How Are Marketers Measuring Ad Effectiveness? Very Few Through Attribution Modeling.

July 3, 2017

Marketers and agencies typically launch ad campaigns with increased sales and customer acquisition in mind, with brand awareness and customer retention being secondary goals, according to a study from Econsultancy and Research Now [download page]. And while most are confident that they’re reaching the right audiences, few are using the most sophisticated techniques to measure their effectiveness.

The survey – fielded among almost 2,000 company and supply-side respondents in the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – found that sales uplift (54%) is the way in which most company marketers establish the effectiveness of their advertising. That’s not surprising, given that a sales increase is the main objective behind advertising campaigns in the first place.

Close behind, at least half of company marketers are also measuring their effectiveness through digital-centric metrics such as impressions (53%), reach and frequency (52%), social media engagement (51%) and click-through rates (50%).

These are also among the more popular methods used by agency respondents, led by impressions (56%) and followed by social media engagement (54%), click-through rates (53%), sales uplift (52%) and reach and frequency (52%).

The use of market research tools, however, seems relatively sparing compared to the importance assigned to them. Fewer than half (47%) of company marketers use customer surveys, for example, despite 70% agreeing that they are an essential part of media validation and 61% agreeing that surveys to test effectiveness provide a strong indication of the success of a campaign.

Likewise, the use of attribution modeling is scant: just 15% of company marketers and 22% of agency respondents measure success through attribution. The study’s authors do link perceptions of ad effectiveness to this and other research methods, noting that respondents who deem their digital advertising “extremely effective” are much more likely to use attribution modeling (50%) than others.

Previous research from Adobe has likewise shown that attribution modeling hasn’t yet reached the mainstream. In its survey of digital marketers across North America and Europe, Adobe found that fewer than 1 in 5 (18%) were using attribution modeling, though another 39% planned to adopt this technique within the coming 3 years.

In other highlights from the Econsultancy and Research Now report:

  • Almost 8 in 10 company respondents agreed that advertisers should measure the impact of their media on customer satisfaction;
  • Three-quarters agreed that the success of advertising should drive the level of budget assigned to it;
  • A majority (51%) disagreed rather than agreed (27%) that they don’t care about the effectiveness of individual elements as long as the overall campaign is successful;
  • More than 7 in 10 agree that market research plays an important part in measuring effectiveness of advertising; while
  • Only 43% agreed that they always report on the ROI from their digital advertising.

About the Data: The report is based on a global survey of 2,715 marketers conducted by Research Now in May, 49% of whom are client-side/in-house marketers or brand marketers and the remainder identifying as agencies (26%), independent marketing consultants (16%) and technology vendors (9%). The data referenced above is derived from 1,990 respondents from the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

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