US marketers seek better online metrics

17 June 2011

NEW YORK: Marketers in the US would be willing to diversify their digital strategies if more detailed metrics were made available, according to a report.

Analytics specialist Adometry commissioned insights firm Forrester to survey 150 interactive marketing executives.

In all, 55% of the sample expected display budgets to rise in 2011, 34% planned to maintain outlay levels, and 3% anticipated declines in this area.

When discussing motivations for using display, 75% mixed branding and direct response, performance- led efforts, which the study suggested constituted a shift in perspectives from the recent past.

The primary drivers behind such a process include the advent of various new formats, from homepage takeovers to in-banner video, making the channel increasingly "rich and immersive".

Enhanced targeting, based around factors like age and gender, previous purchases, and, lately, social connections, are also exerting an influence.

However, the lack of measurable results was serving as a disincentive from boosting expenditure, mentioned by 62% of the panel.

High prices were referenced by 51%, the absence of rigorous audience data scored 43%, and insufficient transparency as to where ads may appear logged 27%.

A further 25% of contributors believed current creative formats are not suitably compelling, while privacy and regulatory concerns registered 11%.

In keeping with these trends, a 55% majority agreed stronger targeting capabilities would help encourage a lift in display spending.

More relevant metrics recorded 47%, followed by delivering a "better understanding of what consumers did after they saw the ad", on 43%.

Cheaper prices secured 34%, ahead of yielding data about about the audience on 33%, and detailed information about where the ad was viewed, with 29%.

Exactly 25% of respondents wanted insights showing the cross-channel impact of campaigns, for example relating to search, social, mobile and email.

"Advertisers want better ways to measure how their investments will pay off before sinking more dollars into display advertising," said Paul Pellman, CEO of Adometry.

"Improved ad targeting and technologies like cross-channel attribution measurement will play an important role as interest in display advertising continues to grow."

Nearly 30% of respondents are employing campaign verification tools, confirming ads were delivered as promised.

Adoption still remains at a nascent stage, and skews towards companies spending at least $1m on display per year.

In rating their media partners, two-thirds of marketers handed out favourable reports regarding adherence to frequency limits and supplying evidence that the purchased inventory was served and viewed.

Figures fell to 48% for proving consumers had engaged with this material, and just 36% for establishing content had reached the target audience.

Just 27% assumed equally complimentary positions for media firms' ability to assess the value of display advertising in relation to the rest of their communications.

Another 18% are utilising attribution analysis systems helping identify which medium has fuelled certain behaviours among customers.

A quarter of participants saw these services as attractive but did not have the required budget, while 24% are investigating this area, and 19% expressed a wish to do so going forward.

"Users do not make decisions in channel silos - a fact that marketers intrinsically understand," the study said.

"Multichannel attribution tools and services are a necessary part of every marketer's measurement strategy; however, they often fall low in the priority chain due to lack of time and money."

Data sourced from Adometry; additional content by Warc staff