Brocklehurst, Head of Partnerships, Publishers & Platforms Marketing APAC, Google said, “Combining data and digital technologies can increase the relevance of advertising, cost savings, and revenue. It also helps the marketers get an in-depth understanding of the entire customer journey, helping them better focus their engagement efforts. It is heartening to see India taking a progressive and more mature digital approach in marketing, ahead of many brands across APAC, Europe and Latin America. As per the study, India saw the top quartile of brands in terms of maturity report an average of 7% annual incremental revenue and 13% annual cost efficiency.”

“And we’re delighted to share that the digital maturity assessment tool is now public and any brand can get a detailed assessment report through it.”

Highlighting the importance of first-party data at Google Think Platforms, Sir Martin Sorrel, Executive Chairman, S4 Capital, said, “There is a clear shift to digital, first-party data is gaining importance for all brands and more so getting clean first-party data is difficult so that is clearly one key area of focus. This along with programmatic is critical to further help brands deliver personalized and targeted advertising to the consumers at scale.”

Talking about how the relationship between agencies and Google has evolved, he further added, “Agencies should look at platforms like Google as their partners and integrate seamlessly.”

Within digital marketing, the study deep-dived into the increasing prominence of the use of customer or first-party data by marketers which helped marketers better engage with audiences with personalized advertising. First, there is a clear shift to digital with digital channels becoming the standard across the marketing funnel. Second, consumers are increasingly seeking relevant personalized experiences from brands. And third, there is an increased focus on data privacy regulations and browser policies.

According to the study, it’s not surprising to see that 92% of brands surveyed in India see first-party data as important to marketing. Furthermore, the study saw that Indian brands with higher maturity leveraged first-party data more consistently – with 100% of Multi-moment brands and 67% of Connected brands saying that their first-party data is mostly or fully embedded in their marketing campaigns. On the other hand, only 33% if Nascent brands used first-party data in most marketing campaigns somewhat consistently or frequently.

Calling out the challenges in delivering the full potential of digital engagement, the study also puts a spotlight on the technological barrier as the top challenge. More than half the brands in India that were surveyed struggled to link technologies when collecting, activating data and measuring impact. Another key barrier that emerged in the study was the lack of a clear business case for data-driven marketing projects impacting the buy-in from senior management and customizing how customer data is leveraged.

Highlighting how brands can begin their digital maturity journey, Anubhav Pateriya, Principal at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) said, “First, start with an honest assessment of your maturity, and identify what’s doing well and areas of improvement when it comes to leveraging your first-party data. Second, set an ambitious yet realistic goal – aligned with changing consumer’s expectations and finally, plan a roadmap that helps you make the most out of your first-party data – while ensuring that this is in accordance with current and upcoming regulations.”

Survey size, methodology

The study was compiled by BCG after speaking to 180 brands covering specific regions in-depth, including India, South East Asia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The brands spanned across 10 industries including consumer products, retail, technology, and travel. The study – Digital Marketing Maturity framework deep-dived into the increasing prominence of the use of customer or first-party data by marketers. 

The study represented brands across four key stages, namely Nascent (Marketing campaigns use mainly external data and direct buys, with limited linkage to sales), Emerging (Marketers make some use of owned data in automated buying, with single-channel optimization and testing); Connected(Companies rely on data integrated and activated across digital channels, with demonstrated linkage to ROI or sales proxies) and Multi-moment (Organizations optimize dynamic execution across channels throughout the customer journey to achieve business outcomes).


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