NEW YORK: Coca-Cola is reconsidering its approach to digital with a view to developing greater efficiencies in this medium, its chief marketing officer has said.

Marcos de Quinto, global CMO for the soft drinks giant, told a New York conference, reported by Advertising Age, that "we are investing big amounts of money" but "historically probably not in the smartest way".

To take just one example, the brand has created around 300 apps around the world but most have only tens of thousands of users. "That is nothing," he said.

"We are very seriously trying to transform our company to make it a digital company, but it's not just to put ads in social media," he added.

To that end, he has just recruited the company's first chief digital marketing officer who has been asked to lead "the digital transformation of global marketing and align our system around a single digital marketing agenda".

These digital aspirations do not signal a retreat from traditional media, however; de Quinto stated that television remained "very, very critical for our business" and said that it continued to deliver the best ROI.

Back in 2014, at least, Coca-Cola's own figures claimed TV investment generated a return of $2.13 for every dollar spent, compared with $1.26 for digital.

Coke is by no means alone in standing back and asking critical questions of its digital strategy. In the summer, Procter & Gamble admitted it had become too focused on targeting in Facebook at the expense of reach, while Mars, too, has stated that reach is more important than targeting. Warc's Toolkit 2017 noted that this has become an "intellectual battle" dividing the media world.

Toolkit 2017 also highlighted the related issue of how brands strike a balance between short-term and long-term strategies; new research suggests many are leaning towards the short-term simply because budgets are shifting into digital media where short-term metrics are common.

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff