Audience Literacy in the Age of Analytics

September 9th, 2021 | Arundati Dandapani, Chief Editor and Intelligence Officer (CIO), Canadian Research Insights Council (CRIC)

In this blog article, Arundati Dandapani of the Canadian Research Insights Council (CRIC), discusses some of the challenges and opportunities of cross-platform audience measurement. On September 21, 2021 the CRIC is hosting a free webinar called The Future of Cross-Platform Audience Analytics, at which the ACA’s VP, Media Policy and Marketing Capabilities, Judy Davey, will be speaking, alongside other thought-leaders.

A Fragmenting Media Insights Landscape

Researchers and brands grappling with “audience measurement” are often struck by the methodological differences between self-report diaries (where consumers reported their radio listening and television viewing habits in diary entries) and the passive measurement of media consumption behaviour with devices installed in people’s homes. While the medium might be the message for most brands or insight marketers, consumers don’t really care about the make and shape of content so long as it gives them what they need.

In this world of much-touted “multi-touch attribution,” audiences have evolved rapidly over the years. More recently the pandemic-led digital acceleration saw media consumption soar across platforms and demographics. The ability to meet your target audience where they are is recognized to be of most benefit and value to brands, organizations and advertisers looking to capitalize on active consumer bases or grow new ones.

Audience Insights, Advocacy and Smart Partnerships

Effective audience measurement relies on a holistic understanding of who the audience is by working with smart partnerships, advocacy bodies and tech-enabled industry to maximize best practices in advertising efforts, brand engagement and to improve respondent-level participation. As digital and cross-platform audiences grow in Canada and globally, understanding unduplicated reach remains an ongoing opportunity and challenge for all budgets.

Audience measurement is the most sought-after research service, according to the ESOMAR Global Market Research Report in 2019 and the top 50 US companies – accounting for nearly a quarter of the research industry’s top performers’ annual revenues in the US. It is no surprise then that the media, advertising and entertainment industries are top spenders on research. As Canada neighbours the global centre of research, it becomes very important to leverage the opportunities of data analytics and audience measurement through advocacy, subject-matter communities and collective action to ensure reliable and effective consumer measurement and reporting in line with the highest of local, national and international standards.

Audience measurement requires sound research to answer unique brand, business and social problems. Are the metrics and meters accurate? Can methodological rigour withstand the test of innovations, disruptions and changing consumer behaviour?

Reading the Future of Audience Analytics

Privacy updates and the deletion of third-party cookies impact audience analytics when researchers are limited to reviewing certain user activities and behaviours and don’t have a complete view or understanding of their anonymized or semi-anonymized audiences. How are marketers going to adapt to this changing “person-centric” yet programmatic media landscape? Companies must unravel the brand and advertising opportunity at the intersection of marketing research and ad technology for a better picture of audiences today. The use of disparate data sources about device ownership with better knowledge-sharing around the principles, desired outcomes and best practices will help researchers, advertisers and brands looking to understand cross-platform audiences.

People and movement analytics is an arguably underutilized area of opportunity as well. Location intelligence and foot-traffic to physical sites that conduct any type of commerce will continue to impact how brands meet audiences in their real, virtual and passive environments in the most enriching and fulfilling ways.

To engage further with more insights about the future of cross-platform audience analytics from thought leaders in the audience measurement landscape, don’t forget to sign up for this free CRIC webinar taking place on September 21, 2021.



Arundati Dandapani, CAIP, MLITT is the Chief Editor and Intelligence Officer (CIO) of the Canadian Research Insights Council (CRIC) and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Certified Analytics and Insights Professionals of Canada (CAIP), and founder of You can reach her at , or find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.