Since the events of 2020, more than 4 in 10 marketers are having to justify expenses that were never questioned before. This is according to a recent report [download page] from The Trade Desk.
The pandemic has affected every industry in a variety of ways, but the 200 companies surveyed indicate how marketers are experiencing changes to their ad spend after a turbulent 2020. A whopping 84% of respondents shared that when thinking about the ongoing effects of the pandemic, they are under more pressure (48%) or more pressure than ever (36%) to prove the effectiveness of their advertising spend.
In fact, more than 4 in 10 (43%) have had to justify investments/expenses that were never questioned before, while half are finding that the marketing KPIs they have been using for years are now being challenged. And, a full 80% have had their planning or budgeting process impacted significantly by COVID.
Some of the changes being experienced by marketers are manifesting as a shift toward data-driven campaigns. More than one-quarter (27%) expect 51-70% of their media mix to shift to data-driven advertising in the next year, and more than 4 in 10 (45%) think data-driven advertising will account for 26-50% of their media mix.
By and large, marketers are turning to data-driven campaigns for flexibility and measurement capability, with respondents strongly influenced by benefits such as the ability to use real-time insights to improve in-flight campaign performance (50%) as well as better measurement capabilities and thus easier-proved effectiveness (55%).
Furthermore, marketers are shifting toward data-driven advertising as a result of a move away from user-generated content – some 56% shared that they intend to shift spend in this way.
According to respondents, ad spend is changing in other ways, too. A plurality of respondents are maintaining spend in areas like linear TV (38%), streaming audio (41%), radio (36%), and digital out-of-home (44%) as opposed to increasing or decreasing spend, but when it comes to connected TV the largest share (44%) are planning to boost their spending.
With the goal of effective measurement for advertising, marketers cited a number of capabilities as very or somewhat important. Equally important were areas such as being able to export data across marketing platforms (88%), objectivity and transparent measurement i.e no black-box solutions (88%), media-specific ROI (88%) and cross-channel reach and frequency metrics (88%).
Thanks to advances in data-driven measurement it would appear that marketers are finding it easier to connect their ad spend to success metrics, with nearly 6 in 10 (57%) saying that they were able to connect digital ad spend to brand awareness very well.
Fortunately, this is translating into a confidence in reporting success metrics to senior management or CFOs. More than 8 in 10 are somewhat (47%) or very (36%) confident in reporting return on investment/return of ad spend, with an equal share saying the same about reporting channel-specific metrics like impressions, CTR, CPG and GRP (somewhat: 45%; very: 38%).
Read the full report here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a September 2020 survey of marketers at 200 major advertising agencies and brands in North America with more than 500 employees and whose marketing budgets range from $50,000 to more than $5 million.