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How Media Agencies Navigate Skewed Data to Deliver Optimal Media Schedules

Cutting Through the Noise

In today's fragmented media landscape, the challenge for media agencies isn't just choosing where to place a client's advertisement—it's navigating the minefield of varied and often skewed data to do so.

Network 7 just released some fantastic news based on the past week’s free-to-air data. And it looks pretty good. But then looks past the seven-day window and add video on demand (VOD) and how does it stack up? Historically, giants like Network 9 have done well in this area. And what does this mean for advertisers? Let’s take a look.

1. Unravelling the Data

The first step in navigating the sea of data is understanding that not all metrics are created equal. Networks may highlight specific metrics to position themselves favourably. While one network may tout its dominance in live broadcast viewership, another might emphasise its VOD numbers. Or they might look at a specific demographic, such as female grocery buyers 25-54 years FTA stats but forget that On Demand plays a massive part in the formula of reaching this segment.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies have long cherry-picked metrics to make themselves look good, but it's up to discerning businesses to align with the right media agency to help them identify which metrics are the most informative for their needs.

2. Finding the Relevance

For a media agency, the value is in understanding which metrics are relevant to their client’s objectives and their budgets. These days, there’s an entire segment of people who simply watch catch-up or streaming services and never view FTA

3. Meeting Budgets and ROI

Media agencies often juggle the delicate balance of fitting within client budgets while also ensuring optimal ROI. This doesn't mean simply chasing the cheapest slots on higher-performing networks. It means balancing program audience profiling and the client’s desired target audience, which could mean cross-network buying. VOD means it’s no longer necessarily just about single station buys, it's about targeting the right program to the right audience.

4. Contextual Placement

It’s essential to remember that contextual targeting matters. A show with lower ratings but a fiercely loyal niche audience can offer a more impactful placement than a popular show where ads might be easily forgotten at a better time slot. Agencies often use tools like Kantar's Context Lab to evaluate the potential impact of such placements.

5. Leveraging Insights

In the age of multi-screening, it's not just about one channel. Effective media plans consider how different channels play off each other. A viewer might catch a TV ad and then search for the product on their smartphone or they may search directly from their connected TV. By leveraging insights across and within channels, agencies can create a more cohesive and impactful campaign that delivers results.

6. Continual Learning

Finally, post-campaign analysis is crucial. Media agencies don't just set and forget; they analyse campaign performance to refine future strategies. This iterative approach helps navigate skewed data more effectively over time and balances the books for client schedules for more cost-effective outcomes.


In an age awash with data, the challenge for media agencies is clear: to discern the signal from the noise. By focusing on relevance, context, cross-channel insights, and continuous learning, they can navigate skewed metrics, align with client budgets, and deliver stronger ROI.



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About the author

Connect with Cath

Cath is Head of Strategy at MPA. A seasoned professional in marketing and media, Cath has worked across multiple Agencies and Clients from multinationals to start-ups

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